Four Republican members of Congress called for Donald Trump to drop out of the 2016 Election. These dissenting members, along with others, are now quietly stating they will vote for their nominee.
There are members of Congress who are struggling to gain Republican support for re-election. This strife has grown more difficult since the release of their presidential nominee’s crude locker-room talk video. This is in addition to the controversy that has followed him throughout his campaign. Members running for re-election need the votes of Trump supporters to win their state elections.
The candidate is not making things easy for Republicans, as he continues to attack Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. On October 12, the presidential nominee told Florida supporters that Ryan had a “sinister deal going on.” This was due to Ryan’s refusal to continue assisting Trump with his campaign. This feud is contributing to the Republican Party predicament.
Ryan told donors the media misinterpreted statements made in his private conference call to House Republicans. He stated, on the call, that he would be focusing on congressional races but that members of the House were free to help Trump with voter turnout.
Meanwhile, Trump was using Twitter and his campaign events to vent to his followers. He has created a new fear among Republicans by describing himself as “unshackled,” along with the new allegations of his mistreated women. This is in addition to his reported behavior at a Miss Teen USA pageant. Will he attack local Republican legislatures if he viewed them as adversaries?
Dissenting Republicans decided quietly supporting Trump would appease his strong core followers. Members of Congress are caught between candidates that are polar opposites; voters believe one nominee is obviously unsuited to lead the nation and others state they detest the Democratic nominee. Vulnerable Republicans (those running for re-election) have to evaluate the perspectives of their voting base and be seen as individuals, not tied to Trump by any way other than the party line.
Representative Bradley Byrne said, clearly Trump is not fit to lead America but added that he was a Republican and does not vote Democrat.
Senator John Thune was the only Republican leader in Congress to reject the presidential nominee and suggest the party only support vice presidential nominee, Mike Pence. In an interview three days later, the senator stated that he will vote for his party’s candidate.
Senator Deb Fischer stated, after the release of the locker-room talk video, that the GOP nominee should step down and allow Pence to take his place. Nevertheless, when he did not drop out, the dissenting Republican said she respected Trump for his decision and will vote for him on November 8.
Seven-term Republican legislature, Scott Garrett, also requested that Pence replace the presidential candidate. A few days later, he chose his words cautiously when he said, if Trump is the party’s nominee on Election Day, he will vote for him.
The Republican’s quiet return of support for the presidential candidate has not redeemed the deserters, in the eyes of his strongest advocates. Lonnie Lee Mixon II, from Alabama, posted on Rep. Byrne’s Facebook page,
If you are not FOR Mr. Trump, then you must be AGAINST Mr. Trump.
It was reported that Don Bacon, who is running for representative of Nebraska, stated the video of the candidate’s locker-room talk was disgraceful and proved that Trump was not qualified to be president. During a later debate, the Republican stated he has not ruled out voting for the GOP nominee.
Former congressman Thomas M. Davis III, believes the dissenting Republicans are furthering the problems created by Trump. He says the uncertainty within the party will discourage turnout at the polls.
Publicly disowning and running from him creates havoc. I understand individual decisions, but when this happens institutionally, it hurts.
Two-thirds of the party is still quietly backing the presidential nominee. Furthermore, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, released a survey showing Nevada Republicans were chastising Rep. Joe Heck for deciding not to encourage the presidential candidate.
Trump’s own words, referring to the election as rigged by special interest groups, does more to discourage voting than encourage people to show up at the polls. Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian, says that a presidential candidate has not incited doubt on the government and democratic process since the Civil War.
By Jeanette Smith
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