Last year, former Texas Governor Rick Perry was one of the first presidential contenders to go after Donald Trump, calling him a “cancer on conservatism” that he was not about to stand by and watch “metastasize” throughout the Republican Party.
But as RNC Chairman Reince Priebus once said: Winning is the antidote to a lot of things.
On Thursday, Perry told CNN’s Dana Bash that he was behind the nominee 100%.
“He is not a perfect man,” Perry acknowledged. “But what I do believe is that he loves this country and he will surround himself with capable, experienced people and he will listen to them.”
Perry said that he was taking his cue from the voters. “I believe in the process, and the process has said Donald Trump will be our nominee and I’m going to support him and help him and do what I can,” he said.
Perry’s endorsement should act as a model for Republicans who have harshly criticized Trump over the last year. You don’t have to walk back everything you ever said. You don’t have to sign on to those Trump policies that veer towards liberalism. And you certainly don’t have to pretend like you support every outrageous comment he makes. You just have to recognize one, simple fact: If Trump doesn’t win, then Hillary Clinton will. And if that’s not horrifying enough for you to get over Trump’s imperfections, then you have no business representing conservatism.
“We can’t afford the policies and the character of Hillary Clinton,” said Perry.
That’s it right there. A month ago, Republicans could get away with opposing Trump. But now, it’s time for choosing. It’s not Trump or Cruz. It’s not Trump or Rubio. It’s Trump or Clinton.
Astoundingly, it still appears there are a significant number of Republicans who haven’t gotten the message. Maybe they think Trump’s popularity is a once-in-a-lifetime anomaly based on the billionaire’s charisma and his unprecedented ability to dominate the mainstream media. Maybe they think that if they can just ride it out, they’ll never have to deal with this unpleasantness again.
If so, they are going to find out otherwise.
To be sure, there are things about Trump that no one else would have been able to duplicate. But at the same time, it’s hard to imagine that Trump could have done this in any other election year. He filled a void. You can put it any way you want it: Republicans stopped listening to the voters, Republicans stopped forwarding conservative principles, what have you. What it really comes down to is this: Republicans have failed – in every way – to limit the liberal agenda of Barack Obama.
And now, because they don’t have a nominee who meets their standards, they are going to do what? Attack Trump and let one of the most corrupt families in modern politics back into the White House? Allow Hillary Clinton to cement Obama’s legacy?
Rick Perry understands the stakes. Hopefully his common sense will spread throughout the rest of the party.