By endorsing the Democrats’ baseless attacks on Trump, Mitt Romney is doing a terrible disservice, not just to the Republican Party, but to the United States of America.
That’s a bit much. Look, Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, though there are many of us holding out hope for an open convention and a miracle. For a lot of people, not just in the Republican party but in the United States of America, Trump is a very bitter pill to swallow. Yes, Hillary Clinton would be an awful president and damage the nation as much or more than the current administration has – that’s a certainty. But given his inconsistencies, there are no guarantees Trump will be better, only hopes.
Hinderacker defends Trump against the charge of being a racist, but Romney never asserts that Donald Trump is a racist, only that the rhetoric he employs provides cover for racism in many that support him. Hinderacker pays lip service to that fact, but then goes on to defend Trump against the charge of being a racist anyway. I once asked some friends in the deep south if a certain powerful GOP figure of their acquaintance was a racist, mostly because of some “wink-and-a-nudge” good-ole-boy conversations I had had with some supporters of that figure earlier in the visit. Their response was, “X a racist? Nah, but he sure as hell is not afraid to play the race card to help get himself elected.” That is the distinction Romney is making and it is an important one. If you are going to shame the last standard bearer of the party, at least get it right.
Cold political calculation says that good Republicans should support Trump in the general, if that is how it ends up, for the sake of the down ticket if nothing else. But the time we are in right now is a time for consolidation, and that calculation comes awfully hard. Shaming can drive people away as easily as it can whip them into line. And let’s be honest – Trump is an extremely polarizing figure. If, as is highly likely, Trump ends up the nominee, Republicans are going to lose a significant number of voters – voters they want back after Trump. Shaming as a tactic for alignment is going to make that re-acquisition awfully difficult.