Donald Trump has accomplished something I never thought possible. I’m starting toward feel sympathetic to Republicans. No, I haven’t gone over to the other side. And certainly, my softening feeling don’t extend to the ranks of Trump’s noxious supporters.
Instead, I’ve been surprised to find myself increasingly feeling sorry for all those heartbroken Republicans who look at the Donald’s works in their party and despair.
I’m even starting to feel nostalgic for past GOP presidential candidates. First, let me stipulate that I had lost all respect for John McCain even before he began supporting the guy who denied that he was a hero because being captured and tortured by the Viet Cong was dishonorable. Really??? Ted Cruz has the high ground compared to McCain. Ugh.
But McCain did counter that woman who didn’t trust Barack Obama because she thought he was an arab (though he didn’t address the implication that being an arab was a inherently a bad thing). He even called Obama a decent family man to boot. And let’s not forget that McCain, who is all too familiar with torture, has argued passionately against waterboarding. Meanwhile, Trump said he would order far worse, even if it violated international standards and American law.
Romney? He wasn’t really as conservative as he was positioning himself to be. Admit it, despite all the policy differences with him, at heart, Romney was at heart a decent man. Yes, even with that knock on the 47% in front of GOP donors. Can you imagine either McCain or Romney calling on Vladimir Putin to engage in illegal cyberspying in the US?
As I watched the conservative columnist David Brooks’ anguish during the Republican National Convention, I couldn’t help feeling his pain. Maybe I should join a support group for people who empathize too easily, but when he laid into Tony Perkins–no, not the one who played Norman Bates but the one who is actually a demented loon–by pointedly asking how Donald Trump represented Christian values. Where is his grace? Where is his charity? On and on it went. To a prominent Republican who has reluctantly supported Trump, Brooks said he would rather stay home than vote for him. I felt like reaching through the screen and giving Brooks a hug.There, there, David. Don’t worry, Trump will lose and maybe you’ll have a candidate you can support in 2020.
He’s not alone. George Will went so far as to leave the GOP. The last night of the Democratic convention featured a parade of Republicans who are supporting Hillary Clinton, though I doubt Will or Brooks will be among them.
The conclusion of the DNC has inspired elegies from Republicans, nostalgic for the days when they could use patriotism as a cudgel against those America-hating liberals. Those were the days. Now, the Dems have stolen all of our best themes, and they’re even evoking Saint Ronald. Sniff.
I’d like to gloat, but I’m not only feeling sad for the formerly Grand Old Party. In the process, of razing the Republican Party, Donald Trump is degrading the country and our political process as a whole.