Peter Cavanaugh

The whole world is watching

With a New Year comes new rules. Push must become shove.

As the first presidential primaries are drawing near with actual votes about to replace polling predictions, the Republican Party faces a nightmare.

While proudly reaffirming my own progressive perspectives, I passionately believe a clueless clown should not be allowed to shred the heart of the Grand Old Party. There is far too much at stake.

Donald Trump’s powerful, seemingly irreversible hold on roughly one-third of those who claim Republican allegiance is terrifyingly primal - appealing to the most base instincts of supporters. He is the meanest monkey on the mountain - furiously flailing his fists, beating his chest, and grunting for glory.

“I am king,” “I kill,” “be free,” “worship me.”

While it should be reassuring this scenario still leaves a rational, responsible majority of Republicans securely enjoying two-to-one dominance over the wild-eyed crazies, such opposition could well be fatally fragmented by the quantity of candidates taking precedence over the quality of their convictions.

Herein amiably offered for purposes of internal party reflection, although written in another era under different circumstances, these time-treasured words of a true American Patriot come to mind:

“We must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Benjamin Franklin (July 4, 1776) Upon the signing of The Declaration of Independence.

Although outside looking in, it seems abundantly evident after all those months of boorish behavior, vile temperament, and outlandish utterances that Donald Trump is not remotely worthy of trust.

Imagine his fat, fatuous finger fixed on our nuclear trigger. Recalling that earlier mountain monkey metaphor, we might as well put a chimp in charge.

It would be a shame and horror if Trump should ever triumph over divided opposition and become the official 2016 Republican candidate for our American presidency. Merely because worthy contenders simply couldn’t get out of each others’ way - ironically offering a tragic demonstration of the perils of self-interest aligned against a common good.

Could a Tea Party coalition come to the rescue? Dennis Patrick was once a prominent aide in the Reagan administration and is a former head of the Federal Communications Commission. He summarizes the plight faced by many as follows: “Many of my colleagues from the Reagan administration would have a hard time pulling the lever for Trump. We weren’t just Republicans, we were conservatives. It is very difficult to square any principled theory of conservative governance with much of what Trump says.”

Way over on the left, my old friend Michael Moore discussed a meeting he once had with “The Donald” 17 years ago while waiting to mutually appear on a national talk show. The program’s producer pulled Mike aside and informed him that Trump was “nervous” about being on the air with the famously confrontational documentary director and requested that Mr. Trump be put at ease.

Michael was happy to do so as he and Donald privately spoke behind the scenes. In a public letter last week to Trump, Moore wrote: “I was struck by how you, a self-described tough guy from Queens, seemed like such a ‘fraidy-cat. You and I went on to do the show. I didn’t pull your hair. I didn’t put gum on your seat. All I remember thinking was, ‘What a wuss!’”

Ultimately, it now appears that Donald Trump could well do even more damage to the Republican Party by running as - rather than against - its nominee.

Should Hillary Clinton become our 45th president, I would infinitely prefer her winning against admirable opposition than defeating an obnoxious oaf. There’s but marginal merit in vanquishing vermin.

As an American, I honestly believe we’re better than that.

The whole world is watching.