The reluctance and trepidation with which establishment Republicans express as they warily endorse Donald Trump as their presumptive nominee has been a delicious treat for the rest of us. While the rise of Trump and his particularly toxic brand of ethnonationalist nativism and discriminatory proto-fascism is deeply alarming, we can still draw pleasure from watching the obstructionists in Washington grapple with the circus they have created, performing astonishing feats of philosophical gymnastics to somehow both condemn the divisive rhetoric of the boorish carnival barker and still stand by their only chance to reclaim the White House.
Which is why it is enormously entertaining to see which Republicans will stand by the shreds of principles they claim to hold, and which craven opportunists will meekly subject themselves to the whims of Trump. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) has thrown his lot in the former category, promising to support Trump even as he complains about his naked racism.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), on the other hand, has reversed his position once again. After months of trashing Donald Trump, he submitted his endorsement of Trump a few weeks ago – but has revoked it already in light of Trump’s disparagement of Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, who is presiding over the Trump University class-action lawsuits. Trump went on the offensive against Curiel in the past few days, saying that Curiel’s “Mexican heritage” (Curiel’s family emigrated from Mexico after the First World War, and have been citizens of the United States longer than Trump’s family has been) has made it impossible for him to give an “unbiased” ruling.
Senator Graham lashed out at Trump today and urged his fellow Republicans to dump Trump, saying that “This is the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy. If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”
Graham is not wrong in that Trump is the antithesis of everything that the American nation stands for. His campaign is a rejection of the values of cultural pluralism and religious tolerance that our nation was founded on. While the Republican hatred of Hillary Clinton has reached levels of truly uncomfortable obsession, he’s correct in that the American people will not tolerate four years of the bloated bully in the Oval Office – and we encourage all of Graham’s fellows to jump ship with him.