In the face of withering criticism over his call to bar Muslims from immigrating to this country, Donald Trump is making noises about rescinding his vow to support the Republican nominee. He’s let it be known that he’s considering running as an independent–a threat he made earlier this year. That prospect has a lot of liberals positively giddy, since on paper an independent Trump run would hand the Democrats the White House on a platter. Well, at risk of sounding contrarian, we shouldn’t be getting ready to order champagne in case Trump makes good on his threat. We should be demanding that Trump withdraw from the race.
Trump dropped a pretty loud hint on Tuesday that he’s mulling an independent bid. He told his Facebook followers that if he does bolt, he’d take a good number of his supporters with him.
On Wednesday’s edition of “LIVE with Kelly and Michael,” Trump told Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan that he doesn’t want to make an independent bid–but is keeping that option open “if I don’t get treated fairly.” If Trump thinks that anyone who calls him out for his outrageous behavior isn’t treating him fairly, it only underscores that it’s time for him to get out.
With this in mind, I reach back into my days as a high school Lincoln-Douglas debater to prove why we should start demanding that Trump withdraw from the race.
Contention #1: Trump has proven time and again that he has no regard for basic standards of decency.
I first called for Trump to get out of the race when he plastered Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos’ private cell phone number on Instagram and Twitter. Since then, he has engaged in several incidents that would have long since gotten him drummed out of the race in a more civilized environment. Among other things, he has suggested Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her whatever” when she asked him tough questions at a Republican debate, trashed Carly Fiorina and Columba Bush at another debate, and saw fit to mock a reporter for his disability when almost certainly knew that he was disabled.
All of these incidents should make those liberals jumping for joy at the prospect of Trump splitting the right think long and hard about what they’re wishing to happen. What message does it send when someone engages in multiple instances of this behavior and can still have any business running for president?
Contention #2: Trump has fostered un-American and undemocratic behavior among his supporters.
I’ll admit–the term “un-American” is pretty loaded. But there’s no other way to describe the environment that Trump has tacitly encouraged in his campaign. At one rally, a Trump supporter spat and cursed at a protester. At another, several Trump supporters beat and kicked a protester. After the latter incident, Trump suggested that the man deserved to get a beating.
Earlier, when two thugs cited Trump as an inspiration after they beat a homeless Latino man senseless, Trump said that he had “very passionate” supporters. And when someone yelled “white power” at a Trump rally, Trump called it a response to his slogan, “Make America Great Again.” No self-respecting candidate in a democratic society at any level should tolerate this behavior. The fact that Trump appears to tolerate it ought to send a chill down any fair-minded American’s spine–and give any liberal pause about rooting for him to bolt the GOP.
Contention #3: Trump has let it be known that he has no regard for accepted standards of behavior among civilized nations.
When Trump declared that he would kill the families of terrorists because “they know what is happening,” he all but announced that he would put this country in the same company as some of the worst regimes in world history. Nazi Germany harshly punished the families of political prisoners, and North Korea does it today. Additionally, his earlier promise to send Syrian refugees back to Syria would violate long-standing international law against sending refugees back to their persecutors. What message would it send that someone who is so cavalier about international law even has a fighting chance of becoming the most powerful elected official in the world?
Any one of these instances by themselves would be enough to demand that Trump withdraw from the race. All together? It’s time–past time, actually–to make up for the chance this country blew four decades ago by pardoning Nixon. By putting pressure on Trump to withdraw, we would be saying in no uncertain terms, “This is not part of our politics, never has been part of our politics, and will not be part of our politics.”