I had a conversation Wednesday morning with a Republican muckety-muck who was attempting to sell me on the wisdom of getting behind Donald Trump as the eventual nominee. A defining moment occurred when I rebuffed his case with a simple observation.
“The guy’s a fascist,” I stated flatly.
“Yeah,” the Trump apologist acknowledged, “but [reasons].”
Trump’s victory in Nevada, coming as it has after two other victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina, all but assures that he will be the Republican nominee for president of the United States. With that prospect nearly settled, Republicans everywhere will soon need to decide whether they can join in responding to fascism with “but [reasons].”
I, for one, will not. And I’m not alone. I’ve watched over the past week or so as many Republican thought leaders have publicly declared that they will not vote for Trump. Some have articulated a crisis of conscience which has prompted a re-evaluation of their entire political life. Author Corie W. Stephens took to Facebook saying:
Donald Trump embodies every single thing I got involved in politics to fight, yet I see many of the people I once stood beside supporting him. This isn’t even just typical social media trolling, we’re talking people I’ve worked closely with, in real life, on the ground. It goes to show how politics really does make for strange bedfellows. I have a lot of thinking to do.
We all have a lot of thinking to do. When the mental fog clears, it would not be at all surprising to find a widespread Republican opposition to the party’s own nominee. The scope and breadth of such opposition could be unprecedented. It may also be necessary for any vestige of Republican credibility to survive the Trump campaign. He will lose in November, by a landslide. But the damage done to the Republican brand in the process could be irreparable unless Republicans of conscience stage a concerted, articulate, and vigorous protest of his positions, disposition, and tactics.