Every four years, Republicans have to swallow their pride and throw their support behind the nominee in order to face our common enemy —Democrats. Some candidates demand more out of us than others. One can only imagine the immense humility it took for Sen. Lindsey Graham to endorse Ted Cruz. But he knew it was for the greater good.
That said, no mountain has ever been taller to climb for many principled Republicans than Donald Trump.
South Carolina’s leaders have fallen behind Trump, except for Sen. Graham. It’s significant that Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Trey Gowdy have said that they will back him, because to many, they represent a fresh face for conservatism, reform-minded leaders who can sell the conservative idea. We can expect to be able to defend their actions without compromising our basic moral code.
But their support of Trump is completely indefensible. Admittedly, the prospect of a Clinton administration and a liberal Supreme Court can give the staunchest of Never Trump champions second thoughts. But we can rely on Mr. Trump to reinforce our resolve when he does things like suggest that a judge can’t be impartial because he is of Mexican descent.
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Sen. Graham said of the judge comments: “If anybody was looking for an off-ramp, this is probably it. There’ll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”
Those who continue to support Trump will have to give an account for his comments when the Trump flame burns out.
Our leaders seem to be slaves to party unity at all costs. But they ought to consider Sen. Graham’s advice and withdraw their support for Trump. They should reject the poisonous tenor of his campaign and call him what he is: a narcissistic, authoritarian populist who preys on people’s anger and anxieties. That would do more for the GOP than a desperate rally around Trump. I doubt politicians will admit a mistake, but dum spiro spero.