A lot has happened since 17 Republican candidates vowed to support the eventual nominee for president. This unusual demand, brought on by fears that Donald Trump would launch a third-party bid if he lost the primaries, has had an effect opposite its intentions. Trump won, and now all of these candidates who said he would never be the nominee are being forced to confront their pledge.
Several former candidates have already lived up to the promise. Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, and Ben Carson have all offered Trump their support. Even Lindsey Graham appears to have softened his anti-Trump stance. But many others remain silent.
On Sunday, one of Trump’s biggest rivals took the plunge. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said he would support Trump despite their differences.
“In my view, I know this: Despite all my differences with Donald Trump, I have a better chance to get a conservative nominated to the Supreme Court with him than I ever will with Hillary Clinton,” Rubio said.
It’s not exactly the kind of endorsement that lights up the Republican Party, but Rubio deserves credit for recognizing the real situation here. He seems to understand that this election isn’t between Trump and The Perfect Conservative. It’s between Trump and Hillary.
“If the Congress passes a law to repeal Obamacare, Donald Trump will sign it,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will veto it. If you talk about rolling back some of these damaging regulations to our economy, Donald Trump will support that. Hillary Clinton will oppose it. Those things matter. These are important issues.”
It’s simply mind-boggling that more Republicans aren’t getting this. Many of them appear fully willing to throw this election away and try again in four years. As though we can afford four more years of ultra-liberal policies handed down from a Democrat executive. They’re more concerned about their hurt feelings and their personal ambitions and the purity of the Republican Party than they are about the country.
Rubio’s quasi-endorsement may not be a game changer, but maybe it will make some people (ahem, Mr. Ryan) rethink their positions.