Being a movie buff, one of my favorites is Monty Python’s Life of Brian. One of the premises of the movie is opposition to Roman rule is ineffective because the opposition groups are fragmented, and spend all their time fighting each other, rather than the Romans. At one point, John Cleese says the other opposition groups are “the only people we hate more than the Romans.” The bemused Romans just stand by and watch, knowing their rule is secure as long the opposition remains divided. I can’t help but think of this movie as I watch the current Republican Primary process run its course. Scathing attacks are launched by Republican national leadership and by the candidates themselves—not at Clinton or Sanders, but at the current front runner, Donald Trump. Mitt Romney’s recent attacks are just the latest manifestation of this self-flagellation.
But this phenomena is not limited to the national stage. As a typical college senior, I get a lot of my news from twitter, Facebook, and other social media networks. For the past few months, social media has been bombarded with everything Trump. It seems like every time I log onto Facebook, all my friends are posting articles about Trump, or going off on a rant about how Trump is a (insert any creative adjective here). At first the chatter was “Donald Trump couldn’t possibly win,” and then as the polls, primaries, and caucuses progressed, the rhetoric changed to “Why is Trump winning?”—valuable topics for discussion and debate.
But then Trump bashing began, and that drumbeat grew stronger. Alarmingly, much of this Trump bashing came not from liberals, but from my fellow Republicans. I see more and more of my fellow young conservatives distance themselves from the GOP frontrunner. They talk about how he’s not a real Republican. Instead of “talking up” Kasich’s experience at state and national levels, or Cruz’s solid conservative credentials, they’re all “talking down” Trump. Isn’t that some other party’s job? Some have even gone so far as to say if it came down to Trump or Hillary, they would vote Hillary.
As a young Republican, this alarms me. People who identify as Republicans would rather throw away the election and hand the country to a criminal who failed miserably at her job as Secretary of State? Or to a self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist who would bankrupt my generation beyond repair? I can’t imagine this.
This rhetoric needs to stop now. Whether you like it or not, Republican voters are speaking, and there is a solid chance Trump may become the Republican nominee. And that’s the way of politics in America: sometimes you don’t get everything you want. It’s disingenuous at best to say you support the Party’s Primary process, and then work to undermine it if your chosen candidate isn’t winning. If you don’t support Donald Trump, instead of tearing him down, build up the candidate you do support. Tell people why you are voting or have voted for Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or John Kasich. We still have a long road of campaigning ahead of us; save the bashing for the two Democratic candidates who really deserve it.