Donald Trump: The litmus test of Republican integrity

There is a lot to admire about the Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump. For starters, he has displayed extraordinary business acumen and created a huge business empire. This, undoubtedly, required hard work, grit, determination, business and political savvy.

There is a lot to admire about the Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump. For starters, he has displayed extraordinary business acumen and created a huge business empire. This, undoubtedly, required hard work, grit, determination, business and political savvy.

Moreover, he has bounced back from bankruptcy and rebuilt his empire. Not many people go down and get up stronger than they were before. Second, from all appearances, he and his wives have raised a good, strong family, with successful kids.

 

And there is more.

 

But Trump has become a highly controversial candidate partly because, for every good attribute, there appears to be two or three negative traits that challenge the integrity of those who continue to support him. Trump is mired in scandal. Why do Republicans continue to stand behind him?

 

I understand loyalty, and why many Republican supporters would feel a sense of duty to stand behind their candidate in spite of the hurricane of scandals blowing through his campaign. But should loyalty to the party translate into loyalty to Trump?

Would it be disloyal to the party to drop support for Donald? I think not. From all accounts, Trump’s relationship with the Republican Party is a marriage of convenience – done at the civil registry, not in church.

Trump, by his own admission, has always thought first and foremost about his business, with little regard to the party. He admits, boastfully, that he has contributed money to both parties (Republicans and Democrats), focussing on lobbying candidates and public officials to support issues that would benefit his businesses. Not surprising, he was also once a member of the Democratic Party.

On many policy issues he has liberal positions and, on the ideological spectrum, Trump is, at best, moderately conservative. I therefore believe Republicans can remain loyal to the party while distancing themselves from Trump. He is, simply, not a particularly strong representative of the Republican Party.

Trump is also no conservative. The contrast between him, and his VP running mate, Mike Pence, could not be more pronounced, and the recent scandal involving his comments about groping women have brought into sharp relief his moral depravity. He is no Reagan republican.

As Republican Senator Susan Colins said recently, “(Trump) does not reflect historical Republican values nor the inclusive approach to governing that is critical to healing the divisions in our country.”

He is crude, profane, socially liberal (supports Planned Parenthood), thrice married and an adulterer. As New York Times writer Daniel Williams noted in his Aug 20, 2016 article, Why Values Voters Value Donald Trump “pragmatism has trumped theological purity” – many support Trump because they feel he is the only candidate remaining who can help them achieve their agendas – including regaining control of the Supreme Court and stopping the flow of immigrants into the country.

For the rest, he appeals largely to a narrow Republican base – those whose values are nourished by fear, xenophobia, intolerance, racism and sexism. These are not the values of the Republican Party.

This is not a conservative agenda. It is an agenda that would drive wedges between groups of Americans, and perhaps between America and the rest of the world.

Trump will also never truly represent a Republican agenda, or anyone else’s agenda. In my home country, we have a saying “use sleep to mark death” – meaning, look at how someone behaves in one context to get a sense of what they would be like in another.

Listen to Trump: “I love to win”. Trump’s entire life and career has been about himself and about winning. About beating the tax system, about finding ways to profit while workers in his bankrupting businesses get laid off, about setting up companies that peddle fake get rich real estate training schemes to people who could scarcely afford the cost of these programmes.

I have listened to Trump for almost a year and not once have I heard him say “win-win”. There is no place in his agenda for the needs or rights of others. Not Muslims, not blacks, not Latinos, not women, not gays, not the workers in his companies that he refused to pay.

He may now soften his language and try to reach out to these groups so that he can win an election, but a man who has spent his entire life as a narcissist and egoist, will not all of a sudden become the kind of person who is excessively concerned with the issues affecting other people. Use sleep to mark death.

The question I have for Republican leaders such as Paul Ryan, Mike Pence, and others, including the religious conservatives, is “how far are you willing to go in sacrificing your integrity, and abandoning your moral convictions and your commitment to a decent and inclusive America, to stand behind a man who spends his time looking lovingly at a mirror?”

The writer is owner and operator of Forrest Jackson Relocation Services

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