A lot of people had the hope that Donald Trump would reform his ways after winning the Primary. I won’t say that was a reasonable hope, but I don’t begrudge anyone for holding it. We all have our moments of cockeyed optimism.
There was definitely a reason you could believe that Trump was just cynically playing to right-wing stereotypes in order to win the primary, and that when he pivoted to the general, he would become more refined and less of an uncouth jackass.
By now, even the most cockeyed optimist on earth must realize that dream is well and thoroughly dead. If Trump’s braying performance at his press conference last week did not convince you, his public meltdown over the judge assigned to his Trump University case has convinced all reasonable people: Trump is beyond control. The way he acted in the primary was not an act. This is really how he is, and he will not change.
The Curiel fracas has been without a doubt, the worst of his campaign, as even Newt Gingrich has acknowledged. Trump’s behavior and rhetoric have been ugly and getting progressively worse. While left wing blogs have been calling Trump a racist for months, pretty much the entire media has now joined the chorus, and for good reason: there is no non-racist way to spin Trump’s remarks. Calling them anything else is a disservice to the word racism.
The second he uttered them, prominent Republicans who jumped on the Trump train in a fit of optimism began to signal Trump that he was in trouble. First Paul Ryan rebuked him, unprompted, on a radio show. Then Mitch McConnell refused to say that the remarks were not racist and said that he disagreed with them as strongly as possible. Newt Gingrich, who has been basically prostrate before Trump for months, roused his critical thinking skills to claim that Trump’s remarks were “inexcusable.”
None of this moved Trump in the slightest. In fact, in his interview with John Dickerson, he doubled down and suggested that Curiel (who was born in this country to two United States citizens) was not like the Mexicans who came here legally, all of whom love Trump.
So now here you are. The cat is out of the bag. Trump has said it, and he’s not taking it back. And you have to know by now that this will not be nearly the only damaging thing he will say between now and November. He’s going to be every bit as offensive – if not more so – than he was in the primary. And no amount of begging and pleading on your part will stop that.
This is what it means if you stand behind him even after this weekend. You know Trump’s remarks display clear and open bigotry towards those of Mexican heritage – not one of you can say they don’t with a straight face. If you stand behind him now, you are saying to everyone that you know Trump is a racist but you still stand behind him because that’s what being a good Republican requires.
Now, you tell me: how do you expect any Hispanic person who sees the Republican party lining up behind this stance ever voting for a Republican again? “Hey, if our nominee hates you because of who your parents are, we will still support him – all of us, to a man. Sorry.”
Contrary to what you might have been told by people who get rich off of selling books to racist idiots, the Hispanic share of the vote will continue to increase in this country even if illegal immigration is ended tomorrow. And by most estimates, it will be at least 13% of the electorate in 2016. The Republican party can at least theoretically survive if we win 30-40% of the Hispanic vote. If the Hispanic vote starts to look like the black vote (90/10 Democrat or worse), and is motivated to turn out by the threat of overt racist attack from the Party of Trump, then we might well be looking at a scenario where almost 30% of the population splits 90/10 for the Democrats. In other words, a scenario where the Republican Presidential candidate is 25% in the hole before a single white person casts a vote.
And by the way, you know who else doesn’t like people who pal around with racists? A whole lot of white people. Myself included.
No Republican will ever be elected President again. We’ll be lucky to maintain 30 seats in the Senate and 200 in the House. Huge numbers of you will be washed away in the tide, and those who remain will have little or no influence over anything.
Probably, it’s already too late to do anything about any of this. You all had your chance and you refused to rally behind Ted Cruz, the only person with a shot at stopping Trump. So it’s not really my problem. But the one and only chance you have is to make it crystal clear that Trump is running for President alone, without the blessing of literally any elected Republican. Treat him as a one time aberration who is not with you. But the window of opportunity on having a genuine change of heart on Trump is rapidly closing. If you wait until Trump is already behind 15-20% in the polls (and he is heading there), it will ring false and hollow and a generation will be gone forever.
Your choice. Maybe that’s what needs to happen, after all.