Hayes: Democrats should root for Trump in GOP race


Bob Hayes, Columnist

The idea of businessman Donald Trump becoming U.S. President Donald Trump has turned from a hysterical joke to a serious possibility, as the Republican has racked up a substantial share of early delegates and polling percentages for upcoming states.

With former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s exiting the race on Saturday, the battle for the Republican nomination seems to have narrowed to a three-horse race between Trump, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Additionally, the party has effectively decided on Sen. Rubio, who gains important political endorsements by the day, whereas Trump fights on without a single party endorsement.

In the other nomination race, growing evidence in the form of polls, endorsements, demographics and voting precedent points to the near inevitability of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton beating out Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

As the competitions for party nominations have cleared up in recent weeks, Democrats can more accurately begin to choose whom to root for within the Republican race. Despite the frightening potential of an impending apocalypse stemming from a Trump presidency, Democrats should cheer on as Trump continues to win delegates.

I will take a step back and clarify that I find Trump utterly despicable and am startled that millions of Americans actually see him as the best fit to be the president of the United States. His complete lack of political experience has evidenced itself in an alarming dearth of pertinent knowledge, while the few legitimate takes he offers are legitimately blasphemous. Still, assuming the widely supported Clinton secures the Democratic nomination, for Democrats, Trump stands as the best option to win the Republican nomination.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive to support the worst of the candidates, the primary reason is quite simple: It appears Trump would struggle mightily in a general election. Voting results and polling numbers both show Trump’s support hovering around 30 to 35 percent in nearly every state and topping out at 40 percent. The distinct polarization of Trump as a candidate means voters either support him and vote for him or despise him and would oppose voting for him under nearly any circumstance. Polls asking voters whom their second candidate preference would be generally back up this intuition, though it is hard to put much weight in such a question right now. Regardless, it seems very improbable that Trump would gain much more support — both from party leaders and from voters — than he currently has, a task he would need to accomplish to have any shot at winning the nomination.

Beyond the unlikelihood of winning a general election, the impact of a Trump nomination on the Republican party would be unprecedented in modern politics. Facing important flashpoints for issues like gun control and same-sex marriage and following eight years of a president who is almost universally disliked, the GOP views this election as exceptionally vital. Quite obviously, a man without political experience, party support or respect beyond his voting base winning the Republican nomination would be a disaster for the party, no matter how that disaster manifests itself.

By comparison, each of the other, less polarizing Republican candidates can expect to pick up a substantial share of voters who are currently unpledged or supporting another candidate. And though Cruz also suffers from a lack of establishment support, it is hard to see his election leading to an eruption like the one Trump would cause within the party.

Still, many Democrats root for the nomination of Rubio or Ohio Gov. John Kasich because they have relatively moderate political stances and seem to be more amicable candidates than Trump. Although I certainly would prefer Rubio or Kasich to Trump as a president, remember that we are considering whom to root for to face Clinton in the general election, not which Republican would be the least bad president. Rubio or Kasich would give Clinton a much tougher contest than Trump would.

Ultimately, though the idea of giving Trump any shot at the presidency seems dangerous, Democrats should root for the Republican candidate that gives Clinton a highly likely chance at winning the presidency. Because of his extremely polarizing positions and rhetoric and his subsequent lack of electability in a general election, that candidate is Trump.

Join me in bowing our heads in shame while simultaneously fist pumping as millions of voters secure a Trump nomination and help “make America great again” by pushing our nation closer to another President Clinton.

Bob Hayes is a Weinberg junior. He can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected].

The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.