Since it became clear that Donald Trump would be the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, some Republicans have worried that his brash style and abrasive comments amount Muslims and Mexicans could lead to a defeat so profound the party itself could come to an end.
That worry is real, but if it happens, the blame won’t belong to Trump. He’s who he is. The question now becomes: What is the Republican Party?
That question sounded loudly as Trump made comments about the mother and father of a Muslim U.S. Army captain who died in Iraq. The soldier’s father, Khizr Khan, gave a speech at the Democratic convention targeting Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigrants. Trump responded by dismissing Khan’s complaint and implied that Khan’s wife did not speak at the convention because she was forbidden by Muslim custom.
On Monday, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and several other Republican senators facing re-election criticized Trump’s comments. But those responses contrast with Republican congressional leaders who have not taken a strong stand against Trump’s statements on Muslims.
Trump may well lose – his post convention bump in the polls has already disappeared – but the Republican Party can still win by standing up for all Americans, especially those who have lost a son or daughter who was serving in the U.S. military.
In this case, too many party leaders are doing more ducking than standing.