Party of Reagan or Party of Trump?
The Republican food fight last weekend was a horrible embarrassment for the Republican Party. With their childish attacks on each other, and with Donald Trump’s nasty bullying, they made the Party of Lincoln and the Party of Reagan look like the Party of Brats. Only Ben Carson and John Kasich acted like adults.
Kasich was absolutely right when he asked why the Republican Party’s 2016 candidates for president were squabbling about arcane pieces of legislation that didn’t pass the Senate. Trump showed his true liberal colors repeatedly Saturday night. He even recycled old Democrat talking points when he said George Bush was lying about Iraq and lying about weapons of mass destruction.
Yet diehard Trump fans keep telling me he reminds them of my father. That’s not just a total insult. It’s incredibly stupid. Do you remember Ronald Reagan insulting his way to the presidency, as Jeb Bush would say? Do you remember Ronald Reagan demeaning, disparaging or bullying the other candidates in a debate or in his campaign speeches?
Do you remember him saying nasty things about immigrants groups in America?
If that’s what you think Ronald Reagan was all about, you’re living on a different planet. Planet Trump, I guess. And no, Ronald Reagan would not vote for Trump in the California primary and he’d hope and pray Trump didn’t get the nomination in the Republican Party. Anyone who thinks differently is just wrong.
Trump is not a conservative. He is not a Republican. He’s not going to blow himself up and the media can’t hurt him. And nothing he says or does in the primaries can hurt him, no matter how crude or stupid. If the GOP doesn’t want to go the way of the Whig Party, it’s time to stand up and stop Trump now.
It’s time for the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reinhold Richard “Reince” Priebus, to get off his laissez-faire butt and make a stand. Preibus — and any other real Republican he can recruit to back him up — has to come out and condemn Trump for the Republican imposter he is. Trump doesn’t represent our party or its values.
Our party doesn’t stand for deporting 11.5 million people from the USA. Our party doesn’t stand for stopping an entire religious group from coming to America. Our party doesn’t trash its past president, George W. Bush, by implying he lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and saying 9/11 was his fault.
Our Republican Party is smarter and better than Trump. Our party can solve the illegal immigration problem without resorting to deportation. Our party can prevent terrorists from sneaking into the USA without shutting our borders to all Muslims. Our party knows G.W. Bush is not a liar. We know he was a great president who kept us safe.
The Republican Party used to allow talk radio to define what the party is. Now the RNC is allowing the party to be defined by Trump. The GOP has to find its spine and define itself. Party bigwigs started thinking about winning the general election. They have to rally around the party’s basic conservative values and heroes, point to Trump and tell the rest of the country that his crude character, horrible values and dumb Democrat ideas don’t represent Republicans.
If it can’t stop Trump, it may cost Republicans the Senate as well as the White House — which means forgetting any chance of a conservative filling Antonin Scalia’s spot on the Supreme Court. If Trump represents where the GOP has gone to, or if party leaders are willing to accept a fraud like him, then the GOP is no longer the Party of Ronald Reagan.
To paraphrase what my father said once about why he left the Democratic Party, if Trump gets the nomination, we conservatives will be saying we didn’t leave the Republican Party, the party left us.
Michael Reagan is a political columnist.
He is the eldest son of President Ronald Reagan, and is heard daily by over 5 million listeners via his nationally syndicated talk radio program.