An open letter is being sent to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, begging the RNC to turn off the flow of money to Donald Trump’s campaign. According to Politico, which obtained a draft copy of the letter, it is signed by over 70 GOP officials.
The correspondence, which comes as more and more high-profile Republicans announce that they will not vote for their party’s candidate, indicates a concern over something a number of political watchers have observed for months; that Donald Trump will drag down the chances of other Republican candidates, causing the GOP to not only fail to regain the White House but also to lose control of Congress. The letter reads in part,
We believe that Donald Trump’s divisiveness, recklessness, incompetence, and record-breaking unpopularity risk turning this election into a Democratic landslide, and only the immediate shift of all available RNC resources to vulnerable Senate and House races will prevent the GOP from drowning with a Trump-emblazoned anchor around its neck. This should not be a difficult decision, as Donald Trump’s chances of being elected president are evaporating by the day.
A number of experts have said that the 2016 map of Senate races is tough for Republicans, just as the 2014 map was for Democrats. Currently, the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato has the makeup of the new Senate a 47-47 split, with six races rated as “toss-ups.” But recent polls in two of those toss-up states, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, have the Democrat ahead of an incumbent Republican. A third toss-up state, Indiana, shouldn’t be a toss-up at all, it should be solid GOP. But former Democratic Senator Evan Bayh has thrown his hat into the ring, putting that state into play. Sabato already has Democrats picking up two current Republican seats, in Illinois and Wisconsin. The only state where most consider a switch from blue to red in the Senate is a possibility is Nevada, where Harry Reid is retiring, and polls have consistently shown the Republican ahead, although by a very small margin.
Until recently it was believed that the House would remain under Republican control. But growing fears of a Clinton landslide have Republicans worried about the possibility that Trump could turn the congressional map as blue as the electoral map.
The most prominent Republicans who have put their names to the letter are former Sen. Gordon Humphrey of New Hampshire and former Reps. Chris Shays, Vin Weber, and Tom Coleman. Former RNC staffers account for almost 20 more signatures. Politico doesn’t say where the remainder of the signatures come from.
The signers express serious concerns about the statements Trump has been making on the campaign trail, including his praise for foreign leaders such as Vladimir Putin and his attacks on a Gold Star family. They also worry that Trump has been displaying “authoritarian tendencies.”
Those recent outrages have built on his campaign of anger and exclusion, during which he has mocked and offended millions of voters, including the disabled, women, Muslims, immigrants, and minorities. He also has shown dangerous authoritarian tendencies, including threats to ban an entire religion from entering the country, order the military to break the law by torturing prisoners, kill the families of suspected terrorists, track law-abiding Muslim citizens in databases, and use executive orders to implement other illegal and unconstitutional measures.
Politico says the letter is being championed by anti-Trump Republican Andrew Weinstein and others. The draft began circulating early this week and is expected to be sent to Priebus next week. So far there has been no comment from the RNC.
The proverbial tiger the GOP decided to ride over 35 years ago is finally threatening to devour the party from within. Beginning with the campaign of Ronald Reagan, Republicans branched out from their traditional white, suburban, upper-middle-class constituency and brought in the racists, the “poorly educated” and other folks who are now the party’s staunchest supporters. Trump’s voters, like their hero, are nasty, ill-informed, and loud. But it is starting to look like there are not enough of them to carry him to victory. Trump and his people claim they want their country back. A lot of Republicans at the moment would just be happy to get their party back.
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