A Party Divided

One night in September 2013, I sat in a motel room in Valdosta, Georgia and watched a freshman republican Senator from Texas launch a rambling 21-hour diatribe about the need to defund Obamacare at all costs.

I looked on in shocked disbelief as this strange little man openly defied our party’s leadership and unilaterally exercised the “Nuclear Option” as he personally set in motion a process that resulted in the shutdown of the United States Government.

This grandstanding earned Sen. Ted Cruz many life-loyal fans – and an equal number of mortal political enemies – many in his own party.

Somewhere during his interminable tantrum on the Senate floor I came to two important realizations: The Republican party no longer represented my moderate values – and Ted Cruz is one creepy dude.

So I left.

Just like that I filed the appropriate voter change request and was placed in the increasingly popular No Party Affiliation camp; a catch-all for an eclectic mix of the disenfranchised, the disillusioned, and the disgruntled refugees of a two-party political system gone haywire.

That said, as a “moderate conservative” the basic tenets of the GOP still resonate with me, and I have little in common with the modern Democratic party.  But in the present context, Donald Trump’s America-centered campaign made sense to me.

He has made provocative statements that I don’t agree with, and his personal bearing can border on the obnoxious, but more often than not he gets it right.

Like Trump, I happen to believe that its high time we scrape the rust off our foreign policy, project strength and leadership in an increasingly unstable world and reverse the detrimental effects of trade deals that have left the United States at a distinct disadvantage.

Like Trump, I also believe it’s time for the United States to stop kowtowing to tin pot despots on Presidential apology tours, reverentially bowing to the worst-of-the-worst on the world stage, and making weak and ineffective agreements with avowed enemies, one of which has the very real possibility of resulting in a nuclear-armed Iran.

I mean, can anyone imagine a President Trump’s reaction if Saudi King Salman failed to meet him at the airport?  He would have jet-washed the Royal Palace with Air Force One exhaust on his way out of town. . .

It’s called projecting strength abroad, not continuing failed policies that have made us a laughingstock around the world and caused our allies to question our commitment.

The fact is, none of the Republican candidates came close to galvanizing the base the way Trump did.  In fact, the GOP’s lackluster field of fringe players and political hacks promised nothing more than the same rehashed promises and talking points we have heard for the past 25-years.

We needed more and we got in the form of a brash, ego-maniacal P.T. Barnum who articulated our frustrations, spoke of our fears, understood our concerns and unabashedly promoted the notion that we, the United States of America, could be great again.

In turn, historic numbers of Republican’s ignored the rhetoric of their party leadership and voiced their collective opinion for the direction and leadership of this country at the ballot box.

Despite all odds – and the smug predictions of political pundits everywhere – Mr. Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, and the reaction was almost immediate.

“He’s a demagogue, a misogynist bigot, an unstable narcissistic xenophobe, etc., etc.”

And that was from the Republican leadership. . .

Last week House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest ranking elected Republican in the country, said he “isn’t ready to endorse Trump,” Sen. John McCain took a cheap shot or two, Jeb! Bush said he’s staying home on election day, and the befuddled Republican Old Guard began mumbling about fielding a “third party candidate” in Mitt Romney – a two-time looser so irrelevant that he couldn’t create a fart in a whirlwind when he took on Trump early in the process, and he can’t defeat him – or Hillary Clinton – in the general election.

Couple this with the usual hyperventilating democratic mouthpieces and liberal media doyennes who assure us in loop-mode that Hillary WILL be our next president because our WORLD depends upon it and one might get the impression Mr. Trump’s nomination has seriously threatened the status quo.

What seems to have escaped the GOP naysayers is the fact that hundreds of thousands of their fellow self-identified “Republicans” turned out in force to Trump rallies across the nation – and millions more cast their vote for him.

Trump’s campaign has become a movement that is quickly leaving the established order in the dust.

In a recent analysis the Washington Times wrote, “The elites invested their time, their money and their reputations in stopping Donald Trump, and nothing worked.  Rarely have so many tried so hard and failed so dismally, and rarely have the masses succeeded so spectacularly to impose their will on those who presume to call themselves leaders.”  

Trump’s message of returning our great nation to prominence, uniting a divided people, and restoring pride in America has obviously struck a chord, and the Republican leadership better damn well understand the ramifications of ignoring it.

In coming days, I suspect that smart republican politicians and party bosses around the nation will begin the process of shifting support towards the Trump candidacy.  However reluctantly.

If the #NeverTrump faction are still planning an eleventh-hour attempt to rewrite the convention rules, ignore the voter’s choice, and circumvent the democratic process to deny Trump the nomination on the floor in Cleveland, they risk splitting an already jittery and fragmented party down the middle.

The resulting civil war would forever and irreparably damage the GOP and all but ensure an eight year Clinton reign.

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