A tweet this morning by pollster Frank Luntz did not sit well with me. “The GOP must unite before November 8th, or lose until (at least) 2020.”
Of course, Luntz is not the only one calling for unity. Today’s Twitter feed is brimming with demands for voters to rally behind Trump, and for former candidates like Ted Cruz and John Kasich to endorse him. Prominent members of the GOP are noticeably absent from this year’s convention, and the Trump supporters see it as a betrayal to the Party. I am quite certain that if Trump loses to Hillary Clinton in November, the GOP members who did not support his candidacy will be vilified.
My problem with all this is twofold. First, every poll since the beginning of the primary season has shown Trump losing to Hillary Clinton. He is not a strong candidate. If you nominate someone who is unlikely to win, you cannot blame others for the loss. His success in the primary is not the result of his exceptional knowledge of Government and domestic and foreign policy; he is actually seriously deficient in these areas. He won because, as a businessman, he recognizes the importance of “branding” and he did it very well. He gave himself an effective edge over the other candidates by harnessing the anger of the voters and giving them a voice. He played to his strengths; celebrity and grandiosity, and it worked for him. However, his strategic victory does not make him a more credible candidate or any more likely to beat Hillary Clinton. Some voters chose to ignore the polls and vote for him in the primaries, and they may very well pay the price in November.
Second, no one has the right to “shame” anyone into endorsing or voting for a candidate they loathe. As free citizens, we all have a right to our own opinion and our vote is just that, “ours”. Just because we identify with a certain political party doesn’t mean we have to like or support every candidate within the party. Trump’s disapproval rating ranks right up there with Hillary Clinton, and the #NeverTrump movement made it abundantly clear that many in the GOP were aggrieved at his candidacy. If you know there is strong opposition out there, then don’t be surprised by it. We are all called to follow our conscience, and that is ultimately the determining factor in how we choose to mark our ballot.
This primary season started off with seventeen candidates for the nomination. The voters had a plethora of talent to choose from, and in my humble opinion, they chose poorly.