I’m not talking about the “not ready for prime time” gaffes, nor Melania’s plagiarism on opening night, nor the misty “Apollo Creed” convention entrance of nominee Trump, the arm-twisting rules decisions “to move things along,” nor Senator Ted Cruz’ thinly veiled pitch to the delegates to turn to Cruz himself as the Republican’s nominee in 2020 after “the Donald” crashes and burns this November.
In my life, when the Republicans chose past candidates, every one of them, even President Richard Nixon, I could see it, understand it, the Republican choice, that is, even as I disagreed with their party’s standards for choosing the nominees.
I was a kid when Dwight Eisenhower was the Republican presidential nominee. True, he hadn’t ever run for elected office, like Mr. Trump, but, besides heading up Columbia University as President, where I served time undergrad and at the law school (long after “Ike” had moved on), President Eisenhower had been a five star general in the Army and was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, heading up invasions into North Africa, France and Germany. Both parties had sought to have Eisenhower head up their ticket. Donald Trump is no Dwight Eisenhower.
Ronald Reagan may have been the consummate show man but he had to be more than that to position himself for a presidential nomination. He had been the head of the Screen Actors Guild, the voice of GE, the Governor of California, and ran for President in ’68 and ’76 before sealing the deal, and winning the presidential nomination and election in 1980.
Blemishes and past disagreements aside, I have never seen a worse nominee than Donald Trump so ill-prepared to lead this nation.
Trump reveals himself as a most dangerous and unprecedented variety, a con man, eclipsing any of the worst things Tricky Dick ever said, scapegoating persons of color, at variance with the legacy of Lincoln, attacking our allies, something President Eisenhower would never have done, slandering and abusing whomever dares contradict him, leading a full throated scream of masses, no dog whistle signals for the Donald, unvarnished hateful dark views, leading this movement, born of fear, ignorance, hate, and brushing aside almost any discipline of thought or program or experience, speaking and proposing recklessly, without regard for known and unforeseen consequences, and, though Trump has been called on it, and his supporters must have heard the critics take Trump to task on all these matters, still he moves forward.
There have been illustrious and infamous strong men in history, enemies of the people, posing as populists, and Trump appears most to mimic them – unlike any of his predecessors – and to his good personal effect – given his recent presidential nomination.
There’s an unkind force in the nation that gives lift to this nativist know nothing, and you can see it in the polls.
The public is uncomfortable when Trump is taken to task, and they invoke in his defense the very rules against Trump’s critics that Trump himself ignores. A case in point is the attack on Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for pointing out Trump’s faults when her public statements were a public service.
Those Republicans who stayed away from the Convention including Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich, and other Senators and Congresspersons, would do their party, the nation and good government well, not just to stand down at a convention but to go on the hustings and denounce the party nominee, Donald Trump.
This campaign against Trump must combine the rational arguments we all know with the emotional argument that we are all better than this, better than Trump’s trash talk, improvised misbehavior and reckless policies.
We need to claim aspirant and uplifting values for a terror war torn nation, not always staring into the dark abyss that is Trump’s persistent and almost solitary meditation.
It won’t happen, however, without a serious 24/7 struggle in this election in these tweeting times.