The Republican tightrope

Jamelle Bouie on the rather precarious position in which Trump has placed so many Republican politicians:

What is going on? Why is it so difficult for Republicans to condemn Trump without also qualifying and essentially negating their condemnation? My colleague Will Saletanblames it on a crude will to power. “In the end, it’s about power and priorities. In today’s GOP, it’s more important to keep Merrick Garland off the Supreme Court than it is to protect the country from a president who would ban Muslims,” he writes. There’s definitely the drive to win, but I think there’s something else. Something more primal than even power.

They’re afraid…

Republicans, from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ballot, are caught in a bind. If they don’t say anything to counter or condemn Trump’s rhetoric, they are complicit in the Trump candidacy. If they say anything, they become fodder for Democratic efforts against their party. The only alternative is to try to walk the line of criticism without disavowal. But as we see with Paul Ryan—who was savaged by both mainstream and conservative press for looking past Trump’s racism even as he bemoans it—that’s almost impossible…

In the same way that fear of a third-party candidacy drove Republicans to craft and embrace a “pledge” that did nothing but tie their fortunes to Trump, fear—of backlash from pro-Trump Republican voters, of attacks from Democrats, of opprobrium and contempt from everyone else—is driving them to hedge and hesitate in the most craven way possible. Fear is the mind-killer, and Trump has scrambled their ability to think clearly about their dilemma. [Yes, I damn well love the Dune reference here, so emphasis mine]

So, yes, some sympathy for their tight spot, but let’s not forget that Trump is very much the Frankenstein monster of the Republican party.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

7 Responses to The Republican tightrope

  1. rgbact says:

    IDK, why is so tough for Democrats to condemn Clintons email evasions and Bill Clinton impeachment? I get it, media loves tracking down Republicans to answer for every other Republicans bad behavior…….while no Democrat ever needs to answer for another Democrat. They are surely in heaven right now. If media could make an entire campaign about nothing but Republicans answering for another Republican….they’d do it….issues be damned.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Racism lying against receiving illicit blow job. Ummm and HRC was wrong about the email and showed poor judgment. Race-baiting from a presidential nominee is orders of magnitude worse.

      • rgbact says:

        Nice to know Democrats think men accused of sexually harassing employees…..are OK to lie in court about affairs with employees if it makes them uncomfortable.

        See….now thats the kinda stuff I’d like media to ask Democrats if they feel queezy about. And how they feel about endorsing a candidate under FBI investigation. But they don’t. Because making Democrats queezy isn’t what they enjoy.

      • Steve Greene says:

        Starr was sexual witch hunt. I’m actually totally okay with Clinton lying about Lewinsky. As for sexually harassing employees I don’t think there was ever any solid evidence about that. And, it’s not okay.

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    Surely the most basic tenet of our democracy is that all of our citizens are worthy of respect as fellow citizens. Though some may not have been considered as full citizens in the beginning, the blood of many paid the price of that tragic folly.
    E Pluribus Unim – No candidate for President of the United States is worthy unless he accepts this idea in his or her heart.

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