Party before country

Paper Thin by Mario Piperni, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Paper Thin by Mario Piperni, licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

On Sunday, House Speaker Paul Ryan went on Meet the Press, wherein he proceeded to tell Chuck Todd that he had no choice but to support Donald Trump as the Republican nominee.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says it’s his responsibility to support Donald Trump, even if the presumptive Republican nominee’s bombast occasionally makes him uncomfortable.

Ryan told Chuck Todd of NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he feels an obligation as leader of the House Republicans to back Trump, warts and all. To do otherwise, he said, would divide the party and ultimately lead to a third consecutive Democratic victory in November’s presidential election.

“I feel like I have certain responsibilities, as not just Congressman Paul Ryan from the 1st District of Wisconsin, but as speaker of the House,” Ryan said in an interview that aired Sunday. “And imagine the speaker of the House not supporting the duly elected nominee of our party, therefore creating a chasm in our party to split us in half, which basically helps deny us the White House and strong majorities in Congress.”

“The last thing I want to see happen is another Democrat in the White House,” he continued. “I don’t want to see Hillary Clinton as president. I want to see a strong majority in the House and the Senate. And I think the way to achieve those goals is to have a more unified party, than a disunified party.”

Notice the section I highlighted. Mr. Ryan's chief concern is for the future of his party. He will give up everything if it means the GOP controlling all levers of government.

He doesn't care about Trump's racism.

He doesn't care about Trump's misogyny.

He doesn't care about Trump's instability.

He doesn't care about Trump's incoherence.

He doesn't care about Trump's fascism.

All he cares about is getting someone with an (R) behind his name into the White House. All he cares for are the fortunes of his party.

This is truly a landmark election campaign. Democrats have nominated the first major party female candidate, who was one of the most liberal members of the Senate, with an extensive CV to back her up. Republican voters, on the other hand, finally gave in to their basest instincts. They nominated a man who dispensed with the coded language and roared out their bigotry. They nominated a man who is driving away members of his own party to vote either for a 3rd party candidate, or, horror of horrors, for Hillary Clinton.

In Donald Trump, Republicans have a candidate who will do what has been the fever dream of many a Democrat: decimate GOP electoral hopes for several cycle, as Trump explodes his bile all over network television. A sane party would try to distance itself from such a candidate.

But too many Republicans like Mr. Ryan can't seem to do it. Fealty to party overrides concern for the nation. Oh, sure, they'll say that they are concerned for the nation, and believe Republican governance is what's best for it. Of course, there's the fact that you have leaders like John Cornyn averring that they won't comment on Donnie Trump until November 9. Trump is a problem with no viable solution for the GOP. A brave man would amputate the gangrenous leg to save the body. But the GOP is so vested in securing power by means fair or foul that it cannot distance itself from him. Sticking with him will doom them, jettisoning him will cause that long-awaited civil war.

Being a leader means sometimes forgoing short term gain for the longer term health of the nation. And in that regard, Paul Ryan and the other GOP leaders have failed miserably. Not that any of them is qualitatively better than Trump. But gone are the days when the national GOP eschewed getting into bed with the likes of David Duke. Partisanship is all that matters, and if it means stomaching a stubby-fingered vulgarian as your party's standard-bearer, then that's what it'll have to take.

What any Republican voter of good conscience is faced with is that his or her party puts power over principle. Those of us on this side of the aisle have known that for quite some time. One can only hope that this revelation hits our friends of good will on the other side with the force of gale winds.



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