Party Loyalty

Donald Trump’s behavior in his campaign for President has been disgraceful.  We shouldn’t be surprised by that.  He’s been behaving disgracefully in public for as long as we’ve known about him, and he’s gotten much more attention than he deserved for much too long.  We made the mistake of ignoring him for years, writing him off as a self-promoter and a buffoon, an entertainer who isn’t entertaining, a celebrity not worth celebrating, someone who’s famous for being famous.  We can’t ignore him any longer.  It’s gotten serious.  Very serious.

Donald Trump isn’t some harmless crackpot.  He isn’t the crazy uncle whose conspiracy theories you have to listen to during holiday dinners.  He’s the Republican nominee for President.

He got where he is by trampling his opponents, not by arguing that his proposals and solutions were better than theirs, but by attacking them on personal terms, by being rude and often cruel to them and to their families.  He hasn’t stopped there.  He’s attacked and vilified people on the basis of religion, race, and nationality.  He’s courted hate groups for their support by taking positions that no legitimate candidate for President would take, positions that should embarrass any decent person.  And, through it all, he’s behaved like a bully, able to hand it out, but not able to take it.

He hasn’t done this in secret.  His record is clear.  He says these things and behaves this way in public and finds ways to get his name in the news every day.  He seems to have no secrets, no interior life, no moments of reflection.  Every random, unedited thought is the subject of a tweet.  He’s managed to keep his tax returns secret up to now though.  They might show that he’s not as rich as he claims to be, that he pays little or no income tax, or that he’s been lying about his gifts to charity.

What line will Trump have to cross before decent Republicans will say they’ve had enough?  How far will he have to go?  His behavior has been reprehensible.  His positions are indefensible.  Many high-profile Republicans including former Presidents, presidential candidates, Senators, Representatives, diplomats, and statesmen have refused to endorse Trump, but too many others have joined him.

How can you explain that?  Is it just blind loyalty to their party?  Or is it possible that they actually agree with what Donald Trump has come to represent?  Ask John Frey and Marty Heiser about it the next time you see them.  Ask John why he accepted a position as Sergeant-at-Arms at the convention where Trump was nominated.  Ask Marty why he said the day Trump was nominated was the day he was proudest to be a Republican and an American.  Ask yourself whether John Frey can really represent us in Hartford.  Ask yourself whether Marty Heiser can really represent Ridgefielders on the Board of Finance or in any other office.  Think about it the next time either of them asks for your vote.

The Ridgefield Democratic Town Committee supplies this column.