Colorado Republicans Flop Like Fishes As Trump Rolls On

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

In the last few days, our local media has turned its attention to the increasingly urgent question of whether local Republicans, from Sen. Cory Gardner all the way down through the ranks of elected officials, would support Donald Trump in the event he wins the Republican nomination for President.

Trump’s insurgent presidential campaign has resulted in perhaps unprecedented division within the Republican Party, even as he rolls to victory after victory in Republican primaries. Certainly Trump’s dominance of the GOP primary so far over the objections of that party’s entire establishment has no precedent we can think of in our lifetimes, and the long-term consequences for that party are difficult to fully comprehend–but very, very significant.

Yesterday, 9NEWS gave us a fairly definitely roundup of Colorado’s federal elected Republicans on the question, with one significant caveat:

None of Colorado’s GOP members of Congress took an anti-Trump stance when asked by 9NEWS whether they would support the billionaire’s insurgent bid for president if he ends up winning the Republican nomination.

National GOP leaders have grown increasingly leery of Trump, with past Republican nominee Mitt Romney going so far as to call the reality-TV star turned politician as a “phony” and a “fraud” who must not become the party’s standard-bearer.

The five Republican members of Congress from Colorado were split along two positions: refusing to answer the hypothetical and saying they would support the eventual GOP nominee.

According to this latest 9NEWS report, Rep. Mike Coffman says he won’t answer a “hypothetical” question since Trump is not yet the nominee. But we’re obliged to note that contradicts what Coffman’s spokesperson told Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman in February when asked the same question:

“Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary?” said campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm. “The answer is obviously yes. [Pols emphasis] And he believes strongly it is going to be Marco Rubio.”

As of today, the informed speculation is whether Marco Rubio will drop out before the March 15 Florida primary, or after he loses his home state to Trump as all the polls show him destined to do. Rubio’s total collapse in the last couple of weeks should have already made this deflection an unacceptable answer to inquiring reporters. But either way, Coffman’s flopping to and fro the biggest political news story of the year is a story all by itself.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

And as 9NEWS continues, surprise! Sen. Cory Gardner is flip-flopping too, after a disastrous interview with the Wall Street Journal last week that became the butt of innumerable weekend jokes:

After being pressed seven times to answer the question by Wall Street Journal, Gardner did say “I will support the Republican nominee” on Friday, saying he didn’t believe Trump would end up with the nomination.

On Monday, Gardner walked that back, telling 9NEWS via email he “will not engage in hypotheticals,” and stating that he believes Marco Rubio is the only person in the race who can prevent Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton from winning the White House.

Gardner’s backpedaling may have something to do with a secretive conference he attended over the weekend at a swanky Georgia resort hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, at which Karl Rove reportedly outlined the GOP establishment’s last-ditch plan to stop Trump. Obviously, if you’re still entertaining any hope of stopping Trump, saying you’re ready to support him if he wins the nomination is not helpful.

Bottom line: if you’re a Republican not on the “Trump Train,” this is a slow-motion train wreck of epic proportions–from which it is not hyperbole to suggest the GOP as we know it may never recover. If you’re a Colorado Democrat, you’re positively gleeful watching this Republican civil war play out, from Donald Trump to Tim Neville.

And it’s only going to get worse/better, folks.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. FrankUnderwood says:

    Today is the first day of the last week of little rubio's campaign for president. Next stop:  Rubio for governor '18!

  2. Davie says:

    Here's the reason Con Man Cory and Mikey are such strong supporters of Rubio.

    Unlike weak-kneed Dummocrats, Marco is unafraid of starting a shooting war with Russia! (Must be the smell of war profits in the morning):

    Rubio's strongest suit appears to be foreign policy, but his neoconservative views should give voters pause. In an October interview about ISIS, for example, he advocated a no-fly zone over Syria that would take down any Russian jets there, too. Asked if he thought a military conflict with Russia would scare the American people, he said, "Sure. But the consequences of not doing anything would scare them even more."

    Let us be clear: war with Russia is the last thing this war-weary nation wants and it was alarming to hear Rubio so cavalierly roll the dice.

    For some reason, a major South Florida paper doesn't think he's fit to be President (nor any of the other candidates, for that matter)

    • Republican 36 says:

      Trump, Cruz and Rubio remind me of a bumper sticker I saw a decade ago. It stated:

                    "Never thought I'd miss Nixon."

      • Early Worm says:

        A long-time independent voter that I know, in her 70's, recently expressed distaste for possibly voting for Hillary. I asked why. She said Hillary reminds her too much of Nixon. I had not heard that before. I am still trying to decide whether it is more of a criticism or a compliment.  

        • FrankUnderwood says:

          I am still trying to decide whether it is more of a criticism or a compliment 

          It's probably a little bit of both. Politics is a blood sport and nice guys do not survive very well in it. Think Jimmy Carter.

          Sadly, what is clearly a vice (e.g., being manipulative and vindictive) can also be a virtue in politics. Provided she's using her "talents" for advancing our agenda. 

      • Davie says:

        Last week, several New York Times reporters exchanged anecdotes about when they first thought the threat of Trump was real. The median date fell in the latter part of 2015. So where was the Republican establishment all this time?

        The answer is simple: living out the Faustian bargain through which which they had long since swapped their political souls for dwindling pieces of Republican turf. Last week, a few GOP professionals surfaced with the truth. Having failed in his effort to raise money from GOP donors to fight Trump from the start, consultant Alex Castellanos wrote: "If our self-indulgent Republican Party establishment had really wanted to prevent a takeover of the GOP, they should not have gorged on political power while they failed to do anything to prevent the decline of the country. Our leaders could have led. They could have done more than say 'no' to Democrats while offering no alternative."

        Veteran strategist Scott Reed remarked: "I'm amazed that people are acting surprised. Trump has been building for months, and the voters are speaking." And media mastermind Mike Murphy stated the obvious — that Trump "would set the party back decades."

        Yet the sustained obliviousness of the GOP elite was truly impressive. The pompous panjandrums of the Wall Street Journal now wax indignant that Donald Trump has jumped the traces of bellicosity, free trade, and privatizing Social Security. Here is the small detail they've missed: The GOP has been offering the embattled middle and working classes tax cuts for the wealthy, wars they don't want, and trade policies which leave them fearful for their jobs. In thrall to a political orthodoxy dear to the donor classes, the Republican establishment has lost touch with the base, believing that rhetorical red meat was enough to satiate the great unwashed.

        While I suspect local and state GOP candidates will survive, although tarnished, I have to wonder if the Republican Party will win the Presidency again in the next decade or two.

  3. bullshit! says:

    It's all great schadenfreude, but…

    What if Trump wins?

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      There is always that risk………..   🙁

      • itlduso says:

        Just on MSNBC was an interview with two FL Democratic male voters.  Both said they would vote for Hillary in the primary, but thought they would vote for Trump in the general in order "to shake up the Republican Party" (?)  A third person interviewed was a Fox News-watching woman who said she would vote for Hillary in the general because Trump is "all about celebrity". 

        I think a Trump nomination would result in a Dem landslide.  But, watching actual voters explain their votes makes me feel like we're playing Russian roulette with the country.

      • Gray in Mountains says:

        Buy gold

    • MichaelBowman says:

      McConnell is reportedly preparing for the worse-case scenario:

       In a stunning report by the New York Times, Republican sources confirm that party leadership is planning to destroy Trump and give Hillary Clinton the win rather than let him have control of the GOP.

      To rally depressed Republicans, McConnell has hatched an unthinkable tactical retreat: Let Hillary Clinton win and focus on maintaining control over the Senate.

      While still hopeful that Mr. Rubio might prevail, Mr. McConnell has begun preparing senators for the prospect of a Trump nomination, assuring them that, if it threatened to harm them in the general election, they could run negative ads about Mr. Trump to create space between him and Republican senators seeking re-election. Mr. McConnell has raised the possibility of treating Mr. Trump’s loss as a given and describing a Republican Senate to voters as a necessary check on a President Hillary Clinton, according to senators at the lunches.

      Did you catch that? Mitch McConnell floated the idea of tanking his party’s own candidate for president over sandwiches at lunch.

      McConnell’s thinking is this: If Republicans accept that Trump will never win the general election, they can devote their energy towards running against Clinton at the senate level. If that sounds insane, then welcome to the Republican Party in 2016.

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        McConnel is such a self-server …

        … Fuck it, nuke the damn party (just help me protect my phoney-baloney job …)

        … a William J. Le Petomane award-winner!

      • BlueCat says:

        A pretty straight line can be drawn from the Southern Strategy of the civil rights era though Reagan's campaign scapegoating "Welfare Queens'", GHW's campaign using Willie Horton to fan the flames of white racial fear of the black man, the GOP's extended freak out over that N word in the WH and encouraging the worst excesses of the most hateful elements on the right to Donald Trump.  

        His over the top anti-Mexican, anti-Muslim, anti-free press, dismissal of facts as media lies, pro-torture, pro-murder of terrorists' family members, anti-objections to hate and hate groups as political correctness, pro-brown shirt assaults on anyone expressing dissent (remember love it or leave it? Now it's love me or suffer the consequences) rhetoric lines right up with where all their strategy since the 60s has been leading.

        He's appealing to exactly the element they've been targeting for all these decades, pushing exactly the same buttons only without the fig leaf and with a little populism thrown in. Why on earth are they shocked that the lowest common denominator voting block they've been nurturing has arrived at the destination to which they've been leading them by the nose to distract them from their own interests? Trump, the most successful con man of the age, gives them all the hate and bigotry and promises that, unlike the GOP establishment, he'll do something for the little (white) guy and he's got what it takes to do it.

        No wonder the folks the GOP thought they could play forever are eating this stuff up.

          • Davie says:

            Excellent analysis!  The conclusion of the article merits wide distribution and attention:

            Deep political change cannot reverse history in a single election cycle—it will take many elections—but Democrats have a great opportunity to force the question on the nation in 2016. Instead of playing limp and vague, Dems can launch what Howard Dean called for in 2005: a 50-state strategy that runs on liberating issues. Instead of ignoring GOP bigotry, the Democratic ticket can promise to challenge it on every front and attack reactionary Republicans who try to impose the past on voters.

            Above all, Democrats should demand that Tea Party rebels explain why they are in league with a party that intends to cut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in order to finance more tax cuts for billionaires. As Scott Lilly suggested, if common folks ever understand the corrupt nature of the Republican coalition, we will see a popular rebellion that makes the present chaos look like, well, a tea party.

  4. Davie says:

    Ok, maybe we're being too hard on our GOP friends.  Maybe they are just afraid of having the "Romney effect" and inadvertently helping Trump's popularity by expressing their dislike for the megalomaniacal narrsissist:

    Poll Suggests Romney Speech Backfired

    March 8, 2016By Taegan Goddard65 Comments

    A new Morning Consult poll finds that 31% of GOP voters are more likely to vote for Donald Trump after Mitt Romney’s speech condemning him, while 20% are less likely and 43% said it had no impact.

    The base is not pleased with the leaders of the GOP


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