It’s old news now, but an old recording of the good old Trumpster from 2005 came up last week, featuring some not-so-choice words on how to properly take advantage of celebrity status. It’s obviously an awful thing for anyone to say, let alone a celebrity, let alone a potential national leader. But the aftermath that ensued after this incident brings to light several moral dilemmas for politicians and voters alike. With the big day more than just three weeks away, is it too late to rescind your endorsement or jump ship? Did Donald Trump handle the situation appropriately, or is his campaign far past the point of revival?
Trump’s big mouth has certainly tied him up into a position where his campaign is unable to be resuscitated. He addressed the issue immediately and apologized for words spoken over a decade ago. In this situation, this is probably the best we could’ve hoped for from him. However, these are hurtful words he can never take back, and this is just one of many scandals continually impeding his path to the White House.
The immediate response of several former GOP presidential candidates was to distance themselves from the scandal as much as possible. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a favorite of center-leaning Republicans in the later stages during the primaries, wrote a statement on Facebook the day after the video leaked, in which he restated why he had not made any prior endorsement for the official candidate: “As a result, Donald Trump is a man I cannot and should not support. The actions of the last day are disgusting, but that’s not why I reached this decision, it has been an accumulation of his words and actions that many have been warning about.”
Carly Fiorina, a former candidate and business executive, also condemned Trump’s actions, rescinded her prior endorsement and encouraged his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, to step up to the nomination instead.
Dr. Ben Carson, a more right-leaning candidate, didn’t take after his two former rivals; he kept his endorsement, but instead tried to pin the blame on the progressives, assuming a conspiracy to leak more anti-Trump audio before the election was set to take place (although he did acknowledge that he wasn’t entirely pleased with the audio content either).
With more and more people jumping off the Trump train, we have to decide when it’s truly too late to do so. To give an awful metaphor, it’s similar to supporting and abandoning a sports team. Say you were a
diehard Boston Red Sox fan. One year they are up against the New York Yankees for the World Series. A week before the first game, David Price says something too inexcusable to ignore. Do you immediately become a diehard Yankees fan instead? Of course not. But you can make sure that people know Price doesn’t represent you or other Red Sox fans.
For Fiorina, Carson and Kasich, rescinding their endorsements this late in the game can hurt their future credibility in the unlikely event they decide to run again. Carson and Kasich are both in better positions, as the former acknowledged the scandal but stayed true to his party, while the latter never put himself in the position to back out in the first place. Although I personally believe that a candidate should be judged on only on their platform, it’s inevitable that a candidate’s past loyalties can make or break the final result on Election Day. In the polls this election, this has already been proven multiple times.
We’re taught to stick with family through good times and tough times alike. The same principle is true for Republicans, and much more now than six months ago. If they switch sides when things get rough, they are essentially abandoning the platform they’ve stuck with for so long. In the future, politicians of both sides hopefully can learn to stick with the appropriate platform for them, even in the most critical (or controversial) of times.