Ever wondered whether Donald Trump’s unsinkable ship could actually sink? This week Trump chose to deliberately ram into a giant iceberg, causing significant damage and leaving many voters, politicians and media in serious doubt about the continuation of his campaign. For those of you living under a rock or hiking in a national park somewhere without Wi-Fi, Trump has been battling it out for a week with the family of a fallen American soldier. Just let that, ahem, sink in for a moment. Khizr Khan stole the show at last week’s Democratic Convention with a moving speech about his son who fought overseas and made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Khan, a Pakistani-born Muslim-American Harvard-educated lawyer, powerfully criticized Trump for his anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies and offered to lend him a copy of the Constitution. Trump took offense and responded inappropriately via Twitter and interviews, and it escalated from there. Withdrawing support from their nominee seems the only moral response to this situation, yet desperate and weak Republican leaders, while condemning the comments, refuse to condemn Trump himself.
But don’t assume it’s been an easy week for Trump – plenty of other groups and individuals have stepped in and denounced his immature and ignorant comments, from the condemnation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars group, to the scathing response from Republican veteran John McCain, to the offended families of fallen service members who demanded an apology, to pretty much all Democrats including President Obama who expressed outrage and disbelief. Various polls this week also point to many voters questioning their commitment to Trump, with his bump from the Republican Convention completely disappearing and Hillary Clinton pulling ahead significantly.
So why did Trump get entangled in a fight that he couldn’t possibly win? No confusion there: ego. Trump gets defensive when attacked and lashes out, and on top of that he refuses to admit to or learn from mistakes or wrong actions. This whole debacle has pulled Trump way off message despite his repeated mentions of the magical words “radical Islamic terrorism” anytime he hears the name Khan, which just offends everyone more. So you’re probably thinking that surely Republicans will vote for Clinton now right? After all, at what point do they stop and say enough is enough? Well sorry to burst that unlikely bubble but even though a couple of Republican politicians have publicly announced their support for Clinton, most are just shrugging this off as one of many thoughtless gaffes from their nominee – which, while regrettable, pale in comparison to the big picture, like taking control of Congress, the Supreme Court and the White House. But in this battle for the nation’s political soul, Republicans have been bailing water for many months now – perhaps it’s finally time to abandon ship.
Feel that Khan should have set phasers to stun? Movie for your mood: Star Trek Into Darkness