By: Jamie Steidle
The question this election year is: “Can an outsider become the frontrunner of the Republican party?”
If you were to ask anyone this same question last year, when Donald J. Trump first announced his candidacy in June, 2015, no one would have said that he’d even have a chance. He was not the outsider everyone wanted. In fact, most Republicans viewed him negatively. He was a joke candidate.
After his comments on Mexico; on banning Muslims from entering the country; after he talked about committing war crimes, killing terrorist’s families; it’s astonishing to think that he’s still standing and that he’s winning.
It’s astounding, after Super Tuesday’s numbers came in showing just how serious a candidate Trump is, to think that a country can back someone who is so flippantly hateful. How can he be winning? Republicans and Democrats alike are confused and bewildered. The Republican establishment is scrambling to find a way to tackle the issue of Trump to trump Trump; but this seems more unlikely as time passes.
The reason Trump is winning is because of anger and frustration. And no one fuels these frustrations like a self-proclaimed straight-talker—a man who proves that sometimes it is best to be the loudest person in the room.
People are upset. They’re tired of politicians. They’re tired of being lied to. They want an outsider who they believe in and unfortunately that man is someone who fails to outright disavow a former grand wizard of the KKK: “I know nothing about David Duke; I know nothing about white supremacists.” He does know who he is and as John Oliver noted: “With an answer like that, you are either racist or you are pretending to be, and at some point, there is no difference there.”
Then today comes Mitt Romney, 2012’s Republican frontrunner. Standing in front of a large audience, Romney said of Trump:
“His domestic policies would lead to recession. His foreign policies would make America and the world less safe. He has neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president and his personal qualities would mean that America would cease to be a shining city on a hill.”
Everyone’s asking the question: Are Romney’s remarks too late? Are they going to have the opposite effects, garnering more votes for Trump? I think these are the wrong questions.
When anyone stands up against what they see as a threat to their country, their values, the beliefs they hold; the question shouldn’t be about how effective their words are, the question should be about the importance of the words themselves or they've spoken. At this point, we should focus on values and not on whether or not these values can topple a candidate.
Romney showed his values today:
“Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics. You know, we have long referred to him as “The Donald.” He’s the only person in the entire country to whom we have added an article before his name, and it was not because he had attributes we admired.
"Now, imagine your children and your grandchildren acting the way he does. Would you welcome that? Haven’t we seen before what happens when people in prominent positions fail the basic responsibility of honorable conduct? We have. And it always injures our families and our country. Watch, by the way, how he responds to my speech today."
We should thank Romney. I’m sure that after Romney’s loss in 2012, the last thing he’d want to do is pick a fight with a candidate who tweets like an upset “third grader.” A candidate who makes me wonder:
In a society that has demonized bullies in school and online, how can we elect a bully as president?
I applaud Mitt Romney for taking on Trump, even if it is too late. It’s a sign of character, something that has been missing this election season.
Good job, Mitt!