Sunday, March 13, 2016

Republicans Should Accept Possibility of Trump Nomination

“I didn’t realize this was in question. Behaves like a racist, speaks like a racist…of course [Donald Trump] is a racist,”  tweeted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last night.

If de Blasio’s Tweet is accurate, it should come as a major surprise that last Friday, Dr. Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump for President. If Trump is really a racist bigot as portrayed by de Blasio, why would Dr. Carson, an African American, support him?

It’s true that a small fraction of Trump’s supporters are associated with racial hate groups, but is that any worse than when, say, the terrorist group Hamas endorsed Obama in 2008? Perhaps Trump hasn't done enough to distance himself from his most rogue supporters, but at least he doesn't refer to their endorsements as “flattering,” as David Axelrod did Hamas’s.

The reality is that the majority of Trump supporters are our own friends and neighbors. As a high school senior, I know many young people who support Trump in addition to the countless adults I know that do as well. In full disclosure, I caucused for Senator Rubio, but I understand that realistically Trump will more than likely be the Republican nominee.

I attended Trump’s Louisville rally, mostly out of curiosity, and I left with a different perspective on Trump’s supporters. The majority of attendees at the rally appeared to be blue collar workers, exactly the demographic on which Hillary relied in 2008 and would need in a general election. I also saw business professionals, women, and minorities. Most of the attendees were polite and well behaved.

Of my friends who lean moderate, in the event of a Hillary vs. Trump election, I know several who say they will abstain, a few who will vote for Trump, but none who will vote for Hillary. To say that Trump couldn't win a general election is inaccurate.

Carson’s endorsement received surprisingly little media attention, especially compared to Chris Christie’s endorsement. I’ve never been particularly drawn to Christie; however, I deeply respect Dr. Carson as an intelligent, thoughtful, and faithful man. Carson is someone whom almost everyone respects, even if he wasn’t one’s first choice candidate, whereas in my experience most people dislike Christie outside of his loyal network of supporters. I believe Carson’s endorsement is a game changer in this election.

This election cycle has played out differently than anyone could have expected, except maybe the Donald himself. It’s difficult to know where exactly Trump stands, but I think Bill Bennet said it best when he compared this election to a game of Russian roulette: with Hillary, all six chambers are loaded, but with Trump, only three are.

It’s time for Republicans to accept that Trump will likely be our nominee. A brokered convention may be the establishment’s only hope for installing a more predictable nominee, but doing so would prove disastrous for our party. It would disenfranchise nearly half of the Republican primary electorate and make party unity all but impossible. 

In 2015, Kentucky Republicans faced a four way primary that became inflamed with personal accusations and mud slinging, but still managed to unite behind Matt Bevin who went on to successfully take the Governor’s Mansion and has proven an excellent governor thus far. Trump, like Bevin, may not be the first choice for the many Republicans, but if he is the nominee, we must unite behind him. 

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