At the recent governor’s debate hosted at the Silicon Slopes Tech Summit, the six Republican candidates were asked by moderator Clint Betts if they don’t support Trump. To the surprise of more than a few Utah politicos, nobody on that stage raised their hand. I found myself disappointed, but not terribly surprised. You shouldn’t be either, but probably not for the reasons you may be thinking.
Moderator asks if anyone on the stage DOESN'T support Trump.
No hands are raised.
— Bethany Rodgers (@BethRodgersSLT) January 31, 2020
As a private citizen who is unlikely to ever have to work with Donald Trump, I have the luxury of calling him the fascist grifting mobster that he is. This earns the ire of his cultish fans, but I have no problem with that. It’s also the full extent of consequences I would suffer for such a blunt and scathing statement. I’ve been online long enough to handle some mean and angry words on the Internet.
One of the people on that stage is going to be the next governor. As such, they will be required to work with whoever is president when they take office next year. Donald Trump is running for reelection. The possibility exists (though the probability debatable) that he will be reelected.
We also know that Donald Trump is a vindictive petty toddler towards people who have slighted him in any way. Many Republicans in elected office who took him to task in the past either have become suddenly mute or enthusiastic cheerleaders, no doubt to avoid the president’s poison tweets. Congresscritters do it to avoid having their legislation blocked or vetoed. Governors have to do it to be able to sit at the negotiating table. The price they would pay, political impotence, is far greater than the price I pay of blocking a few Twitter trolls.
Would I be momentarily enthusiastic at one of the candidates pointing out what an authoritarian, con artist, and uncouth bully Trump is? Would I delight in them calling his fans and cheerleaders the cultists and cowards that they are? Yes. Yes I would. And it would be a terrible move for the good of the state. As Dave Owen said on a recent episode of The Vanocur Group podcast, “if it feels good, don’t do it”. In this case, the candidates have made discretion the better part of valor.
Footnote: Greg Hughes is the obvious exception. He got on the Trump Train early and is practically a conductor. So gross.