Yesterday the National Review published an editorial ("Against Trump") and a collection of essays ("A Donald Trump Nomination Would Fundamentally Change the GOP") criticizing Donald Trump. The editorial and some of the essays were composed of standard, inoffensive critiques that are perfectly acceptable within the Republican Party, along the lines of "Trump isn't conservative enough." But several of the essays NR chose to publish in support of its editorial crossed the line that Reagan laid down and that Republican pundits and politicians have almost universally respected until now. Those essays called Trump a racist and a would-be war criminal. And the response of the Republican Party hierarchy was swift. It disassociated itself from the National Review.
It has been obvious for a long time that Trump must be stopped. If he is nominated for the Presidency the Republican Party will be torn apart. Until now conservative pundits have proclaimed and competing candidates have complained only that Trump is not conservative enough, that he is really a liberal, a Democrat, a leftist, and worst of all ... a New Yorker! (Bias alert - I grew up in New York too! As far away from New York City you can be and still be a denizen of the Empire State, but nevertheless as OK as Van Buren!)
My goodness! Not conservative enough! I guess Trump isn't being hard enough on those foreigners! Let's make that wall 100 feet high! And Mexico shouldn't just have to pay for the wall -- that's letting them off easy -- let's force them to decorate it with murals of Zapata bowing gratefully to Trump for allowing them to remain right next to the United States! And Mexicans aren't just rapists and murderers but probably something much much worse ... perhaps they're liberals! And the Muslims -- not only are they forbidden to enter America, but let's erase from the record books the accomplishments of Muhammed Ali and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, which are clearly fictitious. The families of terrorists won't just be killed, they'll be forced to watch reruns of "The Apprentice" until they beg Trump for a job! Finally Obama's birth certificate must not only be changed to finally admit that he was born in Kenya, but must also reflect the obvious fact that he is the unnatural spawn of Saul Alinsky and Reverend Wright!
Put yourself in the shoes of a Trump supporter watching an advertisement sponsored by Jeb! telling you that Trump isn't conservative enough. This milquetoast attack on Trump failed miserably because it was so obviously false. Trump is a convert to conservatism, just as many people are converts to liberalism, evangelism, or vegetarianism. Reagan was a convert to conservatism. Romney was a convert to conservatism -- several times! No-one seriously looks at Donald Trump and says to himself, "Boy, I wish he were more conservative!"
No, folks, the problem is that Trump is a racist, sexist, religiously biased zenophobe. That's not what the Republican Party has stood for historically. Heck, even the worst President we've had over the last century, Warren Harding, supported civil rights for African-Americans and equal rights for women. George W. Bush, as badly as he failed at foreign policy and economic policy (what's left?) couldn't pass a black or brown child without giving them a hug. Conservatism does not have to constitute prejudice.
There is a large pool of voters who are prejudiced, and we have had plenty of politicians in our history who have waded into that pool looking for power -- far too many. Trump dove into that pool and is now jumping around splashing and screaming "Marco Polo -- the Chinese are eating our lunch!" Trump's appeal isn't primarily anger at Washington. His voters aren't people who want to close the national wildlife refuges and give the land back to its original and rightful owners, the ranchers who lawfully terrorized and drove off the Indians and homesteaders. Nope, Trump supporters are people who think that Mexicans are criminally inclined, that Islam is a false religion, that women should be judged primarily by their appearance, and that any black man who does not defer to them and who aspires to the office of the Presidency is not qualified under Constitution, and once in office does not deserve to be treated with respect.
This is why Republican leaders and opinion-makers must oppose Trump. It's time -- right now, before the Iowa caucuses -- for the Republican Party and its candidates to tell racist voters to leave, like Hubert Humphrey did in 1948. As Strom Thurmond led the Dixiecrats out of the Democratic National Convention, Humphrey stood at the podium shouting "Let them go! Let them go!" It's time for the Republican Party to let them go. The Party leadership shouldn't have cut ties with the National Review. It should thank them for taking a courageous position that is necessary to save the Republican Party.