There is a flicker of hope for the United States of America sparkling in the dark shadows of the current campaign to elect a new president.
It’s not much of a flicker but it’s there. It started with this whispered question: “Will Donald Trump quit before the November voting day?” Then it became a legitimate topic for discussion in many major U.S. newspapers and magazines, amongst prominent TV and radio commentators and amongst folks who talk about such things in bars and coffee houses or over the chatter fences of the Internet.
Newspapers from coast to coast have posed the question in articles, editorials and opinion pieces. A consistent theme is the demand that Trump abandon his bombastic rude and ignorant arrogance, or quit the race to save the Republican Party and spare the country further embarrassments from his careless tongue.
Heavyweights like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times have tried to assure their readers that while sudden departure would create a need for expert crisis management, the end result would be a plus for America and a world that’s looking for calmer heads of state.
The racier New York Daily News has been bolder. It gave Trump a full front page with a photograph and a six word statement. THIS ISN’T A JOKE ANY MORE. On its inside pages it strongly suggested Trump was long past his best before date and the time had come for him to quit.
It was all enough for the Republican National Convention Committee to wake up to the problems its presidential choice was creating and check the party rule book to see if it offered a way out. The problem is without precedent in the United States. A nominated candidate has never been changed between nomination day and voting day.
They didn’t have to look far. The authors of the rules appear to have anticipated a Trump scenario as the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out: “Rule 9 – Filling Vacancies in Nominations: “The Republican Party Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States or the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States as nominated by the National convention…” It goes on to outline procedures to nominate a replacement.
In the preamble just quoted the choice of the word “declination” is most interesting. The prophetic common usage when applied to the Republican’s Trump dilemma is: “A sloping or bending down; a falling off as in deterioration; a deviation, as from a specific direction or standard; a refusal to accept.”
Sounds like an easy decision for the Republicans currently lining up to say they will not vote for their duly nominated candidate. However, while Trump’s procession of outrageous statements shocks many, the man retains a strong following. Not least among his supporters is the National Rifle Association, the powerful, often intimidating, gun lobby that makes the right to bear arms a holy cause.
From their ranks come the armed citizen militia groups existing in almost every state. Rarely does a year pass without one or more of these groups seeking confrontation with civic, state or federal authorities. Republican Party leaders know all too well that the spark of hope that Trump will be forced to quit could also be the spark that touches off a major gun-cult challenge. Civilian militia groups love any excuse to exercise their gun carrying rights.
So, the easy decision becomes fraught with “what ifs.” The spark of hope created by the possibility of Trump retiring before voting day remains. Not as strong as many might wish, but still there.
There’s hope that very soon Donald Trump will realize his “glory is like a circle in the water which never ceases to enlarge itself … ’til by broad spreading it disperses to naught.” His time as a potential leader in a world desperately needing peaceful times is already too long.