Time for the GOP to abandon ship
© Greg Nash

Less than a year into Trump’s presidency, the political fractures made publicly evident during the Republican primaries have evolved into a full-on, intra-party compound fracture. As the dog days of summer end, an inevitable fall may be on the horizon.

Republicans may have finally reached a tipping point in the political reality show that has simultaneously exposed their craven nature as well as their inability to plan beyond the current news cycle. The meteoric crash of Donald Trump was never a question of “if,” but rather a question of “when.”

The Republican Party certainly had opportunities during the primary and general election to vanquish their demon. The list of abhorrent comments by Trump could fill the servers we hear about all too often. Instead of purging Trump and his supporters from the party like a responsible body politic should, they allowed him to fester. Like the cowardly lion, Republicans have been on a long journey in search of their courage.

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Republicans excused Trump’s embrace of their own dark passenger as mere populism wrapped in language “real America” could understand. The rest of us understood it as the type of sanitized bigotry that often goes unchallenged around kitchen tables and at local watering holes all across the country.

 

As President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE insulted every minority group that makes up the landscape of this great country, Republicans feigned indignation and relied on his repeated self-immolation to destroy his candidacy for the highest office. His demise never came. Instead of burning up in the volatile atmosphere like a North Korean ballistic missile, Trump and his supporters grew more indignant. As he whipped them into a frenzy like a revival preacher on a steamy Sunday evening, Trump and his supporters grew more emboldened.

The failure to seriously rebuke and rebuff the tone and tenor of Trump’s campaign empowered the Bannon and Breitbart types to unleash the type of candidacy and eventual presidency unseen in modern times. The level of emotional manipulation and cult-like behavior that has emanated from the White House has gone virtually unchecked by Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow does the 25th Amendment work? Sinema, Fitzpatrick call for long-term extension of Violence Against Women Act GOP super PAC drops .5 million on Nevada ad campaign MORE (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDoug Jones to McConnell: Don't 'plow right through' with Kavanaugh Kavanaugh accuser agrees to testify next week GOP, Kavanaugh accuser struggle to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.). Tepid warnings from leadership have been repeatedly floated as political cover.

The most troubling part of our current political reality is how predictably it has all played out. It should come as no surprise that a candidate who dove headfirst into internet-based conspiracy theories and memorized white supremacist talking points would at some point cause the fracturing of an entire major party. Under the surface, Republicans have always had a wink and nod relationship alongside fringe groups with ulterior motives. Their common thread being solely the election of Republican majorities to return the country to a time and place not reflective of our vast diversity.

For all the talk of building a wall and repealing the Affordable Care Act, Republicans never really had a substantive plan for moving the country forward. Republicans were instinctively reacting to the affirmation of the browning of our nation in the 2008 and 2012 elections. They ran against the country’s changing demographics by exploiting white America’s deepest fears. In many ways, Trump was the perfect candidate to expose the weakness of the Republican Party and its lack of serious policy provisions. Now he's become their biggest liability.

As Trump does potentially permanent damage not only to the Republican brand but the American brand as well, Ryan and McConnell have an opportunity to end this political charade once and for all. With the president’s poll numbers dropping and the legitimacy of our political institutions at risk, it’s time to bring down our political wall. It’s well past time for Republicans to join Democrats in resisting a president determined to permanently change our country for the worse.

With Trump’s foundation crumbling and support around him fracturing, only Republicans can put the final nail in the coffin of this presidency. At this point it doesn’t even require political courage for Ryan and McConnell to begin talks about removing the president from office, it merely requires a love of country and the ability to diagnose his impending collapse.

Now is not the time for Republicans to dig in and circle the wagon around a politically poisonous presidency. Now is the time for Republicans to abandon ship and admit that they gambled with the legitimacy of this political experiment. Now is the time for Republicans to do as they did with Richard Nixon and demand that he exits the office of the presidency and returns some semblance of grace and dignity to the White House.

What is clear, however, is that whatever is going to happen, must happen soon. The Trump presidency is increasingly coming off the rails and threatening the very viability of our democracy. This president has lost the moral authority to lead. It is now well beyond any shadow of a doubt that it is time for this president to either resign or be impeached. The choice lies with the Republican Party.

Michael Starr Hopkins is an attorney and former member of the presidential campaigns of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Trump questions Kavanaugh accuser's account | Accuser may testify Thursday | Midterm blame game begins Dems look to Gillum, Abrams for pathway to victory in tough states Ford taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing MORE and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonPompeo: 'We've not been successful' in changing US-Russia relations Michael Moore ties Obama to Trump's win in Michigan in 2016 The Memo: Could Kavanaugh furor spark another ‘year of the woman’? MORE. He regularly appears on Fox News and CNN to talk about national politics. You can follow him on Twitter @TheOnlyHonest.


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