Donald Trump needs to end his travashamockery of a campaign

Donald Trump listens to a question at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa,  on July 18. Jim Young | Reuters

Donald Trump listens to a question at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa, on July 18. Jim Young | Reuters

In recent days, Donald Trump reached new levels of insanity with the attack he leveled against U.S. Sen. John McCain. Now, having never been much of a John McCain fan — I voted for other candidates in the primaries (and caucuses) both times he ran for president — I never thought I’d find myself in the position of defending him. Indeed, as a more conservative Republican (especially on fiscal issues), it’s hard not to frequently be disturbed by McCain’s positions. However, as much as I might disagree with McCain, I would never stoop to attacking his service. That I would consider to always be wrong — and until last week, I always assumed that any politician with half an ounce of sense would agree with me.

Well, maybe that’s still the case, since the one who did attack McCain’s military service wasn’t a politician with much common sense. Instead, it was Donald Trump, who’s barely a politician at all, and who seems to totally lack common sense, yet is apparently bent on waging a one-man, reality TV-style campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

The thing is, Trump isn’t a Republican. He’s not even really a conservative. When he first considered running for president — a position he is in no way whatsoever qualified for — it was back in 1999 as a member of the Reform Party. For those who think Trump might revitalize the GOP, I refer them back to the 2000 presidential election. For a while, it seemed as though he might save the Reform Party, too, which was in limbo following the retirement of its billionaire figurehead, Ross Perot. However, Trump did anything but save the Reform Party: He doomed it, killing it off entirely as an electoral force.

After withdrawing from the race in February of 2000, he left the Reform Party with Pat Buchanan as its presidential candidate, whose only impact on the race was in Florida. However, the lasting impact of the Reform Party from that election may well be the positions Trump took while pursuing the nomination. While running then, he endorsed not only universal health care, but single-payer. He’s also enthusiastically advocated for tax hikes on the rich and once called George W. Bush “evil.”

I know what being conservative is, my friends, and that is not conservative.

Many of the Republican presidential candidates will disagree with George W. Bush — including his own brother — on many different policies, but it’s hard to imagine any of them calling him “evil” or “possibly the worst president in history.” Indeed, not only has Trump bashed Bush, he’s praised Obama. In 2009, Trump said, “What’s different today is that we have a new chance, a new beginning. The world is excited about Barack Obama and the new United States. Let’s keep it that way.” Not only did he praise Obama, he said that Hillary Clinton was a great appointment for Secretary of State. Can we really trust him to run an aggressive campaign against her in the fall when he’s said such things, and given six-figure donations to her foundation?

Donald Trump is no conservative. He’s a self-aggrandizing egoist with no core principles who needs to end his travashamockery of a campaign before it goes too far. Donald Trump cannot be trusted, and nobody ought to believe a word he says. We, as a nation, simply cannot allow this individual the opportunity to be president of the United States. It would be a blow not only to us as a nation, but to the entire free world — and we need to prove we’re better than that.

Jim Fossel

About Jim Fossel

Originally from Alna, Jim Fossel has volunteered with a number of campaigns over the years, including for Peter Mills for Governor in 2006. He previously worked for U.S. Senator Susan Collins and House Republican Leader Josh Tardy.