Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) may be a hypocritical politician who wants to take food out of the mouths of hungry Americans, but he can read poll numbers and he knows Donald Trump is dragging down the entire Republican party. Democrats everywhere should rejoice at the blood in the water as the backward death grip Republicans have on congress may soon be coming to an end.
During a political conference hosted by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers, who have donated billions to influence their anti-government agenda, Paul Ryan issued an ominous warning to the room of potential donors. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives is at risk despite the GOP presently holding 247 seats to 186 controlled by Democrats.
Trump’s toxic brand of rhetoric is forcing sitting Republican members of Congress to cower and distance themselves from their party’s presidential nominee. On August 5 Donald Trump arrived in Iowa, but Congressman David Young (R-IA) was nowhere to be found. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) took the same avenue when Trump arrived in Wisconsin, choosing to not pay respect to the tanned man.
This strategy of vulnerable Republicans avoiding Trump and distancing themselves from his policies is not without precedent. In 1996 when GOP nominee Bob Dole appeared to have no chance to defeat President Clinton, GOP strategists purchased television ads urging voters to support Republicans for Congress as a way to hold Clinton accountable in his second term. The ads made no argument Clinton was going to win while the election was still undecided.
Either embracing or distancing a candidate from Trump has its own inherent strategic risks. Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster, aptly describes the no-win scenario, “Do we run the risk of depressing our base by repudiating the guy, or do we run the risk of being tarred and feathered by independents for not repudiating him? We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.”
Republicans seeking elected office this year who refuse to speak out against Donald Trump’s vile invective reveal themselves as the cowards they truly are. The reality is the Republicans don’t even disagree with Trump, they disagree with how open he is about blatant racism and xenophobia. These are matters which are generally stated in private, with a wink and nod.
Through decades of attacking government, and particularly during the Obama administration, Republicans have refused to reason or compromise which has incensed the American people. Republicans hang their hats on government being dysfunctional, and they do their very best to ensure government is as dysfunctional as possible to complete their own redundant self-fulfilling prophecy.
All individuals on the right contributed to the rise of Donald Trump with their encouragement of hateful and fearful rhetoric — and now they must suffer the consequences with only themselves to blame.
Lou Colagiovanni is an investigative journalist living in Las Vegas who specializes in politics and crime. His work has been highlighted all over the world and he is regularly featured on television and radio.