The political world has been rocked by a lewd and crude tape in which Donald Trump said that he used his celebrity status to sexually assault women. Trump’s political problems have been worsened further by his bizarre debate performance on October 9, 2016. At that debate, Trump did everything he could to publicly humiliate Hillary Clinton. It was misogyny at it’s worst. The orange hued mogul once again demonstrated that he is a despicable and amoral human being. He shouldn’t be anywhere near the Oval Office.
Republicans around the country reacted by running for the exits. Several prominent members of Congress rescinded their endorsements of Trump and many denounced Trump but maintained their support for him. Post debate polling indicated that the bottom has dropped out for the GOP. A NBC/WSJ poll gave Clinton an 11 point lead and the Democrats a 7 point lead in the race for Congress. It’s the biggest lead for the Democrats in the Congressional race since the government shutdown in October 2013. Even the ever GOP friendly Rasmussen poll gave Clinton a 7 point lead.
Nebraska Republicans reacted with their usual cowardice and continued to try to have it both ways with their radioactive nominee. Deb Fischer and Jeff Fortenberry said they wanted Pence to be at the top of the ticket. Don Bacon took a similar position and requested that Trump no longer be the GOP nominee. However, what they want is a fantasy. Trump will not withdraw as the GOP nominee and Pence will never top the ticket.
Pete Ricketts, Adrian Smith and Jean Stothert all condemned Trump’s crude remarks but they didn’t ask him to step down as the GOP nominee. Moreover, the Ricketts family is still committed to making an eight figure contribution to Trump’s campaign.
The one thing these prominent Nebraska Republicans have in common is that they haven’t said they won’t vote for Trump. They are maintaining the option to vote for this despicable man. The question all of these Republicans have to answer is: Will you vote for Trump? Yes or no. (In contrast, Ben Sasse has said he will write in Mike Pence.)
This sudden, death bed conversion by Ricketts, Fischer, Fortenberry, Smith, Bacon and Stothert rings hollow in light of their continued (albeit silent) support for Trump and their previous support for the GOP nominee. Before these Republicans screwed up the “courage” to finally condemn Trump, they said nothing when Trump attacked immigrants, Hispanics, veterans, POWs, African-Americans and women. These Republicans were silent even when Trump asked the voters to “check out” a sex tape!
This new criticism of Trump is largely motivated by Trump’s declining position in the polls than some new recognition that he is an awful human being. Just before the first debate, Clinton clung to a 1-2 point lead in the polls and Trump had the momentum. Nate Silver only gave Clinton a 51% chance of winning. Trump clearly lost the first debate and lost more ground when he got into a ridiculous feud with a former Miss Universe. By the time of the recent release of the outrageous Trump tape, Clinton had built a 5-6 point lead in the polls and Silver gave her around an 80% chance to win. This makes one wonder: was the tape somehow the last straw for the Nebraska Republicans, or is it the clearly-irreversible lag in polls the *only* straw? Inquiring minds want to know.
It is clear that Trump and the GOP are headed for a catastrophic and historic defeat. Ricketts, Fischer, Fortenberry, Smith, Bacon and Stothert only found the “courage” to criticize the GOP nominee for the first time when it became apparent he was headed for a sure loss. They don’t deserve any plaudits for their opportunistic behavior. (Ben Sasse is the only prominent Nebraska Republican who opposed Trump from the very beginning.) We must not let the voters forget that these cowardly Nebraska Republicans have supported Trump and continue to support him. These politicians have clearly put party before country.
We Democrats are faced with a big opportunity. The GOP is on the run and we’re in a position to elect a Congress controlled by the Democrats along with Hillary Clinton. We could be on the verge of a new era of Progressive reform like the ones we saw during the Franklin Roosevelt, Johnson and Obama Presidencies. We are in a position to improve Obama Care, bring back the first Progressive majority on the Supreme Court since the early 1970s and enact major jobs programs.
We must take nothing for granted. We must work hard to ensure this new era of Progressive reform. These encouraging polls mean nothing if Democrats don’t vote. As President Obama told Democrats: “If we are not running scared until the day after the election, we are going to be making a grave mistake.” Now let’s get to work! Let’s make history! We can do it!