For the past six months, there has been endless discussion about the #NeverTrump movement and its relationship with the Republican nominee for President, Mr. Donald J Trump. In that time, the mainstream media has made it seem as though there are only two camps of Republicans in America, those who have jumped on the Trump train, and those who have declared that they will never get on.
This binary view of Republicans is incorrect and excludes an important third group, one which I call #MaybeTrump. Who is #MaybeTrump? #MaybeTrump is a group which is made up of both conservatives and more moderate Republicans alike.
It is a group which counts Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), myself, and numerous other disillusioned Republicans as members. It is a group whose members sincerely want to support Donald Trump, but simply can not conscientiously bring themselves to do so yet for differing reasons. We are a group stuck in no man’s land in the ongoing GOP civil war between those who are ardently #NeverTrump, and those who are unabashedly pro-Trump.
For the past several months since the conclusion of the GOP primaries and the triumph of the Donald, the most common question I have gotten from friends and family is, “Will you be voting for Trump?” Admittedly my response to this question has shifted over time.
As somebody who worked on Sen. Cruz’s campaign in the primaries, I personally was vocally #NeverTrump during the primaries. Since then, as the thought of a Hillary Clinton presidency becomes closer to reality, I, like many of my peers, have softened my stance and left the door open (if only slightly) to voting for Trump.
Why not simply jump on the Trump train if I am so repulsed by Hillary? The answer is very simple; the biggest obstacle standing between those who are #MaybeTrump and supporting the party’s nominee is the conduct and character of the nominee himself.
It seems as though every time Donald Trump has a good week, gives a good speech, and gets us closer to supporting him, he follows it with a horrible week that pushes us away once again. The best example of this is the aftermath of the RNC a few weeks ago.
On the last night of the RNC, Trump gave a speech which impressed many of us and pushed us closer to embracing our nominee. Since then, Trump has gone after the family of a military hero who sacrificed his life defending our country; he has suggested he will fund campaigns against GOP Sen. Cruz and Gov. Kasich; he has given a shout-out to Speaker Ryan’s primary opponent, and refused to endorse the Speaker along with GOP Senators: Ayotte and McCain.
All of these off message attacks have left us #MaybeTrump Republicans confused and even bitter. These attacks even caused Rep Kinzinger (R-IL) to switch from being #MaybeTrump to being #NeverTrump. With Hillary Clinton being the most unpopular Democrat nominee ever and one of the most dishonest in US history, Trump should be attacking her, not fellow Republicans.
All that these off script attacks accomplish is alienate those of us who are #MaybeTrump and make us think twice about whether we really would be willing to give our vote to a man of such questionable character and demeanor.
The current relationship between those of us who are #MaybeTrump and Trump reminds me of the classic Peanuts skit in which Lucy holds the football for Charlie Brown to kick, only to yank the ball away at the very last minute and disappoint Charlie Brown.
Lucy convinces Charlie Brown to try again, only to yank the ball and leave Charlie Brown depressed on the ground once more. This election cycle, Trump is Lucy and #MaybeTrump Republicans are Charlie Brown. Every time we are close to supporting Trump, he yanks the ball away and leaves us both frustrated and disappointed.
What Trump must realize sooner rather than later is that unlike Charlie Brown, we will not keep coming back to him again and again. If Donald Trump does not cut the off script attacks and stay on message, many of us who are #MaybeTrump will become #NeverTrump.
They say that those of us who haven’t endorsed Trump are only helping Hillary win in November. But through his vitriol and recent inexcusable recent tirades, the biggest enabler of a Clinton presidency is Trump himself. I urge Mr. Trump to get his act together before it is too late.
We want to support you, so don’t yank away the proverbial football and leave us shaking our heads. Act like a nominee, unite the party, and give America the win it so desperately needs in November.