Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Last Call For The First Pebble In The Avalanche

There's been a lot of discussion around here in general about whether or not Republicans will eventually find Trump so distasteful that they will no longer be able to support him in November.  I'm very skeptical of this view, as I believe Trump is an inevitable symptom of a terminal GOP. Eight years Republicans looking the other way on thinly-veiled racism, homophobia, misogyny, Islamophobia and worse, preceded by eight years of Bush/Cheney weaponized partisanship, which in turn was preceded by eight years of Clinton Derangement Syndrome and the rise of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and the FOX News juggernaut, all lead me to believe that Republicans saying that Donald Trump is somehow too much will not happen. Twenty-four years of enabling this behavior is not something soon forgotten, even for "moderate" Republicans.

And then a Republican comes along and maybe, maybe proves me wrong.

U.S. Rep. Richard Hanna, a three-term Republican, said Tuesday he will vote for Hillary Clinton for president because Donald Trump is "unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country." 
Hanna becomes the first Republican member of Congress to publicly declare he will vote for Clinton in November. 
Other GOP members of Congress have refused to endorse Trump, but until now none had promised to vote for his Democratic opponent. 
Hanna announced his decision Tuesday morning in an op-ed and interview exclusive to Syracuse.com. The retiring congressman previously said he could never support Trump, but he had stopped short of backing Clinton. 
Now Hanna's decision could give political cover in the coming weeks to other like-minded GOP members of Congress who have criticized Trump, but have not said whether they would support Clinton. 
Hanna, who represents an eight-county district in Upstate New York, said in an interview that he considered giving his support to Clinton for several months. He decided to take action this week after watching Trump criticize the Muslim American parents of a U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq, he said.

Granted, Rich Hanna is a blue-state Republican in a barely red upstate district who is retiring anyway, so it's not like he's going to cost himself the election.  But...but....if there's anyone who does have enough cover to say "Peace out, screw Trump" it's this guy.

So the question now is this: are there any other Republican members of Congress willing to jump off the SS Trumptanic before it hits the iceberg, or are they going to continue to rearrange the deck chairs?

I still don't have much hope, but it's more than the zero hope I had before. Frankly I think it's far more likely that defecting Republicans will flock to the Libertarian ticket and Gary Johnson just like I expect the Berniebro hardliners to go to Jill Stein, and that we'll see 10-15% of America vote for a third party ticket this year, or that even more likely, both groups will simply not vote at all and give us one of the lowest turnouts in presidential contest history.

What that will mean for the electoral map will come into focus as we get closer to November.

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