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COLUMN: Trump is bringing new, bigger problems to the GOP

Kent Bush More Content Now
Kent Bush

Donald Trump is opening an entirely new set of problems for a Republican Party that had plenty of issues before he defeated 15 others to become its presumptive nominee.

I don’t mean that a known and proud philanderer is attacking a woman of one husband based on the fact that she was cheated on in the past. I don’t even mean that he is the first candidate in political history to have a record of supporting the candidate he is running against. I’m not even referring to the fact that Hillary Clinton won’t be as slow to attack his mostly vacuous positions as his fellow Republican challengers were.

The big problem that Donald Trump brings to the party is the number of party leaders who won’t support him in the race. There are always scars after the fight to become the nominee. But even when it has gotten ugly in the past, everyone came together and said, “Look, I would have preferred a different candidate, but at least this person is better than the other party’s candidate.”

Trump can’t even get that tepid support from many in the GOP.

It is funny when people attribute any credibility to national polls because the President is not decided in a national election. The Electoral College ensures that the President is elected in a series of state elections.

So in places like Oklahoma and Kansas, the voters would vote Republican whether the candidate was Donald Trump or Donald Duck.

But in many states that isn’t true. That is furthest from the truth in the dozen or so states that are actually toss-ups each year.

When two former Republican Presidents named Bush and the Bush that was lambasted by Trump throughout the primary tell voters they won’t be supporting the Republican nominee, that carries some weight.

Many others like Senators Lindsey Graham and Ben Sasse also refuse to support Trump.

Graham has said, “I just really believe that the Republican Party has been conned here, and this guy is not a reliable conservative Republican.”

Sasse has even supported the idea of running a “true conservative” third party candidate against Trump and Clinton.

Even Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan refused to immediately support Trump even though he left the door open to come around to that side in the future. Trump’s response has been to have his representatives say Ryan isn’t qualified to be Speaker if he doesn’t support the party’s candidate and threaten to remove him as chairman of the upcoming convention.

Sarah Palin even promised to destroy the Ryan’s political career over the perceived snub of her favorite candidate. Ryan has to hope that she destroys him in the same way she did Barack Obama.

The “Never Trump” campaign wasn’t successful in stopping him from becoming the nominee, but Republicans have a large hill to climb when it comes to their huge recent vote disparities among women and minorities. If Trump is going to win, he either has to get a lot more minority votes than John McCain and Mitt Romney have before him or he is going to have to win a much larger proportion of the white vote.

Trump’s comments during the primary haven’t endeared him to minorities in any way and if he can’t get support within the party that he represents, it isn’t likely that his vote totals there are sufficient to get the job done.

There has never been an election with both parties nominating candidates with such bad popularity numbers in polls. But the Democrats seem to have far less of an issue coalescing behind Clinton. If Trump can’t get the Republican house in order, the Democrats will keep control of the White House and down ballot results could take a big bite out of Republican majorities in Congress.

Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star and can be reached at kent.bush@news-star.com.