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Republicans may throw away the presidency

Posted: Monday, May 2, 2016 | E.W. Jackson | Politics

“Never look a gift horse in the mouth,” or so the saying goes. If that applies to elephants as well, then Republicans have either never heard it, or they do not understand it.

They have been given a gift. The Democrats are offering voters a choice between an old socialist and a former secretary of state who will probably be indicted. And surely the American people would not elect a woman who would be taking the oath of office as a convicted felon or a man who thinks the Soviet Union was a vacation paradise and that America would be better as a union of socialist states.

Yet Republicans, skilled at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, are not only looking the gift elephant in the mouth, they are also pulling its teeth while feeding the jackass. It is political suicide for Republicans to dedicate themselves to the destruction of Donald Trump’s candidacy or to the destruction of each other. Not only has the strategy historically not worked, but it has backfired on every candidate who has tried it. The latest apoplexy over Donald Trump, the National Review broadside, has proved to be another failed attempt to bring the billionaire down, as he has surged since the piece was released.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not a Trump supporter; I have endorsed Ted Cruz for the Republican nomination. However, if we can believe the polls, and I do hope they are wrong, Senator Cruz has lost ground in Iowa since his attacks on Trump started. Marco Rubio has lost ground since he began attacking Cruz, and Chris Christie has gained nothing from attacking Rubio. The “eat your own” approach is not working.

Admittedly, Trump is a unique political phenomenon. He recently opined that if he shot someone in Times Square, it would not cost him a single vote. And considering the fact that his popularity hasn’t taken a hit since he made that ridiculous statement, he may be right. Therefore, one can conclude that counterattacks against Trump are ineffective and counterproductive.

I am not without personal experience in this regard. When I ran for lieutenant governor of Virginia, I was one of seven candidates seeking the nomination, and we all stayed in the race until the convention. As one would expect during any campaign, various arguments broke out and attacks were hurled back and forth along the way. But I refused to take part in that. I was friendly and respectful of all my fellow candidates, and I treated their staff and supporters that way, too. It wasn’t a political strategy so much as a commitment to show Christian character.

In the first round of voting on the convention floor, I was the top vote-getter by 2 to 1 over my nearest competitor. Though that did not guarantee me the nomination, as my colleagues dropped out of the race, neither they nor their supporters had any reason for malice toward me. I had never said a negative word about another candidate. I received key endorsements, and many delegates joined the Jackson camp. So contrary to “conventional” wisdom, which says the top vote-getter weakens with each round, I grew stronger.

A victorious nominee must try to unite everyone, including his former competitors, and that is difficult to accomplish if he’s spent previous months turning his challengers into enemies.

Yet Republicans persist in political fratricide. When I ran for office, many establishment Republicans, including the sitting Republican lieutenant governor, did everything within their power to damage our party’s ticket. They called us “extreme” and even encouraged their supporters to work for the Democratic ticket instead. They got their wish; we lost. And the Commonwealth of Virginia has suffered for it.

So the question now is whether Republicans would rather have America suffer through four to eight years of another Democratic president than see the election of a Republican who is not their choice. The Democratic Party has become morally bankrupt, politically corrupt, and socially extreme. It is hostile toward Bible-believing Christians and disdainful of God. The party is composed of racial demagogues who are more interested in their political security than in America’s national security. They are elitists and egotists who believe that they alone, using government for cover, have the right to confiscate from those they deem unworthy and give to others of their choosing. Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat should not receive support over any possible Republican nominee.

In short, Republicans need to stop damaging each other, or will they lose the presidency and ultimately the country. Eight more years of an Obama-like administration, and America will cross the Rubicon,. Then there will be no turning back.

More is at stake than the personal ambition of any candidate, including the one I support. The country is in peril. This election year is about saving America from the evils the Democratic Party has foisted on our country. Republican candidates would do well to stop attacking each other and instead attack the issues. Start painting a vision for America’s future in contrast to the darkness that will increase with another Democratic president.

The elephant is in ascendancy in America because the jackass has run the country into the ground. Republicans should be careful not to change the likely outcome by cannibalizing one another.