When this race started I had Donald Trump pegged as #18 out of the original 17 candidates. But now that he is approaching the point of 1,237 delegates I am approaching a gut wrenching decision. What do I do if he gets the nomination?
It’s still hard to imagine someone who is a very recent conversion to conservatism, acts the part of a bully, calls women such as Megyn Kelly bimbo because she asked him a legitimate question, picks on other women such as Cheri Jacobus and Michelle Fields– a leader. He certainly won’t be able to bully congress and foreign leaders the way he has bullied people during his entire life.
While I still oppose a Trump nomination, my mind keeps wandering to the question of what will I do if Donald Trump is the nominee. I could never bring myself to vote for Hillary Clinton even if Mr. Trump gave me one or two of his billions.
If Trump does get the nomination, conservatives that feel like me are really left with two choices, vote for the billionaire birther, or when I go into the voting booth on election day skip the presidential line and vote on all the other lines. On one hand, if I skip the presidential line isn’t it just like voting for the Democrat? On the other hand, how could I vote for the man who has the potential to be the most thin-skinned and divisive president since well Barack Obama.
The real question my mind is wrestling with is does Donald Trump have the chance of being better than Hillary Clinton. So much of their positions seem similar. And it wasn’t that long ago where he was a professed liberal like Hillary.
When bringing up his conversion to conservatism Donald Trump keeps bringing up the late president Ronald Reagan. But to paraphrase the late Senator and VP candidate Lloyd Bentsen,” Mr. Trump, I voted for Ronald Reagan, I knew Ronald Reagan. Even though we never met, I always felt Ronald Reagan was a friend of mine. In my opinion Reagan was the greatest president in my lifetime and perhaps the greatest in the 20th century. Mr. Trump is no Ronald Reagan.”
Ronald Reagan’s conversion to conservatism began in 1947 but it was his G.E. years (1954-62) that closed the deal:
The book The Education of Ronald Reagan links the eight years in which Reagan worked for General Electric – acting as host of its television program, GE Theater, and as the company’s public relations envoy – with his conversion to a movement that would come to advocate lower taxes, small government, anti-Communism, and opposition to the excesses of “union officials.”
He served two terms terms as a conservative governor of California.
It was only after all the above, did Reagan first try and become President in 1976 three decades after he began the conversion. In the case of Donald Trump, he was still promoting liberal ideas in interviews in 2011 and 12, only 4-5 years ago.
But the biggest difference between Trump and Reagan is the 40th president was a visionary and a unifier. When he spoke he painted a picture of this country that made most Americans feel like we were one people and if we put our minds to each and every one of us could make anything we wanted happen.
There was only one Ronald Reagan and it’s hard to believe that any candidate will come along to be the next “Gipper.” But Trump is more like Barack Obama. While his campaign slogan is “I will make America great again,” Reagan would say, “America is the greatest country in the world, and you can make it greater.” Reagan raised the American spirit by uniting us and giving us the feeling that together we can do anything. Trump is divisive.
Except for Barack Obama, no president in my lifetime has made the volume, and type of ad hominem attacks as has Trump. And I am not only talking about his primary opponents. Just like Obama the billionaire punches down, using twitter to slam at the “regular folk.
As the saying goes, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. That’s the traditional refrain for those who want to point out the campaign isn’t settled. After Arizona, Valkyrie Brünnhilde, the character played by a very large lady with horned helmet, will start to warm up.
I happen to like Ted Cruz and it goes beyond the fact that he is the only pro-Israel candidate left in the race as well as the only candidate who eats pizza correctly. Cruz is just as much a political outsider as Trump (he closed down the government in an attempt to kill Obamacare for God’s sake) but unlike Trump he is a true conservative who has held conservative positions his entire life. And despite what John Boehner said about Cruz being Lucifer, I can verify that when I met him in person…not once did his head turn around in a complete circle (nor did he speak in ancient tongues).
Unless the polls are totally wrong, Trump will win the winner-take-all Indiana primary tomorrow leaving him 184 delegates away from the necessary 1237. He would have to take only 41% of the remaining delegates to get the nomination. Most of the remaining states do not have current polls but three of the big ones, proportional Oregon with 34 delegates, and winner take all contests in New Jersey (51) and California (172) seem to be leaning toward Trump.
In other words, unless Ted Cruz finds a way to change the momentum, Brünnhilde will begin her aria, and conservatives like me will have to make a tough and emotional decision.
As a NY Jets fan, I am quite familiar with the five stages of grief (in the case of football it usually starts with the lousy draft):
- denial and isolation
Many Republicans and conservatives will need to go through the five stages should Donald Trump get the nomination. I am still in that first sage of denial.
The issue Trump and his supporters have to figure out is how do you get those people who today feel strongly that he doesn’t have the personality or experience to be president, to get from stage one to stage five before election day.
Thankfully that is not a decision we will have to make yet, but we may be forced to make that decision soon. Part of being a good manager is motivating the ones staff to provide the necessary support need to be effective. Politics operates in a similar way. In the end it will be up to the Donald to unify the party. Otherwise Trump will face a large faction of Republicans who will be sitting on their hands come election day. As for me I will take a few days off and decide once the pit in my stomach goes away.