Things are happening fast in the U.S. political arena, almost too fast for comprehension. I half expected to wake to news this morning that Donald Trump had dropped out of the presidential race, but, alas, that is not the way narcissists and bullies roll. He's still running, he will not quit - and the fun continues!
There has been a sizable contingent of Republicans who have stood up to the bully since almost day-one of his campaign. Many in that force for sanity are now calling on him to drop out of the race. These hardcore Republican anti-Trumpers from the U.S. Senate include the likes of Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona who preferred spending time with his lawnmower over supporting Trump, and Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska whose druthers included taking his children on a tour of their home state to watch dumpster fires. Other Republican Senate defectors from the get-go include Mark Kirk of Illinois, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Ted Cruz's faithful right hand - Senator Mike Lee of Utah.
Nine Republican House members of the current Congress have also been on record as opposed to the Trump candidacy, even before the latest catastrophe landed in the press. For the record, those representatives include Mike Coffman of Colorado, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Fred Upton of Michigan, Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania, Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey, Will Hurd of Texas, John Katko of New York, Erik Paulsen of Minnesota, and Pat Tiberi of Ohio.
Then this week happened and the nation reeled after watching an old tape of the Republican presidential nominee talk of sexually assaulting women and discussing them in lewd and disgusting terms - the worst of which were repeated verbatim in the national press. The emperor was standing on the stage buck naked as the whole world looked on. It was suddenly impossible to minimize his vulgarity, arrogance, or ignorance of common decency. The real Donald Trump was exposed, fully and completely, as a shocked world looked on.
The list of Republican officials eager to climb out of the Trump train wreck began to immediately swell. Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah bailed first, and had, at last count, been followed by an additional ten members of the House of Representatives. Additionally, nine Republican senators quickly joined their five smarter colleagues who had already sworn off of Trump. Senator Kelly Ayotte, who had struggled to regain her political footing all week because of her statement that Trump was "absolutely" a role model for children, had finally had enough - way too much, really. John McCain, who is in a tough reelection fight with a female opponent in Arizona, also publicly dumped Trump. Other senators who were quick to run away from their presidential nominee include Mike Crappo of Idaho, John Thune of South Dakota, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Cory Gardner of Colorado, and Rob Portman of Ohio.
Republican governors Gary Herbert of Utah, Dennis Dauggard of South Dakota, and Robert Bentley of Alabama have also bailed in their support of the controversial candidate.
And then, to frost the cake, Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus announced that the national committee was pulling out of their joint fundraising effort with Donald Trump - an effort labeled the "Trump Victory Fund."
Republican office holders in my home state of Missouri are remaining oddly silent on the Trump situation - with the lone exception being Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri's 2nd congressional district. Wagner, a former State Republican Party chair, is openly disgusted with her party's nominee and calling on him to withdraw from the race. Missouri Republican gubernatorial candidate Eric Greitens is keeping mum on his party's seeming disintegration, as is my congressman, Jason Smith of the 8th district.
But the biggest disappointment has to be our Republican senator, Roy Blunt. Senator Blunt, the patriarch of a family of lobbyists, is in a very tough re-election campaign and very much resembles a Missouri deer caught in the headlights of an approaching mack truck. The normally very pious Blunt, a man who graduated from Southwest Baptist College in Bolivar, Missouri, and later served as the school's President, can't be happy with the image that Donald Trump is blatantly showing to the world - but - Trump is still leading in polls of Missouri, and lots of relatives are depending on Ol' Roy to keep his seat on the government gravy train.
Missouri is home to a bunch of damned deplorables, and nobody knows that better than Roy Blunt. The other rats may be racing down the gangplank and onto the shores of sanity, but not Ol' Roy. He'll stand by his man, thank you very much, and hope the votes are there for another term at the government trough.