Yesterday was another interesting day in American politics, as Secretary of State Clinton was giving a speech taking apart Donald Trump, House Speaker Ryan succumbed to the Republican political disease and became the latest Republican leader to announce that he would support Donald Trump in the general election.
The rush of Republican leaders to endorse Trump has been breathtaking. The same man ,who many called a threat to the Republic is now someone that these politicians can now support to achieve the highest post in the United States. Of course, why they have been doing it is really all too clear- self-preservation. The single strongest instinct of a politician is self-preservation. These Republicans fear that if they do not fall into line, Trump’s supporters will take retribution and they will be voted out of office. In today’s highly partisan world the thought of supported a Democrat is unthinkable for these Republican politicians despite the many dangers that a Trump Presidency could bring. I must admit I did think that Rep Ryan would hold out longer and extract some concessions from Trump on issues of substance- but I guess…
There are two exceptions to those Republican who has slovenly thrown in their support for Trump- former Presidents and the largely Jewish neo conservative intellectuals of the party. The former Presidents Bush as well as the 2012 contender Romney are not now, nor will they be in the future running for office, so they have the luxury of being men of principle and state they will not support a man who is totally unqualified to be President and who could be dangerous to the United States and the world.
I have to believe that the neo cons could not divorce their sense of Jewishness from the potential threat that Trump presents. While no one is claiming that Trump is anti-semitic, the same thing cannot be said for his supporters. Supporters he refuses to repudiate. More important, however, Trumps rhetoric toward other ethnic groups whether Hispanic or Muslim should be making the hair of any Jew involved in the public sphere stand up on the back of their necks. As one listens to Trump, it is easy to imagine another time, 80 years ago when another demagogue came to power in a democracy. He was voted into power by the German people. Not once have Jews asked How is that possible? How did the German people not know? How could they elect someone who spew hatred? If you want to know the answer to we only have to look at events in the US these last months, and maybe more importantly, these past few weeks, as one Republican politician after another fell into line supporting the most dangerous major party candidate for the Presidency in the US history.
One final note, support for Trump has grown in Israel thanks to the support of Yisrael Hayom, the paper controlled by Sheldon Adelson- now an avowed Trump supporters. That being said as a right leaning friend who I had lunch with this week said. We know what Hilary will be like and it might not be great for Israel but its not likely to be too bad either. Trump adds a level of danger to the equation – a level of uncertainty that Israel cannot afford.