The GOP’s Love Affair With Its “Earthquake in a Box”

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The GOP’s Love Affair With Its “Earthquake in a Box”

Breaking up is hard to do and Republicans just can't seem to quit their presumptive presidential candidate.

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Republicans, we know what you’re going through.

Many of us have been in this kind of relationship before: You meet someone new and he or she seems different, exciting, rebellious, maybe even a little dangerous. You get involved. Your friends say, “What do you see in him/her?” And you reply, “Oh, you just don’t know him/her like I do.”

But as the weeks and months go by, you start to realize he/she isn’t just a little dangerous. He/she is a menace. Time to re-evaluate.

As James Hohmann at The Washington Post’s Daily 202 writes, “Many Republicans who initially rallied around Donald Trump after he clinched the nomination are having second thoughts.”

What’s more, Hohmann’s Post colleagues Ed O’Keefe and David Weigel report that, with less than three weeks left before the Republican Party convention, “The candidate, his family and close supporters are expected to play starring roles. So will most top congressional leaders. But many Republicans who want to distance themselves from Trump’s incendiary rhetoric are refusing to attend. Past corporate sponsors such as Ford, General Electric and JPMorgan Chase have declined to participate.”

Bottom line, GOP, your presumptive nominee is the Date from Hell.

Members of the Bush family, including the two ex-presidents, are boycotting. Mitt Romney and John McCain won’t be there and neither will other incumbent senators who are in tough reelection fights this year. So GOP, let’s face facts: A lot of your friends are trying to tell you something about your relationship. In fact, a CNN poll conducted June 16-19 found that 48 percent of Republicans now would prefer a different candidate.

Bottom line, GOP, your presumptive nominee is the Date from Hell. As Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus told Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, Trump has “carved out this idea that he’s this earthquake in a box.” Unfortunately, that leaves the rest of us teetering on the fault line, just above the abyss.

 Killing the Messenger

Like the proverbial bad boyfriend, chaos ensues wherever Trump goes. Now that he’s about to be the party’s standard-bearer, he expects the Republican National Committee to do a lot of the work — “no national committee in recent memory has been called upon to pick up so much operational slack in a general election,” Leibovich writes — and to pick up the check much of the time, too, even though the committee has millions worth of debt and he’s not holding up his end when it comes to fundraising. Trump keeps talking about how much money he has and brags about his get-rich-quick schemes but doesn’t deliver. GOP, before you commit in Cleveland, you really should get a prenup — demand to see his tax returns and his bank statements. Otherwise, trust us, you can’t afford this guy.

And that’s not all. Love has blinded you to his many other faults, GOP. He says one thing, then says the opposite and when he’s called out on it claims he was misrepresented. Never admits a mistake. Makes outrageous accusations. Never seems to read anything that doesn’t have his name in it. Spends too much time with his pals on social media. Constantly and narcissistically talks about himself. Intolerant of others and angry all the time. Never takes responsibility — whenever bad stuff happens it’s always someone else’s fault.

And he keeps wearing that damned baseball cap.

Best to make a clean break, GOP. Run away from this fellow as fast as humanly possible. Leave skidmarks. Maybe you’ll meet someone else. Years from now you’ll be able to laugh about it. And chalk it up as a learning experience.

But you won’t, will you? You wish you knew how to quit him but you keep falling for the con. You think he’s smart because he says he’s rich, hates the same people you hate and makes promises that you love, even though they’ll never be kept and there surely will be tears before bedtime. The “stupid party” that ex-Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal warned about after the 2012 elections, plagued by the nativism, xenophobia and cynicism Trump represents (to slightly paraphrase President Obama’s words in Ottawa this week) has come to pass.

As the great Charlie Pierce recently wrote at Esquire, “Our politics are not supposed to be vulnerable to this kind of abject farce.” But here you are, GOP, stuck in a dead-end relationship with someone who, when all is said and done, may prove to be the very thing that Trump himself so loves to call other people: a loser. You brought it upon yourself through decades of encouraging rage and ignorance, ignoring the realities of economic inequality and social injustice and creating a government and politics of dysfunctional inertia.

And you wonder why you can’t meet a decent guy for once.

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Michael Winship

Michael Winship

Michael Winship, senior writing fellow at Demos and president of the Writers Guild of America-East, was senior writer for Moyers & Company and Bill Moyers’ Journal and is senior writer of BillMoyers.com.

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