“I Support The Nominee”
In the heat of the June sun, the 2016 Presidential campaign continues in an alternate universe that’s not as crazy as it may sound to you. The parties’ nomination races are over, every primary and caucus vote has been tabulated. Now the campaign has come down to two major party nominees duking it out to see who will become the nation’s 45th President.
For their part, the Democrats have nominated in Hillary Clinton, a woman who has experience as a First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. She is very unpopular and had some trouble with an avowed socialist, but her chances of victory have increased significantly and dramatically in part because of an increase in President Obama’s approval numbers and mainly who the Republicans nominated.
Meanwhile, the Republican nominee has a controversial past, has run for office before only to lose as a fringe candidate, has historically bad polling numbers in the favorability department, and has made comments about minorities that could put the Grand Old Party in danger of being in a demographic black hole they may never escape from. Regardless, Republicans must defend him as the better choice. They must stick to the line “I support the nominee” even as he tumbles in polling and his brand hurts the party’s brand to historic lows. But what else did the GOP expect when they nominated David Duke?
Duke’s nomination is thanks to a perfect storm of things. Seventeen candidates running for the Republican nomination allowed him to suck up the room with a niche 40% of the party, stoking fear among them of the “establishment” and foreigners. He was mainly untouched as Jeb Bush tried to use his resources to take everyone else down first, and by the time he was hit by Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz (after months of being an ally of his and backing down when given the chance to hit him earlier), it was too little too late. On top of all that, the media gave him a ridiculous amount of air time, obsessively following his plane touchdowns, media rallies, and riots caused by his candidacy.
Now Duke anchors the Republican Party who have seen an election year that started out with great opportunity for their hopes to retake the White House transform into a year that could rival 2008 in damage done electorally. Republicans knows this, but as FOX News watches Duke with a look on their anchors’ eyes that rival the first time they told their spouses they love them, they find themselves being bombarded with the ultimatum of back Duke or you’re for Hillary.
But as Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan launches his “Better Way” initiative with black pastors flanking him, introducing new poverty reforms that most don’t expect from his party, he must announce his party’s nominee makes “racist comments”. But when pressed if he still supports Duke, Ryan says “I support the nominee. We cannot afford four years of Hillary Clinton.”
Marco Rubio, explaining his “Never Duke” merchandise scam, admits Duke will embarrass the party and reminds Jake Tapper that he “warned this would happen.” But when pressed if he supports Duke, he says “He is the party’s nominee and I support him over Hillary Clinton. We cannot afford four years of her.”
Mitch McConnell says that Duke must grow as a candidate and admits he is a flawed candidate. But when asked about responding to his racist comments, the Republican Senate Majority Leader says “I support the nominee. He is a better alternative than Hillary Clinton.”
But the unity isn’t holding up everywhere. Governors and Senators from the party have refused to endorse. There are stories of delegates who want to cause convention chaos. Right wing journalists set up third parties trying to attract a major alternative. Donors refuse to help out. Ted Cruz stares blankly at a reporter as the elevators close when asked if he can support Duke who insinuated that his father helped assassinate JFK.
But the party’s chairman, Reince Priebus, refuses to allow this to stop him from using the RNC to try and save the sinking Duke ship. The RNC starts adopting Duke’s tweeting style, Reince announces Mitt Romney is wrong to refuse to back the nominee, and tweets from a plane ride with Duke about going to a rally in the battleground state of Texas, and Sean Spicer throws shade at reporters who criticized Duke’s call for banning Muslims and killing innocents. As his party’s image hits new lows and his nominee continues to break records of unpopularity, Reince announces in the middle of a bad day for Duke, “He will win in November!”
So here is where the GOP finds itself a year after the scandalous FBI probe into Hillary Clinton began to hurt her chances. Tumbling down in polls and defending a man they admit is inexperienced and has made “racist comments.” The party of Lincoln has to make a choice and a good many of their politicians are announcing that when it comes to David Duke, “I will support the nominee.”
Now let’s return to reality, replace Duke’s name with Trump; how much of this is different?