This is an excerpt from the chapter entitled "Any Republican Will Do":
Jeff Flake said something else that I found very telling. He said, "There is no love for the President among Senate Republicans, and they aspire to do more than answer questions about his every tweet and issue. But they know this is the President's party and the bargain's been made." I asked myself what's the bargain? Here’s my conclusion: if you keep proving that you can win, we will back you no matter what you do because for Republicans winning is all that matters.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State Colin Powell echoed similar sentiments when he said:
"’The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself. Right now, Republican leaders and members of the Congress, in both the Senate and in the House, are holding back because they're terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out,’ Powell said. ‘Will they lose a primary? I don't know why that's such a disaster, but will they lose a primary?” (Becker, 2019)
Republican leaders have lost their moral compass. When Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was a young politician, he called the Watergate affair "totally repugnant" and denounced the conduct of President Richard Nixon. (Rucker, 2019)
However, his most recent campaign ad shows him stoutly supporting President Trump, saying, "The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader." (Kaplan, 2019) How could a Republican leader who watched the corruption of Watergate unfurl, stand idly by as the President flaunts the fact that he invited a foreign government to interfere with our election process?
When candidate Donald Trump was caught on tape speaking of grabbing a woman by the genitals, I knew he was done politically, but to my amazement, he wasn't. When candidate Trump referred to Mexicans in the vilest terms that I had ever heard from any political leader, I thought surely he was done.
I remember as a Republican teacher, in a primarily Hispanic community, being surrounded by Hispanic students, shortly following candidate Trump's remarks. They asked me, "Mr. T, are you voting for Trump?" I remember assuring them that I would never vote for Trump. In the back of my mind, I just knew that he would never make it that far. There was no scenario that I could imagine that candidate Trump would receive the Republican Party’s nomination.
Then the unthinkable started to happen. The candidate with the least demonstrated moral character, no military service, no record of success in public office, no identification with the religious right, the one whose success as a "businessman" had been derided and ridiculed—this candidate began to emerge as the front runner.
It was clear that candidate Trump's white nationalism, anti-immigration, cut taxes for the wealthy and villainize all things Obama, were making him the candidate with the best chance to beat former first-lady, Secretary of State and Senator, Hillary Clinton. Political affiliation aside, on paper, candidate Trump's political resume did not deserve to be compared to Hillary Clinton's. However, under the "any Republican will do" banner, candidate Trump was amply qualified. We know the rest of the story.
The Republican candidate that was deemed most capable of winning the election was given the nomination, despite the lack of credentials shared by previous Republican candidates such as Ronald Regan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and John McCain (governor of a large state, service in the Armed Forces of the United States, heroism in combat, distinguished record in Congress).
As the 2020 election nears and now coincides with an impeachment trial in the Senate, there is still the palpable, yet incomprehensible sense that Republican leaders will ride the elephant until it dies while carrying the banner "any Republican will do."
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