UPDATE #2: Check out this Colorado Springs Gazette story from the weekend–even Sen. Cory Gardner has drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid now:
“That’s why I’m voting Republican up and down the ticket. A Republican president will make a difference, even a Republican president named Donald Trump,” said Gardner, who last year accomplished what Glenn hopes to do this year by unseating one of Colorado’s Democratic senators.
UPDATE: Take note of Rep. Mike Coffman’s response to the call from the Aurora Sentinel to take a clear stand one way or the other on Donald Trump:
“What they forget is that Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt and dishonest politician ever to run for the Presidency. “- Mike Coffman
Spoken like a true Trump surrogate–or even something The Donald himself might say! At the very least, this helps illustrate why Coffman needs a different answer (see below).
CNN reports on a newly formulated response to the GOP’s oh-so-dreaded Donald Trump question, as floated by New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte:
Sen. Kelly Ayotte has often found herself in a familiar spot with Donald Trump: Keeping her distance.
But in this fiercely independent state, Ayotte is gambling that voters might reward her for rebuking her own party’s nominee. She has criticized Trump and will not endorse him — yet still plans to vote for the billionaire in November.
“I will take on my own party,” Ayotte told CNN in Nashua Monday. “I really believe that this is a big issue in this race — that I am the one candidate that will stand up to whomever is in the White House to do good things when we can work together — also when it’s wrong to stand up to them…”
“While he has my vote he doesn’t have my endorsement,” Ayotte said of Trump. [Pols emphasis]
As the Republican Party continues to grapple with the quite-possibly fatal reality of having handed their nomination for the presidency to a repulsive megalomaniac demagogue, we’re seeing a variety of coping strategies attempted. At this point, the national Republican political coalition has split into two basic camps: those who are embracing Trump either out of genuine support or to preserve party unity, and those who are either hostile to Trump or trying to keep their own races out of Trump’s path of destruction.
Colorado’s most vulnerable member of Congress, GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, earned a fair amount of press as the first Republican downballot candidate to run an ad openly critical of Trump. Unfortunately, Coffman was totally unprepared to answer the next logical question from inquiring reporters: will you vote for him?
Coffman’s inability to answer the straightforward question of who he plans to vote for in the presidential race, explicitly leaving the door open to vote for Trump while declaring he would never vote for Hillary Clinton, severely undermined the legitimacy of Coffman’s attempt to triangulate off Trump in his swing district. And then two stories in the New York Times and Denver Post this weekend took a long-overdue look at Coffman’s “Trump-like” record–and it did not go well for him.
It’s important to keep in mind that Coffman’s decision to go “Sister Souljah” on Trump came shortly after a conference in Colorado Springs of top-level Republican donors and strategists convened by the Koch brothers. That conference was widely reported to be focused on Trump “survival strategies” for vulnerable Republican politicians. After Coffman’s stumble trying and failing to have it both ways, now we have Sen. Ayotte and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida publicly reaffirming both their criticism of Trump and their intention to vote for him. George Orwell famously described this with the word “doublethink”–the simultaneous acceptance of two contradictory opinions.
Coffman will almost certainly adopt this approach sooner or later, but we have serious doubts that it will work. We may be reaching a point where the farce can simply no longer be maintained–and neither Coffman nor any other Republican up for election in 2016 can talk their way out of their party’s fate.