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A Democrat’s plea to save the GOP

Many of us do not want to see the demise of the two-party system.

President Donald Trump arrives for a Senate Republican

President Donald Trump arrives for a Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Photo Credit: AP / Andrew Harnik

When anyone today says the word “unhinged,” virtually everyone immediately thinks: Donald Trump.

But then there are those who are acolytes and even some who are simply embarrassed because they might have supported him, who get jumpy and immediately say something deflective, like, “Oh yeah? What about Hillary?!”

I suppose it’s this century’s intellectually thoughtful, reflexive equivalent of, “So’s your mother!”

Or, alternatively, they try to turn the corner by saying something freaky, like charging some newbie congresswoman of marrying her brother to qualify him for citizenship, hoping you’ll take the bait because the accused wore your team’s jersey and now has equal gravitas with the leader of the free world. Or they suddenly decide to exercise selective modesty: “Well clutch maahy pearls! SHE dropped the F-bomb!”

Sorry, pal, you didn’t miss my point. You awkwardly tried to change the subject. And in trying, made my point. I have no problem denouncing the lies, stupidity or even nutty-ness of anyone on my team. Those words and actions are not my party’s platform, nor my personal views. And they’re of little weight and even less consequence. Nonetheless, where appropriate, I can and do reject, condemn, decry, deny, deplore, distance. Done.

But when Trump cultists automatically go into a defensive crouch with this outsized powerhouse’s every unhinged distortion of truth, each thoughtless policy disaster and every destructive, vulgar, divisive utterance, it’s an existential threat to the Republican Party. As is the quiet killer acquiescence of the Silent Suicidal Embrace.

Many of us who are Democrats do not want to see the demise of the two-party system. Democracy needs at least a second party, one which is credible and sane and strong so as to keep the deal straight. And you’re losing your claim.

Surely, you see what’s going on. Surely, you know right from wrong. Sniff the wind. Save your Grand Old Party. Demonstrate your patriotism. Exercise your independence.

When you find yourself astride a cesspool, it’s no time to jump up and down. Nor to stand your ground.

Gary Ackerman is a former Democratic congressman.

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