The candidate does not have the temperament to be president. Do you want that finger on the nuclear button? And just look at the record, one of deceit, possible criminal activity, and I won’t even get into the private list of adultery and money shenanigans.
These are my one-size-fits-all talking points for our two major presidential campaigns. The accusations work perfectly to describe either Hillary or Trump. (Those are good shorthand names not to confuse.) Get out the mud, crank up the outrage and throw those epithets. But for all the billions spent, the bromides unleased in speeches, and the circus of the conventions, let us be perfectly honest: you have already made up your mind. If you’re a Texan you probably will make lots of noise, mostly about how bad the opposition candidate is, and you probably won’t vote. All hate and no cattle.
Here’s the problem: you really can’t stand either candidate, but one is your party’s nominee, and you’ve got to go through mental gymnastics to sooth your soul. How to rationalize, how to spin, your selection, so that you won’t feel like you sold out? An example: you really liked Ted Cruz, and really hate Donald Trump. You thought evil thoughts about that bragging, arrogant clown, but now Trump is your party’s nominee. Yes, that successful business tycoon whose few bankruptcies are easily outweighed by his shrewd negotiations, the many jobs he’s created, including that of food taster. Besides, anyone but Hillary. Or, you backed Bernie Sanders, and can’t stand Hillary, that scheming, overachieving witch, who lied, cheated and collected blood money from Arab dictators to get to the top. But Bernie is history, and you are left with your party’s only nominee, Hillary, that crafty, brilliant and experienced diplomat who will be our first female president, and about time.
Either way with either candidate, don’t feel special that you have betrayed your principles in the name of winning. It’s done all the time. Let’s take Ted Cruz, so unpopular with his fellow senators who don’t miss him (he was gone from February to June) that even his best friends don’t like him. Cruz has ripped Trump as narcissist and a bully. “This man is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies … in a pattern that is straight out of a psychology text book, he accuses everyone of lying . . . Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute he believes it … the man is utterly amoral.”
As for Trump vs. Cruz, the Donald referenced a report from that bastion of responsible journalism, the National Enquirer, (“Martians Eat the Washington Monument!”) which had identified Rafael Cruz, Ted’s father, in a photo with Lee Harvey Oswald months prior to the JFK assassination. It’s going to take some making up for Cruz to support Trump, but what you bet that happens? Same for Carly Fiorina, who said about Trump: “He does not represent me, he does not represent our party, and I do not think he can be our nominee.” Ah, but Trump about Fiorina: “She had the one good debate, she went up and then she dropped like a rock, and she never resonated with the people. So I mean, Carly’s not going to do the trick.” Another time he said, while watching her on TV: “Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
In March, Marco Rubio dismissed Trump as a “con artist” and “the most vulgar person ever to aspire to the presidency.” Rubio also criticized Trump’s physical features: “You know what they say about men with small hands … You can’t trust them.” In turn, Trump mocked the Florida senator as “Little Marco” and poked fun at his tendency to sweat on the debate stage and drink lots of water. Yet 180 degrees later, the Florida senator said he’ll not only vote for Trump, he’d be willing to speak on his behalf at the GOP National Convention this summer. And he didn’t rule out the possibility of serving in a Trump administration.
Some high-profile party members have said they will pass up the convention entirely. Then there is our former governor, Rick (Oops) Perry. He was the first prominent GOPer to publicly criticize Trump and question his conservative credentials, calling his candidacy a “cancer on conservatism.” How things have changed. This from Perry: “He is not a perfect man. But what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people, and he will listen to them. He is one of the most talented people who has ever run for the president I have ever seen.” There are more prominent Republicans who have changed their tune, going from “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog” to “Stand By Your Man.” Their about-faces are “for the good of the party,” or, “I will support my party’s nominee.” John F. Kennedy once said, “Sometimes party loyalty asks too much.” Not for these chameleons.
Democrats have it much easier, since the only opposition was from supporters of Bernie Sanders, and they’re on summer vacation from high school. But for Americans who find themselves deciding between being hanged or shot, rationalization is hard. So Trump supporters, try these out in the mirror with a straight face: Good walls make good neighbors. Would you want YOUR taxes made public? His former wives say he was the best ex they ever had. For reluctant supporters of Hillary, drop these bon mots in conversation or use them as bumper stickers: Females for Emails. Take the T out of Trump. I’d rather be baking cookies.
Simply think of one reason to justify the spin in your spine. Your children will be proud.
Ashby spins at firstname.lastname@example.org