On October 7th, 2016, The Washington Post released a tape in which Donald Trump made aggressive sexual remarks about women. With statements asserting “when you’re a star, they let you do it,” and that because of this he could “grab them by the p***y,” Donald Trump has shown a far darker side to his already sinister image. His disrespect for women and glorification of sexual assault have led to a mass exodus of Republican elected officials, with Reps. Joe Heck (NV-3), Mia Love (UT-4), Barbara Comstock (VA-10), Jason Chaffetz (UT-3), Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Crapo (R-ID), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Senate Republican Conference Chair John Thune (R-SD) all either unendorsing the nominee or asking that he be replaced immediately.
While this may seem like a moment of sheer panic for the GOP, this may actually be the moment where Republicans across the country can unequivocally banish Trumpism from the Party of Lincoln and Reagan. When Trump clinched the nomination in early May, I and many others felt resigned to vote for him in the hope that taking the mantle of those before him would create a campaign turnaround. Controversy after controversy later, I now see this as our chance to save us from ourselves.
In 2012, Gov. Mitt Romney caught a great deal of flak for describing his hiring process as consisting of “binders full of women”—that is, he had binders full of résumés of qualified, accomplished women—in a soundbite that seemed to torpedo his candidacy. Four years later, the ardently #NeverTrump Romney fired back at Trump’s abhorrent remarks both in a statement, and at a campaign rally for Rep. Joe Heck, in which he offered a stunning rebuttal of Trumpism itself. Governor Romney declared, “We love all the people in this country regardless of gender or ethnicity or religion,” and that he hopes that “we will come together as a nation and stand as firmly as we possibly can for the principles that have made us the shining city on a hill.” These two very different incarnations of Republican Party nominees are exactly why I am hopeful in light of the recent campaign chaos. For me, the time has ultimately come to completely purge Trumpism from the party. The chorus of condemnation from every corner of the Republican Party should now be seen as Donald Trump’s swan song.
With his collapse all but inevitable, this latest mass exodus from the tar pit of Trumpism is only the beginning of the process of reconstruction that may hopefully serve to reignite the principles that Governor Romney and many other reluctant Trump-backing GOPers hold dear. Now that their calls to return to Reaganesque optimism are no longer being drowned out by the primal screams of Trump loyalists, the party must now begin the difficult-but-necessary process of rebuilding. We are a big-tent party that wants to create equality of opportunity for all with an inclusive message, which is why a movement built around one man’s cult of personality never stood a chance against a party of ideas.
The stain of Trumpism is one that will be difficult to expunge, but the growing list of honorable people like Carly Fiorina, Gov. Jeb Bush, and Mike Lee gives me hope that we will save ourselves from the scourge of Donald Trump.The old saying goes that the night is always darkest just before the dawn, but for the GOP in a post-Trump world, there is cause for celebration that once Trump collapses either at the hands of the RNC or on Nov. 8th, the toxicity of Trumpism will be effaced by the “ideas party” that the GOP has always been.
I am confident that Trump’s campaign implosion will save the GOP from itself, and for all Republicans who have stumbled and held their noses throughout this raucous election season, it is time to show everyone else that in terms of bringing conservative solutions to the real problems facing our nation, they ain’t seen nothing yet.