While the #NeverTrump bandwagon continues to grow, the #MaybeTrump bandwagon does too. Senators John McCain and Rand Paul- there are few pairs of Republicans more different than each other- both threw themselves behind the wheel of the Trump bulldozer, presumably to save themselves from being sucked under it.
CNN on McCain:
In a wide-ranging “State of the Union” interview in his campaign office in Phoenix, McCain criticized party leaders who are reluctant to back Trump, saying they are “out of step” with voters who have chosen the controversial businessman as the GOP standard-bearer. He defended Trump for being a strong and “capable” leader, particularly on foreign policy.
Reason Magazine on Rand Paul:
Sen. Rand Paul isn’t joining the #NeverTrump bandwagon. In a recent interview, he reminded radio host Leland Conway that he plans to endorse the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, no matter who it is.
“You know, I’ve always said I will endorse the nominee,” said Paul. “I think it’s almost a patriotic duty of anyone in Kentucky to oppose the Clintons, because I think they’re rotten to the core, I think they’re dishonest people, and ultimately I think we have to be concerned with what’s best for Kentucky.”
Now both Senator McCain and Senator Paul have served their country honorably (Senator McCain much more nobly and pragmatically so.) I do not question their patriotism; but I do find myself wondering if these two statesmen fully comprehend the magnitude of the Trump moment. I don’t recall which column, but someone wrote recently to the order of “Thou shalt be judged if thou standeth with Trump,” encouraging Republicans not to bend to the pressures of the moment. On the other hand, Pat Buchanan argued a while back that any Republican who doesn’t stand with Trump has no future in the GOP post-2016. We shall see.
If McCain and Paul’s reasoning is saving their skins, I can’t blame them. If it’s keeping together a fractured party, their motives might almost be honorable.
But the GOP as it has been and as it is now is not worth preserving in full- a party of nativist Jacksonian populism smoldering into racial conflict. It desperately needs reform, re-evaluation, and rebirth, and for that it needs to fall apart. And for the party to fall apart, establishment men like McCain and counter-establishment men like Paul need to stand against the Trump phenomenon with resolute firmness.
Now let me be clear- I’m not suggesting McCain and Paul should stand for traditional Republicanism, which is demonstrably full of holes, decadent, and without a future. Everyone should stand against that with the vivacity with which they stand against Trump.
But we should all stand against the racist, xenophobic, nativist elements of Trumpism, lest we all become consumed by them. Time is running out.