Capitol Journal: Republicans who didn’t vote for Trump? They’re the real patriots

Donald Trump speaks at a news conference he called after questions were raised over contributions he promised to veterans charities.
(Richard Drew / Associated Press)

More than 1 million Californians voted to anoint a bigoted, bullying, insufferable ignoramus as their candidate for president of the United States.

Might as well insert uncivil and childish, too. No, scratch that. Most of us teach our children better manners.

Let the record also show that most Republican leaders in California either have been standing with Donald Trump or hiding under a table, unlike some national GOP honchos.


Apparently it’s party first, country second.

But it’s misguided party loyalty to be a lemming that follows a Pied Piper over the cliff.

Right wing or left wing, anyone who routinely, unapologetically insults and disrespects those who disagree with him — who acts like a cross between a Mussolini and mob boss — is a long-range disaster for the party and potentially the country.

“Anyone but Hillary Clinton” is not a valid excuse.

This is June, not November. There were four other Republicans on the GOP ballot Tuesday. Yes, they’d dropped out of the race. But voting for one would have sent a message that — as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday — “It’s time for him to act like a serious candidate for president.”

As of Wednesday, roughly 1.2 million Californians had voted for Trump — 75% of Republicans whose ballots had been counted. That number, I’m figuring, will grow by maybe half a million.

Young people don’t embrace the values espoused by leaders of the Republican Party.

— David Townsend, adviser to Democratic moderates

Yes, I get it. Many Trump voters hate government, hate politicians and hate trade deals that cost Americans jobs. They hate illegal immigration. Some of that is legitimate. But some people just hate folks who are different.

“Millennials are more accepting,” says political consultant David Townsend, who advises Democratic moderates. “Young people don’t embrace the values espoused by leaders of the Republican Party.”

That’s why more and more first-time California voters are registering as Democrats or independents and fewer as Republicans. It’s an old story.

But why should even a Republican vote for a presidential wannabe as ill-mannered as Trump?

“I don’t think it’s predominantly racism,” says veteran GOP consultant Rob Stutzman, who tried unsuccessfully to lead a “Stop Trump” movement. “But I think it’s a much larger element than anyone wants to admit.”

“A lot of people are going to vote for the party nominee, no matter what,” Stutzman continues. “They vote for their team color. It’s all about ‘stop Hillary.’ And people really aren’t that dialed into what he’s said.”

OK, they can dial in here. This is a summary of infamous Trump verbiage:

— The latest offense is close to the last straw for many: His assertion that a U.S.-born judge of Mexican descent cannot be fair in a lawsuit brought by people who contend Trump University was a scam. The judge “is a Mexican” with a “conflict of interest,” Trump says, because the candidate vows to build a border wall.

“The textbook definition of a racist comment,” said House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.).

Let’s not forget that Trump launched his campaign by calling Mexicans who came here illegally rapists, drug dealers and violent criminals.

— One of my favorites: Trump’s belittling the five-year Vietnam prisoner of war experience of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 GOP presidential nominee. The POW was “not a war hero,” Trump said. “I like people who weren’t captured, OK?”

— My co-favorite: Trump publicly making fun of a New York Times reporter who has a disability. The candidate unconscionably acted out some twisting and twitching gyrations.

Combine the reporter mocking and the McCain insult and it’s especially troubling that former Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole, the party’s 1996 presidential nominee, has endorsed Trump. Dole was a World War II hero severely wounded in Italy and was left with a lifelong disability.

— Trump shows no respect for the 1st Amendment’s guarantee of a free press, cynically castigating reporters because he knows it’s a crowd-pleaser. “Sleaze” and “loser” are among his favorite tags.

— But he slurs everyone: “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Crooked Hillary.” Women are “bimbos” and “fat pigs.” Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly has “blood coming out of her wherever.” Carly Fiorina: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”

— Then there’s Trump’s religious test that is unprecedented in America. He called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the country. Not just suspected terrorists.

— And the rough stuff, repeatedly condoning violence against protesters. “I’d like to punch him in the face,” he said of one in Las Vegas.

OK, that’s all anyone should really have to know about Donald Trump. He’s temperamentally unfit to lead the free world. And that doesn’t even include his suggestion that more nations should arm themselves with nukes.

Ours is a delicate democracy with equal branches of government. To achieve anything meaningful, a leader must function in a give-and-take relationship, respecting all views.

Who knows? Maybe Trump will listen to impatient party leaders and drop the tough guy act. Perhaps Tuesday night’s victory speech — civil, scripted, read from a teleprompter — was not an aberration. Could it have introduced a new Trump?

Doubt it. “You think I’m going to change? I’m not changing,” he told reporters last week.

When all the ballots are counted, it’s a good bet there’ll be twice as many registered Republicans in California who did not vote for Trump as did.

Those were the real party loyalists and patriots.

Follow @LATimesSkelton on Twitter


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