By Erick Erickson
In 1990, former KKK leader David Duke ran for the United States Senate in Louisiana as a Republican. The Republican Party officially opposed David Duke and, when it became apparent Duke could be the Republican nominee, the Republican Party abandoned the race to the incumbent Democratic senator, J. Bennett Johnston.
In 1991, Edwin Edwards sought re-election to the Louisiana Governor’s Mansion against David Duke. Republicans, including my parents, overwhelmingly supported Edwin Edwards. My parents put a bumper sticker on the back of their car that read “vote for the crook. It’s important.”
The Republican Party of Louisiana and nationally drew a line and decided the Republican Party could not support David Duke. The easy answer to where the line should be drawn is not supporting KKK members for office.
But what about Trump? Why should we not draw a line here?
Trump is vocally supported by white supremacists, white nationalists, and racial grievance mongers. He plays to them openly. Trump attacked the wife of a political opponent and that political opponent’s father. He drummed up internet conspiracy theories.
Trump has mistreated those who have done work for him. He is being sued for fraud because of Trump University. He has openly joked about having sex with his daughter. He’s bragged about his affairs.
Why can we not draw a line here? Why can’t the GOP say this is unacceptable. It is, after all, apparent that much of Trump’s support comes from outside the GOP with people who came into the party to support Trump, but otherwise have no use for the party. It is apparent that Trump is using the party as a personal vehicle without a commitment to the party otherwise.
Twenty years ago Republicans supported impeaching the President of the United States for lying under oath in office and having an affair in the Oval Office. Now that same party is on the verge of nominating a serial philanderer and pathological liar. At the very least the GOP owes Bill Clinton an apology.
Bobby Jindal, in September last year, said Donald Trump was unfit for office and should be stopped from getting his hands on the nuclear button. But now he says Trump is better than Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump openly blamed George W. Bush for 9/11. He embraced the 9/11 truther nonsense. Now Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush’s press secretary, is declaring he will vote for Trump over Clinton.
Other Republicans are doing the same. They are descending into tribalism with little difference between their Republican tribalism and the white nationalist tribalism that Trump has pandered to.
Shame on them. This is not a game. This is not team sport. This is about the future of the country. If Donald Trump was unfit last month, two months ago, or last September to be placed in front of the nuclear button, he is unfit this month, next month, and in November. And he is unfit.
Hillary Clinton is unfit for the Presidency, but so is Donald Trump.
If Republicans in 2016 are unwilling to draw a line and refuse to support Trump with what we know about him, I do not find it plausible that the GOP would reject another David Duke should he ever advance to Trump’s position. The Republicans of 2016 are not the Republicans of 1990 who put their integrity ahead of their party.
Some Republicans may decide it is time to be a team player, but I will put my country before my party and decline to help the voters in this country commit national suicide. For those who lament the loss of the Supreme Court with Hillary Clinton’s now inevitable re-election, I would counter that it is obvious the United States now has far bigger problems than judges.
That bigger problem begins with Republicans now losing any sense of shame and surrendering to their lesser angels in the name of unity around a man unfit for Presidency.
As Charles Spurgeon said, “Of two evils, choose neither.”