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GOP: Damned if They Embrace Trump, Damned if They Don't

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 22/03/2016 Dave R. Jacobson
REPUBLICAN © kbeis via Getty Images REPUBLICAN

Considered the official divider-in-chief of 2016, he's arguably at war with everyone who isn't an angry white man in America.
That means women, Latinos, African Americans, Muslims, former President George W. Bush, FOX News Anchor Megyn Kelly-- and yes, even the Pope. What's worse, the hostile crowds and the violence he incites at his rallies are exacerbating these clashes and deepening the already intense divisions in our nation.
You guessed it, I'm talking about the one and only, Donald J. Trump.
Since the formation of his campaign back in the summer of 2015, he went from being written off as a hoax to the frontrunner GOP candidate and leader of a brazen movement aimed at ripping apart the fabric of today's Republican Party.
The equivalency of a political volcanic eruption that's scorching lava incinerates anything in its path resembles how Trump's reach has oozed throughout the entire GOP apparatus.
Anyone who is following the 2016 Presidential race knows that Trump is not part of the so-called Republican establishment, its evangelical cohort, the conservative movement or the Tea Party wing of the GOP.
Rather than being confined to one contingent within the Party, he's successfully peeled away slices of each of these factions to amass his coalition of support. It's comprised almost entirely of mad-as-hell, working class and disenfranchised white men who feel marginalized in a culturally, economically and socially modernizing America.
So far, it's largely worked in Trump's favor as he's poised to become the GOP nominee. But, in doing so, he has exploited peoples fears and anxieties by escalating racial tensions, promoting isolationism, reinforcing sexism and preying on Americans' economic insecurities-- all for his own personal gain.
Anything but a conventional candidate, this strategy illuminates how Trump has been singularly focused on running a divide and conquer campaign that's centered on self promotion.
At a time when white males without a college level education are seeing their wages stagnate and increasingly feel left behind by Republicans in Washington, Trump has positioned himself as the only candidate who has the remedy to calm their economic nerves.
The problem for these voters is that Trump has blinded them in much the same way he did to those who were promised big career returns after attending Trump University. Like students of Trump University who got scammed by the billionaire, Trump is following the same fraudulent playbook to take advantage of these angry white men.
Instead of helping these voters, he stands against policies that will directly benefit them.
Whether it's opposing an increase in the minimum wage, enacting lavish tax breaks for the rich and powerful or creating trade wars around the globe, hardly any of Trump's policies will help to lift up this demographic.
And even though such policies are at odds with these voters' own self interest, for reasons that still puzzle most political analysts, they have pledged their unyielding allegiance to Trump.
Because rather than embracing a dialogue around problem-solving and ways to improve Americans' quality of life, Trump has taken the easier route, playing into voters' fears by engaging in a blame game. Instead of prescribing solutions to alleviate the economic unease among these angry white voters, he's created a facade aimed at blurring the lens of which they use to view him.
He's capitalizing on their frustration and is using it to pit Americans against Americans.
It's a strategy focused on pointing the finger at others as the reason for a shrinking middle class and economic uncertainty. And, its leading to the mayhem and increasing violence at Trump's events.
Beyond exploiting these voters' insecurities, Trump is attempting to use his frontrunner position in the race to dictate the rules of the upcoming Republican Party convention. He's even stooped so low as to threaten riots at the upcoming convention should he not win the Party's nomination.
Such tyrannical moves by Trump have managed to turn off many of the Republicans that he'll need to win a general election.
The past two GOP Presidential nominees, Governor Mitt Romney and Senator John McCain, as well as House Speaker Paul Ryan have renounced his hateful rhetoric. Respected thinkers on the right, like conservative blogger Erick Erickson, The Weekly Standard's Editor William Kristol, the National Review's Editorial Board, among others have coalesced around a swelling anyone-but-Trump campaign.
In Republican circles, there's also a growing discussion around the need of a potential third Party candidate to enter the race, should Trump secure the GOP nomination.
Making matters worse, recent exit polling shows that it's not just the Republican Party leaders in Washington who are open to a third Party strategy. It's primary voters in key swing states who would seriously consider a third party candidate, including 29% of primary voting Republicans in Florida, 39% in North Carolina and 45% in Ohio.
Surely such a move would almost certainly guarantee that the GOP would lose the general election.
Many Republicans acknowledge that such a loss is plausible. Still, they'd prefer it over Trump becoming the sole standard bearer of the conservative and mainstream Republican movement.
Either way, the GOP is damned if they embrace Trump and damned if they don't. Both options are devastating to the Republican Party's brand, but at least the later option would help detach the supposed family values-aligned Party from the poisonous and barbaric style campaign that Trump's has become.

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