You are a Republican member of the United States Congress. What do you do?
Your party is imploding from within; embroiled in a destructive civil war. The question at hand is not how to defeat the Democratic nominee. No…the bone of contention is the moral and judgmental fitness of your own party’s nominee for the highest office in the land.
Your party’s leadership has proven itself to be useless in this storm.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says that he will not campaign for nor support the party’s nominee. However his endorsement of Donald Trump remains firm; and he will vote for Trump in November.
You don’t know what that means.
His sage advice to your caucus is to do whatever you need to do to win your district. Abandon ship if you must…grab on to any piece of driftwood that floats by…just survive.
Your majority leader in the Senate offers even less. Mitch McConnell has gone to ground. The turtle has pulled back into his shell. His silence is deafening.
What do you do?
The head of your ticket has gone off the rails. Caught bragging about his role as a sexual abuser he deflects. His defense is that Bill Clinton’s behavior was worse and that Hillary Clinton enabled that behavior. He parades four of Clinton’s victims before a national audience effectively politicizing their pain. He doesn’t care. He only cares about self-preservation.
Then your candidate goes on a full frontal attack against your party…the party that handed him the nomination. He attacks Speaker Ryan for withdrawing his support. He attacks the members of your party who have withdrawn their endorsement. If he wins he will need these people if he is to govern. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about his party, He doesn’t care about the people. He doesn’t care about the country. He only cares about himself.
You know all of this. You know that he is morally corrupt. You know that he knows nothing about policy and that his buffoonery would be dangerous if allowed access to the White House. He is unfit and you know it.
26% of your peers in the party have fled Donald Trump. Do you join them?
What do you do?
If you pull your support from the party’s nominee you run the very real risk of losing your seat in congress. If you remain with the nominee you most assuredly will be labeled as a candidate who supported a serial sexual predator and a dangerous political buffoon. Your political career lies in the balance.
As you lie in bed at night you know that this could have all been avoided. When your party wrested control of congress six years ago you could have compromised with the very popular president and found ways to move both your party’s agenda and the country forward. Instead, out of political cowardice you allowed the fanatics in your base to control the narrative. They made obstruction and art form and you went along with it. They ground the government and the country to a halt…going so far as to shut down the government. Through it all you remained silent. Better to remain in the shadows than incur the wrath of the far right and face a primary challenge.
The crazies have grown in numbers and confidence. And now…due in part to your craven silence…they have placed in nomination one of the most corrupt and immoral individuals in the history of our politics.
You and your peers could have stopped all of this years ago if you’d only grown a spine. Now you find yourself faced with the same challenge that has paralyzed you all these years. But now you can’t run and hide. Your political party and your political career have reached a crossroads. What direction do you take? One as politically perilous as the other. You have only yourself to blame.
You are a Republican member of the United States Congress.
What do you do?