An Open Letter to Republican Trump Naysayers
As the RNC opens in Cleveland, former Dallas County GOP Chairman Wade Emmert writes, “I would have much rather had Scott Walker, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz as our nominee. But they didn’t win, so I’ll take it like a man and support our nominee.”
The Republican National Convention is getting underway in Cleveland now and with it a chorus of people proclaiming that the end of the GOP is at hand. If they are the chorus, then the verse is sung by those who claim, with a healthy amount of righteous indignation, that they are leaving the Republican Party for good.
To those two groups, I have a simple message: Get over it.
I’m reminded of the words of Teddy Roosevelt, “Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.”
For the past six months, some in the GOP have offered nothing but whining. I’m looking at you, Bill Kristol. You all would have been satisfied had your candidate won, but he or she didn’t. Now Donald Trump is our nominee. That’s how the process works.
It’s called democracy. Look it up.
I’ll grant you that Trump is divisive. I’ll concede he says things that make me cringe. I’ll acknowledge that he is not the most conservative of our GOP hopefuls.
And yet he does have one undeniable quality — he won.
This is hardly the first time an unpopular candidate has been the nominee of a major political party.
Rewind 140 years to former Speaker of the House James G. Blaine who was the Republican nominee in 1880. He unsuccessfully sought the nomination on two separate occasions, losing to Republicans Rutherford B. Hayes and James A. Garfield. Plagued by allegations that he took a bribe from the Union Pacific Railroad, Republicans, in their wisdom, decided to nominate him for President in 1880. Blaine lost to Democrat Grover Cleveland.
The Democrats have misstepped too. In 1872, they nominated Horace Greeley, one of the founders of the Republican Party, as their nominee for President. Greeley despised the presidency of Republican Ulysses S. Grant so much that he ran for, and subsequently won, the nomination of the Liberal Republican Party. The Democratic Party loved his platform so much that they decided to nominate him too. Needless to say, Greeley lost.
And who could forget George Wallace, the Alabama Governor who ran for President three times as a Democrat. He was populist and segregationist who stood for “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” Always a fan of the n-word, he stood in front of the entrance of the University of Alabama in an attempt to stop the enrollment of black students. Wallace later became the presidential nominee for the American Independent Party.
There are plenty of other examples, too. Had these candidates lived in the age of the 24/7 news cycle with a direct line of communication to the public via Twitter, perhaps they would have been even more polarizing than Trump.
The point is that political parties have nominated some doozies throughout history and survived.
So, to all you #NeverTrump Republicans, I want to make three points.
First, Trump was not my first choice, or even second or third. I would have much rather had Scott Walker, Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz as our nominee. But they didn’t win, so I’ll take it like a man and support our nominee.
Second, you are correct that Trump is no Ronald Reagan. He’s not a statesman by traditional definitions, nor is he personable or witty. Honestly, we have deified Reagan so much that I’m not sure even Reagan could be Reagan at this point. Holding anyone to that standard is just setting us up for disappointment.
Finally, whatever happens with Trump’s campaign — whether it ends in victory or defeat — we will get through it. We have almost made it through Barack Obama’s administration and if we can make it through that, we can make it through anything.
I started this diatribe with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt reminding everyone to look for a solution rather than incessantly whining. So, what solution am I proposing?
We should all hunker down with the Republican Party and keep moving forward. The Trump Era, for better or for worse, will pass. It will come to an end sooner or later and we must be prepared to move our party and our country forward.
To all my Republican brothers and sisters, regardless of ideology, let us stand together and support our nominee.
Winston Churchill, a controversial figure in his own right, summed it up perfectly — “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Originally published on the Quorum Report on July 18, 2016. Wade Emmert is the former Chairman of the Dallas County Republican Party.