Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) unleashed an astounding attack on Donald Trump on national TV the other day, faulting the Republican front-runner for fueling the party’s poor showing among Hispanics and stating bluntly the billionaire businessman ought to be kicked out of the GOP.
In so doing, he provided the perfect case-in-point of why voters are backing Trump in the first place.
Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, listens during the annual Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., on Monday, April 27, 2015. Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
What part of “the status quo has got to go” messaging of this current campaign trail did Graham miss? He represents a class of politicians the voters are tired of hearing, the same type who’s fueling this campaign season’s unstated “insider-out, outsider-in” phenomenon.
Graham said of Trump: “He took our [party’s] problems in 2012 with Hispanics and made them far worse by espousing forced deportation. Looking back, we should have basically kicked him out of the party.”
Put aside for the moment the line of logic Graham is suggesting here – that Republicans ought to consider immigration policy a political issue first, and matter of national security, second. Even CNN host Wolf Blitzer picked up on the other curious facet of Graham’s assertion, asking him to explain: Just how in the heck would you have accomplished that?
Graham – who apparently goes by the vaulted titles of Keeper of the GOP Key and Grand Watchdog of the Party Member List – responded thusly: True Republicans could have banded together to fight Trump and in so doing, driven him from the party. Or, in his words: “We could all [have] ganged up and [do] what we’re doing now.”
The problem, of course, with that viewpoint is it’s not working. The gang’s all ganged. Trump has been fighting off media scorn, Republican Party derision and presidential primary contender attacks for months – partly by going on the offense, partly by swatting on the defense with a playbook that seems to return 10 times the insult. And newsflash: He’s winning.
So taking to national television to boldly proclaim that kicking the front-runner Republican primary presidential candidate out of the Republican Party is the direction the Republican Party ought to go is not only ineffective, because it fails to take into account the millions of voters who support Trump. It’s also outrageously elitist.
Graham’s remarks underscore why Republicans hate the Republican Party in power right now – because the very people who’ve corrupted the conservative message by deal-making to death with Democrats are now trying to paint themselves as not just defenders of the GOP, but definers of what constitutes a GOPer. National Review tried it, with a full-blown assault of letters from those at the supposed forefront of Republican politics pointing out why the Donald just won’t do. Mitt Romney, twice-failed presidential candidate, tried it with a nasty verbal press conference that rocked the national media and included such phrases as “Trump is a phony, a fraud,” and Trump is a “bully,” and Trump offers the nation little more than “absurd third-grade theatrics.”
Yet in the days that followed, voters and Trump supporters said: We don’t care.
Trump may not be the best candidate for the White House job. He may not be the best candidate for the Republican Party to fight off what’s sure to be a savage campaign battle against Hillary Clinton. But note to Graham and others who share and seek to spread his viewpoint: Enough already.
Like Obama with guns, who surges sales every time he addresses the nation post-shooting and touts the need for more Second Amendment crackdowns, the attacks on Trump are only fueling more support for him. If you truly don’t want Trump as president, stop exposing the reasons conservatives are rallying behind him in the first place – because of the elitist “we know better than you” attitude that’s coursing through much of the present-day Republican Party.
Cheryl Chumley, a writer for WND.com and former news writer for The Washington Times, is also the author of the 2016 release, “The Devil in D.C.: Winning Back the Country From the Beast in Washington," available now on Amazon, and of “Police State USA: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality.” She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or through her blog, cherylchumley.blogspot.com, or at Twitter @ckchumley.
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