Mainstream Republicans have had 11 months to defeat Donald Trump. 16 candidates, 12 debates and 47 primaries or caucuses later, Trump is on the precipice of winning the party’s nomination. And the Republican Party is facing an identity crisis.
Jeb Bush and Lindsey Graham are among Trump’s former presidential rivals who say they will not vote for him. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Bobby Jindal are among the former candidates who are backing Trump because they say the option of voting for Hillary Clinton is worse. We have yet to hear directly from the last of the vanquished, John Kasich and Ted Cruz.
Both living Republican former presidents of the United States, George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, reportedly will not endorse Trump. Nor will the most recent Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.
The top elected Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan says he could not support Trump…yet. The two will meet this Thursday, and the outcome may determine whether the ideological fault line that is Donald Trump will continue to split the Republican party. Or, can enough common ground be found to bring together the leaders of the Grand Old Party and the man who would be its new standard bearer?
The Republican Party is Dead
Max Boot – Los Angeles Times
There has never been a major party nominee in U.S. history as unqualified for the presidency. The risk of Trump winning, however remote, represents the biggest national security threat that the United States faces today.
But if I’m not for Trump, who am I for?
Hillary Clinton is a centrist Democrat who is more hawkish than President Obama and far more principled and knowledgeable about foreign affairs than Trump, who is too unstable and erratic to be entrusted with the nuclear triad he has never heard of. Even in his prepared foreign policy speech couldn’t pronounce “Tanzania.” For all her shortcomings (and there are many), Clinton would be far preferable to Trump.
I’m Voting for Trump, Warts and All
Bobby Jindal – Wall Street Journal
I was one of the earliest and loudest critics of Mr. Trump. I mocked his appearance, demeanor, ideology and ego in the strongest language I have ever used to publicly criticize anyone in politics. I worked harder than most, with little apparent effect, to stop his ascendancy….
He has stubbornly stuck to the same outlandish behavior and tactics that have served him so well to date. Mr. Trump continues to have the last laugh at the expense of his critics and competitors, myself included.
I think electing Donald Trump would be the second-worst thing we could do this November, better only than electing Hillary Clinton to serve as the third term for the Obama administration’s radical policies. I am not pretending that Mr. Trump has suddenly become a conservative champion or even a reliable Republican: He is completely unpredictable. The problem is that Hillary is predictably liberal.
Neither Clinton Nor Trump
William Kristol – The Weekly Standard
I have always voted for the Republican presidential candidate. From Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford to Ronald Reagan (twice) and George H. W. Bush (twice) and Bob Dole, from George W. Bush (twice) to John McCain and Mitt Romney—I’ve checked the box next to those eight names on all 11 occasions I’ve had the chance….
My GOP presidential voting streak will end at 11. I cannot vote for Donald Trump…. policy is not the issue. Character is. It is clear that Donald Trump does not have the character to be president of the United States.
And it is clear Hillary Clinton ought not to be our next president either.
What to do?
Find a better choice. Recruit and support an independent candidate.
What’s a Conservative To Do?
Kathryn Jean Lopez – National Review
What ails us is a disordered view of what politics is about. We seem to have a bipartisan problem of looking for a savior in a president — it’s the stuff both of Barack Obama’s “We are the ones we have been waiting for” campaign and of Republicans (and now even some Democrats) idolizing the memory of Ronald Reagan. So take a deep breath, everyone — whomever you do or don’t support this presidential-election season. The presidency is vitally important, of course. But not in the ways we’ve been tending to think. Donald Trump didn’t start the fire, and there was never going to be a perfect presidential candidate who could put it out. That’s our work — the work of good citizenship.