As the polls closed in Indiana, the battle lines for 2016 were drawn.
Donald Trump, reality show star turned carnival-barking demagogue, effectively sealed the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a truly terrifying candidate in his own right, acknowledged the harsh reality of delegate math and dropped out of the race. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus called Trump, for the first time, the “presumptive nominee.”
Make no mistake, Donald Trump is now the head of the Republican Party and he sets their direction on the most crucial issues of our time — something that all GOP candidates will have to answer for.
I’m less interested in the question of how we got here (although that will be endless grist for the history books), and more in what we can do about it.
To say Donald Trump would be a disaster for our country, our democracy and our future would be doing a grave disservice to the word ‘disaster’. His election would be, in the words of Andrew Sullivan, an “extinction-level event.” The man, according to every reasonable observer, is utterly unfit for the office. With many serious challenges facing our country — pressing issues like climate change, income inequality, and education — Trump has expressed neither the inclination nor the ability to take on these problems.
Here’s the good news. Donald Trump’s crass charms are apparently very limited — historically so, if polling is any indication. His disapprovals are through the roof; 80% of Millennials view him unfavorably, with similar numbers of women and minorities. No presidential nominee in American history has been this widely disliked. This is all to say that Donald Trump has no path to victory in 2016 — if we turn out to vote. Apathy, not insults or outright falsehoods, would be Trump’s greatest asset going forward.
But Trump is not the only threat to our future who will be on the ballot this fall. Republicans up and down the ballot share his opposition to protecting our air, water and climate; his hostility to women and minorities, and his economically disastrous vision for America. Just today, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, often described as among the most moderate members of her party, confirmed that she will support Trump’s candidacy. Donald Trump may be unusually flamboyant, but his views are all too representative of the party that is about to nominate him for president.
By defeating Trump and those who stand with him, we can tackle our toughest challenges and build a healthier, more prosperous future for all Americans. Voters are calling for solutions to these challenges, like protecting our air, water, and climate by transitioning to 50% clean energy by 2030, on a path to 100% clean energy by 2050. It is both achievable and has widespread support from Americans of both parties.
It’s now up to all of us to send Donald Trump a message this November. With each vote, we’ll show him that America doesn’t share his divisive views.
We’ll tell him, and the world, in the strongest possible terms that America is already great because we value everything he does not; diversity, empathy, honesty, and respect.