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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Republicans Must Break From the Shithole President

The GOP is heading off the cliff with Trump.

Election Day 2018 is less than 10 months away.  On a national level, midterms are usually perilous for the party in power as voters have little other choice but to vent their frustration against those holding offices. This cycle is shaping up to be a doozey against the GOP fueled by the revulsion towards President Donald Trump who remains the most unpopular president in modern times.

Voter surveys have shown a marked preference for a generic Democratic candidate over a Republican in Congress.  GOP representatives are retiring at a record pace that now give hope to Democratic candidates to seize the opportunities presented and re-take the House.  While it is true Democrats need a strong message during this cycle to win over voters and as importantly, stoke the needed enthusiasm to get out the vote, disdain for Trump will be the party’s guiding star.

Trump has demonstrated an inordinate capacity for getting himself in trouble with his tweets and his verbal comments—the latter exemplified by his reported racially charged characterization of African nations and Haiti as “shithole countries” in reference to immigrants.  He needs this controversy like a hole in the head following the publication of mega-seller Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff where his fitness for office, his mental capacity and stability are allegedly questioned by those who are around him. #hocopolitics

From Charlottesville to Ghana, Trump has displayed his inner bigoted self, substantiated by a history of racism from his real estate development beginnings and birtherism to his anti-Muslim, anti-Mexican rhetoric.  Now the “shithole” mess that validates the charges of racism.

Throughout these episodes, Republican lawmakers have been tepid concerning Trump’s actions and overt racist words, the hovering Russia investigation, and the cavalier saber-rattling handling of the stalemate with North Korea.  While privately they raise their eyebrows and shake their heads with respect to Trump (even calling him a moron or worse), publicly they are latching on to him without any fissures of this alliance to this point.

Trump with his pardoned pal Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who was once a strong critic of the president and gave hope to Americans that the preservation of democracy is far more important than party loyalty has exercised a rather suspicious whiplash reversal since a golf outing with Trump and now seems to be an ally. Even retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) who had criticized Trump and questioned his stability appears happy now that the new tax law has been signed, which will benefit Corker (and Trump) mightily.

For GOP electeds who will be facing a likely prodigious blue wave, it’s not enough to “distance” themselves from Trump; they need to strongly condemn him when appropriate.  This applies to moderate Republican officials—local and national—who don’t agree with Trump on many if not most instances but somehow feel obliged to keep silent about him lest they lose Trump’s shrinking but noisy base.  This is a false calculation because those Trump supporters have nowhere to go but to back a Republican.  Voters in Alabama who supported Roy Moore preferred a sexual predator of underage girls to a Democrat.

Picture GOP elected officials in a line, locked in arms with Trump in the center, heading for a cliff.  If they don’t break from that linkage with Trump, Democrats will remind the voters that Republicans are the party of Trump, Moore and Sheriff Arpaio, and the Republicans could plunge into the abyss with him. 

Republican strategist Steve Schmidt has been hammering Trump for his debasement of the office of the presidency.  His tweet below sums up accurately the challenge facing Republicans.

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