Trump poses serious threat to Republican Party
September 8, 2015
Billionaire businessman Donald Trump signed a pledge of loyalty to the Republican Party Thursday, agreeing to support the future Republican nominee and promising not to run independently should his own campaign be unsuccessful. It is a gesture meant to promote party unity and save the Republicans from a split vote in the general election — though, realistically, the pledge is in no way legally binding. It also represents a decision by the GOP to tie itself to the brazen Trump, which is a risky endorsement of his controversial stances, including his condemnation of anchor babies. Not only is the reputation and credibility of the Republican Party at stake, its future nominee stands to inherit huge vote losses in the upcoming general election as a result.
The oversaturated pool of presidential hopefuls has already been forced to engage with the media circus that has erupted around the bombastic businessman, suffering the consequences of running against a loose cannon. To compete for the spotlight in what has disintegrated into a political shouting match, Republican candidates are now participants in a race defined by inflammatory remarks and media stunts. However, the real threat to Trump’s fellow GOP candidates stems from the fiery anti-immigrant rhetoric that has been a feature of his alarming ascent to the top of the polls. The party has struggled in the past to overcome a lack of support from the Hispanic community, and soundbite-worthy stances on illegal immigration will only prove detrimental to the candidates come next November.
Despite this reasoning, GOP candidates continue to find themselves dragged toward controversy by the Trump black hole. Recently, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who once occupied the position of the unfiltered everyman now commandeered by Trump, succumbed to the loud-mouthed mogul’s gravitational pull. Christie, previously considered relatively moderate on immigration issues, proposed a method of tracking immigrants he likens to tracking FedEx packages. This disregard for privacy and human rights seems to be nothing more than a desperate grab for media attention by a candidate who has taken a nosedive in the polls.
While extreme positions on immigration may be necessary for candidates wishing to hold their own against the front-runner reality star in the primary elections, the race to the right is ultimately a race away from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Polling projections suggest that Republican candidates will need to garner 47 percent of the Latino vote to win the White House, a number that seems unattainable given the nativist rhetoric currently dominating the Republican Party. Even candidates who have largely avoided alienating the Hispanic community will suffer the negative impact of Trump’s promised support should they win the Republican nomination. Anchor babies are the least of Republicans’ worries with the Trump anchor hanging heavy around their necks.
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A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 8 print edition. Email Elizabeth Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.