The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

A Response to “why did Republicans wait until this to revolt?”

From John Oliver to Mika Brzezenski, they angrily ask, “How is this different? Spineless Republicans that just now discovered the courage to stand up to Trump, get off your high horse!” But it’s a different idiom that applies here — “the straw that broke the camel’s back” — a proverb. The Access Hollywood tape is just the most glaring confirmation of Trump’s terrible character.

Brzezenski, in particular, was making the point by referencing Trump’s bawdy conversations with shock jock Howard Stern. As awful as his boasts have been, though, it never amounted to bragging about performing acts of sexual assault. Plus, Trump benefits when you bundle his words together. Putting it all in a pile diminishes the value of each individual statement. A Republican would be hard pressed to defend a dumb Trump comment, but general comments? We can just condemn the whole thing without even weighing the sentiment behind them.

This was different. This was Trump at his most lewd and his most lecherous. This was the thrice-married and then-recently-remarried Trump talking openly about trying to “fuck” another married woman, in his words, “moving on her like a bitch.” Then it was him bragging about one of his creepiest behaviors, insisting on kissing “beautiful” women on the mouth. THEN, it was him embracing his entitlement “as a star” as an excuse to “grab ’em by the pussy”, insisting “they let you do it.”

This is not how guys talk “in the locker room.” This is how sexual predators justify their depraved debauchery. This turns Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for President of the United States, into the highest-profile sexual offender in the country.

Republicans, most of which are convinced Trump won’t win, were nonetheless prepared to save face, to knock on doors and phone bank on Trump’s behalf. House Speaker Paul Ryan was finally ready to appear alongside him. Mike Pence’s performance in the vice presdiential debate had buoyed their hopes for a respectable showing in November, and Trump literally couldn’t do worse than he did during the first debate. But then the tape surfaced, and Trump feigned an apology with the regular caveat “if anyone was offended.” He dismissed it as “locker room talk” and took the occasion to criticize Bill Clinton for his conduct. I asked, “how can anyone with an ounce of integrity bother lifting a finger knowing that it only confirms Americans’ worst suspicions of Trump and our party?” Thankfully, many people finally found the courage to stand up this time, for politics, for their family members, for America. Sure it’s a little late, but I understand: you can only take so much, and you can only ask the same of our poor country.

I am #NeverTrump, have been since February and I have never seen a reason to change. Others wanted to respect the primary, respect the voters, and the process all the candidates and party officials had agreed to. But devotion should always be bound by integrity. And our conscience can only take so much. The timing couldn’t be worse and it is the straw that broke the camel’s back. This proverb persists for a reason and it applies here.

You know, I know, he knows: this is who Trump is.

“People want me to run for president all the time … I don’t like it. Can you imagine how controversial I’d be? You think about Clinton and the women. How about me with the women? Can you imagine?” — Donald J. Trump in 1999

Donald Trump knew full well what he would bring upon the back of the Republican Party and the conservative movement. He did it anyway. Some of us did everything we could to stop this very moment from happening, to no avail. Now, we have the straw that breaks the camel’s back and the timing couldn’t possibly be worse.

No one’s going to care if you rallied to Trump as “the least worst” option. Trump’s campaign is futile and the voters who come to hate the GOP for exalting “a racist, misogynist, xenophobic demagogue” are not going to care if you thought it represented “the least worst” option. They’ll blame you, the GOP, and everyone involved for every slur and they’re already painting a picture connecting Trump’s attitude with conservative principles and policies. It’s not a pretty picture.