I’d argue it’s also about healing a wound inflicted on Donald back in 2011 at the White House Correspondents Dinner. There, President Barack Obama and Seth Meyers teased Donald relentlessly as cameras captured him swallowing their jibes with obvious bitterness. That fateful night, I believe, is when his campaign started. I believe he is that narcissistic and shallow. I believe it’s a driving motive behind his shameful campaign, which has convinced half of the country to throw away everything that we stand for.
The single greatest threat to our country and our way of life is our tendency to focus on what divides us. Both parties are guilty of it. That’s why I’ve been an Independent since the early 90’s when I left the Republican party. Most Americans—both parties seem to forget—sit in the middle 25% of the political spectrum. This election cycle, I endorsed John Kasich who I considered our best hope for bringing unity to a bitterly divided nation. Faced with the threat posed by Donald Trump, I endorsed Hillary Clinton in August, the first time I've ever publicly endorsed a Democrat. Watching Donald implode these past few weeks, I endorse Clinton more strongly now than even then.
Donald Trump—and the discord he’s sown—is not who we are. The man bragged about sexually assaulting women. He can call it “locker room talk,” but even if the remarks had been made in a locker room, they are still inexcusable. And they're not who we are.
Donald Trump has boasted about inviting himself in to dressing rooms at the beauty pageant he owns, using his power as its owner to gawk at women in various states of undress, and, in other instances allegedly gone beyond just inappropriate talk. And that’s not who we are.
Donald Trump led a campaign to prove that the first black President of this country was born in Africa and therefore illegitimate. He called the President a secret Muslim, questioning his Christian faith. He is racist and beneath contempt. And that's not who we are.
Donald Trump continues to assert the guilt of the Central Park Five, who've been wrongfully imprisoned, one for 13 years. The Five have been vindicated by a judge but Trump—a stubborn narcissist who refuses to be wrong—still denies their innocence. That’s not who we are.
At long last, Trump's campaign is imploding. But Trump and his "enablers in chief" Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Jason Miller are deploying a new and despicable plan – urging supporters to intimidate minority voters at polling places. Does that sound familiar? Jim Crow was a dark period in our nation's history. And it’s not who we are today.
I’ve long warned that nominating Donald Trump would be a grave danger for my former party – spelling the demise of the Party of Lincoln. I’ve long warned that Donald’s profound narcissism leaves him emotionally incapable of leadership. It's that narcissism that leads him to admire totalitarianism and dictators like Vladimir Putin and Saddam Hussein who employ brutal repression, jailing, torture, and execution of their opponents. But he doesn’t just admire them—somewhere deep in his psyche he fantasizes about a reality in which few dare criticize them.
I understand that a significant portion of this country feels left behind. I understand frustration with Washington. Many of us share those same frustrations. I understand, too, that a rapidly changing, diversifying country creates anxiety for some.
Hillary Clinton was wrong to say that 50% of Donald’s supporters belong in a “basket of deplorables.” (I'd estimate the number at 15-20%). But most of his supporters have simply been tricked into believing untruths spread by America's profit-driven conservative media.
Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Ann Coulter and many like them have a clear financial interest in a Hillary Clinton victory, which would be a financial boon for them. Similarly self-interested, many of Donald’s surrogates don’t truly support him. They are simply taking advantage of lucrative cable news jobs that would've been off-limits to them otherwise.
Even Mike Pence, Donald’s Vice Presidential nominee seems to be banking on Donald losing as he eyes the 2020 Republican primary.
Conservatives must understand that Donald is a liberal. That’s why Donald has yet to defend conservatism on a national stage, when the cameras are on and where the words are coming from his mouth for us to see. Instead, he prefers to stoke people's fear and their irrational hate for the Clintons, Mexicans, Muslims, various reporters and even a real-life baby. That’s not conservatism.
Donald Trump can never be President – the ramifications of his election would be existential to the Republic. He’s the antithesis of everything good about America and Americans. We saw this on full display in the last debate – with Hillary standing poised and composed, as Donald loomed creepily over here. And what was the topic? Donald defending his sexual abuse—and his vile comments about women. This is not who we are.
And no, I’ve gotten nothing from the Clinton campaign or its allies. My endorsement wasn’t solicited by the campaign. This is about appealing to our better angels so that together we can fight off the existential threat to our Republic presented by Donald and his reckless behavior. This is about the oath I took more than 40 years ago—as a United States Marine—to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Hillary Clinton is imperfect, and I hesitated at first in supporting her. But the past two weeks have proven it was the right choice; and indeed—the only choice.