Of all the hype and nonsense in the presidential campaign – and there’s an overwhelming amount of it – the biggest canard is that many Republicans will refuse to support Donald Trump.
Paul Ryan’s tap dancing makes that clear. Shortly after becoming House Speaker in October, Ryan said flatly he would support any GOP nominee, including Trump. Then he shuffled a bit in response to a few of Trump’s outlandish remarks. Trump countered by warning that if Ryan didn’t support him he’d “pay a very big price.”
Once Trump locked up the nomination, Ryan made over-inflated headlines by declaring that he couldn’t support Trump “right now.” Shame on news media for reporting that gibberish as if it were anything other than short-term posturing.
Less than a week later, Trump and Ryan issued a “joint statement” that they had made “a very positive step toward unification.” Translation: by July, Ryan and virtually all of the Republican hi-erarchy will be glad-handing Trump at the GOP convention and campaigning for him into Novem-ber.
And why not? The truth about presidential politics nowadays is that voters are selecting a party to control the executive branch. Primaries are about personalities, but not so general elections.
It would be nice if that weren’t true – and a lot more would be accomplished in the gridlocked halls of Congress if elected officials, and voters, were willing to compromise. But they’re not.
If you’re a Republican, you agree wholeheartedly with the statement released by Trump and Ryan: “The United States cannot afford another four years of the Obama White House, which is what Hillary Clinton represents.”
And if you’re a Democrat, no matter what you think of Clinton and her whopping “unfavorables,” nothing is more important than keeping the White House out of Trump’s hands – whatever size they turn out to be.
There are a few representatives of the GOP elite, such as Mitt Romney, who have dug such deep holes in bashing Trump that they might have to sit out the election. But they are few and far between.
More typical is Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, writing in The Wall Street Journal: “I do not pretend Donald Trump is the Reaganesque leader we so desperately need, but he is certainly the better of two bad choices.” Jindal reminds us that he “mocked (Trump’s) appearance, demeanor, ideology and ego in the strongest language I have ever used publicly to criticize anyone in politics.”
And now Jindal is endorsing Trump. Case closed.
The same return to party reasoning will occur with most of Bernie Sanders’ supporters when, in November, it comes time to vote for Clinton: Not Clinton the person, but Clinton the Democrat.
If nothing else, the future of the Supreme Court alone should drive voters to the party of their choice, not either individual candidate.
The two parties had their chance in the primaries and an argument can be made that both sides blew it. Imagine a Kasich-Biden election. What a fascinating political exercise that might have been.
Instead we have two candidates, neither of whom, individually, is the life of the party. Yet, in this election, their party’s life is at stake.
Peter Funt is a writer and speaker. His book, “Cautiously Optimistic,” is available at Amazon.com and CandidCamera.com. © 2016 Peter Funt. Columns distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc., newspaper syndicate.