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Fall on the sword GOP

Not so much

It’s been morbidly fascinating to watch.
First, full disclosure: I’m a registered Democrat and I skew to the socialist side. I have my gray areas, but I’m mostly shading toward the line in left field.
I’m also a big believer in the lost art of conversation, and my conservative friends and I are able to discuss issues without resorting to shouting. That’s the beauty of living in Johnson County– once you leave the city limits, it isn’t hard to find a Republican. Here at the local level, conservatives and liberals can still find common ground on many issues and work side by side on projects which benefit the community as a whole.
I suppose that’s why I feel almost sorry for my friends in the GOP.
It should have been the perfect storm for the Republican Party.
President Barack Obama gave them two terms of frustration– no huge scandals, just two cute kids and a slowly-growing economy.
Other than the bipartisan Affordable Health Care Act, the Grand Old Party didn’t have much in the way of piñata material.
But there it was on the horizon– the upcoming presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, probably the only person in the world Republicans currently love to hate more than President Obama.
Obama at least has been presidential– Republicans may not have agreed with many (any?) of his positions and they have effectively prevented a lot of things from moving across his desk in the White House, but he’s been a saint compared to the last Democrat to hold the highest office.
A little indecisive or timid in relating his foreign policy, but other than a loopy-looking jump shot and a few cigarettes, Obama has been coated in a non-stick surface.
But Hillary Clinton?
The presumptive Democrat nominee should have been the biggest Christmas present in the world for the GOP.
Married to the adulterous former leader of the free world, Hillary Clinton carried enough baggage into the 2016 presidential campaign to weigh down a pack of camels, and she faced an unexpected primary challenge from a cantankerous independent who almost stole the nomination.
What more could the GOP ask for?
Here was the opportunity to seize control, to move the conservative agenda forward, to tack down the stakes on the big tent again.
And what did they do with it?
They let a sheep dip in wolf’s clothing run away with the nomination.
The GOP had the perfect candidate in John Kasich, the articulate, moderate governor of Ohio, who likely could have peeled away some of those desperately-needed swing votes.
Instead, they are stuck with the political equivalent of Carrot Top, Donald Trump.
The insurgent campaigns of Trump and Bernie Sanders were representative of a deep discord in America– a sense of disconnection between the teeming masses and those in charge of running the country.
But with Sanders, you knew what you were getting– a sharp turn to the left domestically.
With Trump, well, there’s apparently no telling where his GPS would take the nation.
It’s certainly conceivable that Trump could win it all, although it’s hard to imagine that his presidency would benefit anyone other than late night talk show hosts and comedians in general.
On the one hand, he’s been an energizing force for the GOP, which urgently needs to expand its base beyond an aging, white and overwhelmingly male population.
But on the other hand, Trump has already revealed himself to be wildly inaccurate and ruthlessly, unapologetically mean. He hasn’t exactly endeared himself to the fastest-growing segments of the American voting public.
When Trump secured enough delegates for the GOP nomination, I couldn’t help but wonder what it all meant for the Republican Party moving forward. If Trump loses, will the GOP be able to just reshuffle the deck and deal out another hand, hoping for a better card to turn up?
Even more interesting, perhaps scary, what if he wins?
It’s not hard to envision President Trump in a Stephen King novel, emerging from the Oval Office to proudly announce “the missiles are in the air.”
Republicans are in a tough spot.
They were so close.
Now they’re watching as an inked-up juvenile delinquent with a stud in his tongue takes their daughter to prom.
And there’s not a lot they can do about it.