Donald Trump and The Republicans’ Sunk Cost Problem

Donald Trump created a problem for the Republican Party the day he declared his candidacy. He opened his campaign outside the normal bounds. And once the GOP began backing him, they had a problem.

You see, Trump’s campaign started on a dicey note. He launched it with an appeal to white nationalism. He made racist comments about Mexicans. His party failed to respond. And this set the direction the GOP had no choice but to follow ever since.

Here’s how Donald Trump hijacked his party… and made it all but impossible for them to break from him.

The Theory of Sunk Costs

A sunk cost is an investment you can’t get back if you change direction. The phrase began with the oil industry… but it quickly made sense in politics.

For example, the GOP leadership didn’t outright condemn Trump’s early racist comments. They saw his core voters respond to his racist message. They probably thought they could transfer these voters’ loyalty to a more reasonable candidate during the primaries. So, they remained silent.

That silence was a sunk cost. Once you begin digging a racist hole, there’s no climbing out.

With each outrageous act and statement, Trump dug the GOP’s hole a little deeper. The party leadership continued to think they could reel in Trump’s supporters when he failed. Only Trump’s primary opponents voiced dissent.

Then those opponents fell one by one. Trump won the nomination. Then he won the Electoral College… and his voice became the official voice of the GOP.

Every event – like the Charlottesville incident – moved Trump and his supporters further and further from the mainstream. And dragged the Republican party with them.

Step by step, the Republican Party had multiplied their sunk costs in Trump. To maintain unity, the GOP had to defend his increasingly bizarre words and actions.

Party leaders had to bend over backwards to explain what Trump “actually meant” when he said something crazy – or racist. To spin his outrageous claims into something the rank and file could swallow. To excuse his bizarre behavior.

Now, they find themselves defending the actions of an increasingly unhinged would-be dictator. The sunk costs have grown too large. So, the GOP has dug in.

Party Before Country

Trump suggested to the president of Ukraine that U.S. financial support hinges on Ukraine “investigating” Joe Biden. Trump knows this is wrong, because White House senior staff “buried” the call in a top-secret server. Even though nothing on the call involved secrets.

Now we know this isn’t the first time White House staffers have done this – to protect the President from himself. Calls with other leaders have suffered the same “bury-the-evidence” fate… Even though nothing on the calls was classified or secret.

Just potentially damaging to the President. And the GOP that backs him.

After all, this is the man who…

  • Revealed classified information to Russian officials – and laughed about it
  • Suggested those who exposed his unlawful acts should be executed
  • Claimed speaking to whistleblowers should be considered “treason.”

Trump withholds information from Congress – even information the Constitution says Congress should have. He’s “hinted” he’d pardon staffers who ignore the law. He’s even suggested defying him could lead to civil war.

This lawlessness should set off alarm bells for any American – especially those sworn to uphold the Constitution. But his GOP allies have dug in, and continue to defend their standard-bearer.

Mike Pompeo sat in on the Ukraine call… but feigned ignorance when asked about the transcript. Congressman Jim Jordan lied to Jake Tapper on national television about that call. GOP leadership insists Trump did nothing wrong on the call – in spite of the clear quid pro quo even the doctored transcript reveals.

The GOP has thrown their lot in with Trump. They’ve backed his radical platform to the hilt. Now, not backing Trump means not backing their own platform.

Today’s Republican party can’t abandon Trump. They’ve tied themselves too closely to his radical agenda. So, as suicidal as it may seem, Republicans have no choice but to back Trump.

Facing the GOP’s Hard Reality

That’s why the GOP isn’t calling for impeachment. And why most Republican leaders will fight it tooth and nail. Damning Trump has become the same as damning themselves.

As richly deserved as that irony may be, the GOP can’t go there.

They counter charges of Trump’s corruption with a fabricated story about Joe Biden’s “corrupt” defense of his son. They’re counting on the repetition of a lie to create controversy. It’s the age-old “charge-your-enemy-with-the-crimes-you’ve-committed” play.

Fortunately, we now have the ability to record – and play back – the truth. Which shows the GOP’s claims about the Bidens are lies.

But they’ve invested so much in their corrupt leadership, they have no other viable option. They must follow Trump off the rails. Or undermine their whole position.

So, the White House refuses to cooperate with Congress. The GOP leadership lies about the call. And their party defends a president who used strong-arm tactics to get a foreign government to smear a political opponent.

But – for better or worse – they’ve hitched their star to Trump. Maybe they should have listened to one of his biggest detractors back in 2016.

A Sober Assessment of Donald Trump by a Leading Conservative

So, what does the Republican leadership really think of Donald Trump? Here are some thoughts from one of their most influential members.

“At the end of the day, Donald Trump, his foreign policy is gibberish,” he said. “His understanding of the world is bizarre…”

“I think Donald Trump would be a pathetic commander in chief,” this Trump foe continued, “unequal in temperament, judgment and understanding of who our friends are.”

This same man also said of Trump, “He’s a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.” And claimed, “He doesn’t represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for… He’s the ISIL man of the year.”

Another observation from the same source: “I do not believe he is a reliable Republican conservative, nor has he displayed the judgment and temperament to serve as commander in chief.”

In February 2016, this GOP leader said, “I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy. I think he’s unfit for office.”

So, who is this GOP official with such a low opinion of Donald Trump?

None other than Senator Lindsey Graham. Yes… the same Lindsey Graham who golfs with Trump regularly, defends the President’s every indiscretion, and seemingly worships the ground Trump walks on.

The party has invested so much in Trump, even his harshest critics within the GOP have become toadies. Lindsey Graham now dances like a puppet on the end of Trump’s string.

And if Graham – one of Trump’s harshest critics – will do this… imagine how far the rest of the party leadership will go. Because they’ve painted themselves into a corner.

So, we can’t rely on help from the Right to defeat Trump. Which means we have to get out the vote of every reasonable, freedom-loving American in 2020. Because, if we don’t, we may not have the chance in 2024.

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Walker, H., “Lindsey Graham fires back at ‘pathetic’ Donald Trump,” Yahoo!News. Feb 18, 2016.

Brest, M., “FLASHBACK: Graham says Trump is ‘a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot,’” Washington Examiner. Jul 15, 2019.

Bergengruen, V., “Sen. Lindsey Graham: I won’t vote for Trump in 2016,” McClatchydc.com. May 6, 2016.

Mazza, E., “Sen. Lindsey Graham’s Old Words About Trump Come Back To Bite Him In The Butt,” HuffPost.com. Nov 30, 2017.

Bonus Post: Five Tweets That Reveal Trump’s Character

The current administration commits so many scandals and outrages, that it’s nearly impossible to keep up. We have quite a few articles that were abandoned as a more pressing issue came up. Here’s one from earlier this year. It still applies.

 

How anchored is Donald Trump to reality? Well, based on his tweets, not very.  Here are a five spewings that reveal Trump’s character very clearly…

February 25 – Spike Lee Accepts an Oscar

Be nice if Spike Lee could read his notes, or better yet not have to use notes at all, when doing his racist hit on your President, who has done more for African Americans (Criminal Justice Reform, Lowest Unemployment numbers in History, Tax Cuts, etc.) than almost any other Pres!

Lee never mentioned Trump. He praised his grandmother. He remembered the enslavement of his ancestors. And he ended on a positive note:

“The 2020 presidential election is around the corner. Let’s all mobilize. Let’s all be on the right side of history. Make the moral choice between love versus hate. Let’s do the right thing! You know I had to get that in there.”

Why does Trump assume choosing love vs. hate is an attack on him? Sounds like a guilty conscience. Maybe because he knows his “more for African Americans” claim is pure B.S.?

After all, this is the guy who said the Central Park Five should remain in prison… even after DNA evidence completely cleared them.

February 25 – The Border Wall

We have a State of Emergency at our Southern Border. Border Patrol, our Military and local Law Enforcement are doing a great job, but without the Wall, which is now under major construction, you cannot have Border Security. Drugs, Gangs and Human Trafficking must be stopped!

Trump has made several references lately to prayer rugs at the border, women tied up with their mouths covered with duct tape, and other scenes from the Hollywood movie “Sicario.”

None of these scenarios have been recorded on our southern border… but Trump uses them to push for his wall.

And then cannibalized key military projects to add to the wall. Apparently, he doesn’t know the difference between a movie and a documentary.

February 22 – New U.N. Ambassador

I am pleased to announce that Kelly Knight Craft, our current Ambassador to Canada, is being nominated to be United States Ambassador to the United Nations….

….Kelly has done an outstanding job representing our Nation and I have no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level. Congratulations to Kelly and her entire family!

When Trump anointed Craft as ambassador to Canada, the Canadian press noted she had donated more than $265,000 to the Trump campaign in 2016. She and her husband had also donated almost $3 million to other Republican causes.

Her qualifications as a diplomat? Well… One speech to the U.N. general assembly under George W. Bush. Simply put: Money over qualifications.

February 21 – The Jussie Smollett Controversy

.@JussieSmollett – what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA

I’m not going to defend Jussie Smolett here… but this seems a bit hypocritical from the man who called Neo-Nazis “fine people” after the Charlottesvlle incident.

And it took him days to make any comment on the Coast Guard officer who planned to kill liberals. Even though he weighed in on the Smollett case almost immediately.

Trump has insulted tens of millions with racist tweets… but hasn’t apologized for any of them.

February 20 – NYT Is “Enemy of the People”

The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!

Once again, Trump directs his hate and anger at the press. At this point, it doesn’t even matter what the story is. Trump is stoking hate – and thus advocating violence – against the press.

The problem is the press is reporting the truth. Trump calls any news story he doesn’t like “fake news.” Then foments violence against the source.

If the New York Times is failing, as he claims… why does he have to spend so much time pointing it out? The NY Times’ subscriber base is one of the most robust in the industry.

Look, if you’re still excusing Trump, it’s time to stop. The man is out of control. And out of touch with reality. How long can you deny the evidence? It’s all on video.

Trump is a racist. He’s anti-American. And he has no respect for our Constitution.

He needs to go.

Is there room for conservatives in America? Absolutely. But only those conservatives willing to work within the bounds of our Constitution.

Our Democracy has lasted for 200 years. Let’s not let one self-absorbed billionaire destroy the greatest political experiment in human history.

The Party of Lincoln?

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so I’ll keep this short. Once again, racism has raised its ugly head in the form of a Republican leader.

Ronald Reagan, speaking to President Richard Nixon, made some of the most offensive racist remarks I’ve ever heard. “Last night, I tell you,” Reagan commented, “to watch that thing on television as I did. To see those monkeys from those African countries – damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes.”

That’s pretty bad… but so was Nixon’s response. He laughed.

That’s right. Two Republican presidents of the last half-century shared an incredibly racist moment.

The Republicans call themselves “the party of Lincoln.” But literally half their presidents in the last 50 years have been unapologetic racists.

And Trump is no different.

A Consistent History of Racism

Reagan’s opposition to civil rights legislation is a matter of record. And how much more do you need from Nixon than that laugh? Well, how about this:

“We’re going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family—let people like Pat Moynihan … believe in all that crap. But I don’t believe in it. Work, work—throw ’em off the rolls…”

Now, to his credit (?), Nixon followed this up with a claim he had “the greatest affection for” African Americans. But he also noted, “…but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too.”

Nixon also appeared to blame African nations for the U.N. vote to seat Beijing in place of Taiwan in 1971.

“As you can imagine, there’s strong feeling that we just shouldn’t, as he (Reagan) said,” Nixon complained to then-Secretary of State Rogers, “he saw these, as he said, he saw these… these, uh, these cannibals on television last night, and he says, ‘Christ, they weren’t even wearing shoes, and here the United States is going to submit its fate to that,’ and so forth and so on.”

“Negro bastards”… “cannibals”… No racism there, right?

Reagan made quite an impression on Nixon on that call. “But he is, of course,” the president told Secretary Rogers, “outraged. And I found out what outraged him… and he said, ‘These cannibals jumping up and down and all that.’ And apparently it was a pretty grotesque picture.”

Yup. There’s the “party of Lincoln,” actively pursuing racial equality. But here’s the point…

The Tail Follows the Head

Some may claim “rogue elements” within the Republican Party are also racist. But that’s not how a body works.

The tail wags when the head tells it to. And if the racist tail of the Republican Party is wagging, it’s only because they’ve gotten a message from the head.

Like neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville protests being “fine people.” Or the “Send her back,” chanters at Trump’s recent rally being “incredible patriots.”

Or Trump’s misrepresentation of NFL players’ protests against police violence. He re-cast the protests as being anti-flag and anti-American. Not anti-violence.

Or his frequent attacks on majority-black communities as “rat-infested, “crime-infested,” or any number of other negatives. Noting “no human being” would want to live in Baltimore… suggesting those who do are something less than human.

The resurgence of open racism in America has taken its cues from the Racist-in-Chief. Trump has normalized racist sentiments. He consistently depicts non-whites as sub-human. And when anyone dares push back, he accuses them of racism.

Lincoln Is Spinning in His Grave

Lincoln may have been a reluctant convert to equality. But he saw it as the key to a successful Union. And to his credit, he took the ultimate political gamble. He fought Congress to make black Americans at least nominally equal to white Americans.

But the party of Lincoln has been hijacked. The GOP long ago abandoned the idea of equality. And that’s been abundantly illustrated by the party’s leadership over the last 50 years. Their fight to preserve segregation… their “separate but equal” charade… their opposition to the civil rights movement.

Nixon was a racist… Reagan was a racist… and so is Trump.

Time and again, Trump denies his racism while sounding racist dog whistles. He claims ignorance, while white supremacists praise his words and actions. He protests his innocence, while his administration pursues a clearly racist agenda.

Why has the only black Republican Congressman just announced his retirement? Why is there only one black Cabinet member? And why has the Trump Organization been dogged by charges of racial discrimination since the 1970s?

Let’s face it. The party of Lincoln has become the party of White Privilege… and those in power are reluctant to share. Especially with people of color.

As for Honest Abe, he’s busy spinning in his grave.

Is Donald Trump a Christian?

The Religious Right has rallied behind Donald Trump in huge numbers.

He’s a twice-divorced serial adulterer. His attacks on his opponents are often petty, vile, and lewd. As president, he’s lied over 12,000 times to the American people. He once ran a gambling empire. His company has been accused of systematic racial discrimination.

Hardly hallmarks of Christian purity.

Yet the Religious Right clings tenaciously to Trump. Almost as if their loyalty to Trump is more important than their loyalty to the Son of God.

Let’s take a quick look at just how “Christian” Donald Trump really is. In his own words…

Trump on Violence

“If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? Seriously, OK? Just knock the hell … I promise you I will pay for the legal fees. I promise, I promise.” – Donald Trump, February 1, 2016

“If she [Hillary Clinton] gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people… maybe there is. I don’t know.” – Donald Trump, August 9, 2016

“The audience hit back and that’s what we need a little bit more of.” – Donald Trump, regarding a violent incident at a Las Vegas Trump rally, March 11, 2016

“Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” Donald Trump to Fox & Friends hosts about an African American who interrupted a Trump Rally, November 2015

Trump on Women

“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful… I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” – Donald Trump, September 2005

“You know they’re standing there with no clothes. Is everybody OK? And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.” – Donald Trump to Howard Stern regarding his ownership of the Miss Teen USA pageant, 2005 (Yes… TEEN.)

“Such a nasty woman.” Donald Trump referring to Hillary Clinton as she suggested raising taxes on the rich in 3rd debate, 2016

“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things… but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?” – Donald Trump on fellow candidate Carly Fiorina, September 2015

“I heard poorly rated @Morning Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!” – Donald Trump, June 29, 2017

“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes… Blood coming out of her wherever.” – Donald Trump to CNN’s Don Lemon regarding Megan Kelly’s debate questions, August 2015

Trump on Racism

“You had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. The press has treated them absolutely unfairly… You also had some very fine people on both sides.” – Donald Trump on Charlottesville rally violence, August 2017

“It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me.” – Donald Trump in response to a reporter’s question on the “Send her back!” anti-Omar chant at a Trump rally, July 2019

“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” – Donald Trump, December 2015

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.” – Donald Trump, June 2015

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” – Donald Trump on Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations, January 2018

Violent, misogynist, racist… Donald Trump framed in his own words. Are these the words of a Christian? Not that I’d recognize. And I studied for the ministry.

Yet the Religious Right Clings Desperately to Trump

Sadly, the Christian “revival” in America has become a one-issue movement.

If you’re pro-choice, you’re out. If you’re anti-abortion, you’re in. No matter how un-Christian your other actions or opinions may be.

So, Barak Obama, a faithful husband, devoted father, and observant Christian, didn’t measure up. His work as a civil rights lawyer? Didn’t matter. His time as a community organizer? Laughable. His service as a U.S. Senator? Meaningless… Because he’s pro-choice.

And Donald Trump? Sure, he’s an inveterate liar. That’s no big deal. Sordid affairs with porn stars and Playboy bunnies? Who cares? He seeks help from the Russians to win an election? No big deal. He’s anti-abortion… so he’s just fine.

Which brings us down to a rather sobering conclusion. The Religious Right is willing to trade virtually everything that identifies them as Christian to favor a position that’s not once mentioned in the Bible.

But here are a couple of opinions the Bible does venture. And the Religious Right would do well to start paying attention to them.

“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” – Jesus, Matthew 7:16 – 19 (NIV)

“So, in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” – Jesus, Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

Is Donald Trump a Christian? Not by the definition in Matthew 7. And the Religious Right folks who follow him? Well, I’d reevaluate my position, if I were them. Because backing a reprobate isn’t exactly the Christian ideal.

The Party of Lincoln

I don’t want to beat a dead horse, so I’ll keep this short. Once again, racism has raised it’s ugly head in the form of a Republican leader.

Ronald Reagan, speaking to President Richard Nixon, made some tryly offensive racist remarks. “Last night, I tell you,” Reagan commented, “to watch that thing on television as I did. To see those monkeys from those African countries – damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes.”

That’s pretty bad… but so was Nixon’s response. He laughed.

That’s right. Two Republican presidents of the last half-century shared an incredibly racist moment.

The Republicans endlessly refer to themselves as “the party of Lincoln.” But literally half their presidents over the last 50 years were apparently unapologetic racists.

And Trump is no different.

A Consistent History of Racism

Reagan’s opposition to civil rights legislation is a matter of record. And how much more do you need from Nixon than that laugh? Well, how about this:

“We’re going to [put] more of these little Negro bastards on the welfare rolls at $2,400 a family—let people like Pat Moynihan … believe in all that crap. But I don’t believe in it. Work, work—throw ’em off the rolls…”

Now, to his credit (?), Nixon followed this up with a claim he had “the greatest affection for” African Americans. But he also noted, “…but I know they’re not going to make it for 500 years. They aren’t. You know it, too.”

Nixon also appeared to blame African nations for the U.N. vote to seat Beijing in place of Taiwan in 1971.

“As you can imagine, there’s strong feeling that we just shouldn’t, as he [Reagan] said,” Nixon complained to then-Secretary of State Rogers, “He saw these, as he said, he saw these… these, uh, these cannibals on television last night, and he says, ‘Christ, they weren’t even wearing shoes, and here the United States is going to submit its fate to that,’ and so forth and so on.”

“Negro bastards”… “cannibals”… No racism there, right?

Reagan made quite an impression on Nixon on that call. The president told Secretary Rogers, “Reagan called me last night, and I didn’t talk to him until this morning.”

“But he is,” Nixon continued, “of course, outraged. And I found out what outraged him… and he said, ‘These cannibals jumping up and down and all that.’ And apparently it was a pretty grotesque picture.”

Yup. There’s the “party of Lincoln,” actively pursuing racial equality. But here’s the salient point…

The Tail Follows the Head

You can claim there are simply “rogue elements” within the Republican Party who are also racist. But that’s not how a body works.

The tail wags when the head tells it to. And if the racist tail of the Republican Party is wagging, it’s only because they’ve gotten a message from the head.

Like neo-Nazis at the Charlottesville protests being “fine people.” Or the “Send her back,” chanters at Trump’s recent rally being “incredible patriots.”

Or the response to Trump’s misrepresentation of black NFL players’ protests against police violence. He re-cast the protests as being anti-flag and anti-American.

Or his frequent attacks on majority-black communities as “rat-infested, “crime-infested,” or any number of other negatives. Noting “no human being” would want to live in Baltimore… suggesting those who do are something less than human.

The resurgence of open racism in America has taken its cues from the Racist-in-Chief. Trump has normalized racist sentiments. He consistently depicts non-whites as sub-human. And when anyone dares push back, he accuses them of racism.

Lincoln Is Spinning in His Grave

Lincoln may have been a reluctant convert to equality. But he saw it as the key to a successful Union. And to his credit, he took the ultimate political gamble. He fought Congress to make black Americans at least nominally equal to white Americans.

But the party of Lincoln has been hijacked. The GOP long ago abandoned the idea of equality. And that’s been abundantly illustrated by the party’s leadership over the last 50 years. Just look at their opposition to the civil rights movement. And how they’re trying to roll its gains back even today.

Nixon was racist… Reagan was racist… and so is Trump.

Time and again, Trump denies his racism while sounding racist dog whistles. He claims ignorance, while white supremacists praise his words and actions. He protests his innocence, while his administration pursues a clearly racist agenda.

Why has the only black Republican Congressman just announced his retirement? Why is there only one black Cabinet member? And why has the Trump Organization been dogged by charges of racial discrimination since the 1970s?

Let’s face it. The party of Lincoln has become the party of White Privilege… and those in power are reluctant to share.

As for Honest Abe, he’s busy spinning in his grave.