"Except for 9-11," Trump said. And just like that, Trump let it be known that while he was running as a Republican he wasn't bound by its past. It was a curious test to see how much of what Republicans claimed to believe or believe in would actually make a difference in their support.
Over the years Republicans have offered a variety of reasons for voting for one candidate vs. another. It turns out, they were all negotiable in spite of the passion they brought to the topic at the time.
Republicans couldn't vote for Clinton because of his womanizing.
Trump is a serial adulterer who eventually marries one of the women he's cheating with and meanwhile brags that he can grab any woman by the pussy.
Oh well, say the Republicans.
Republicans wouldn't vote for Carter or Kennedy or Clinton because they were too ready to negotiate with dictators and foreign countries who were hostile to our interests.
Trump colludes with Putin to hack emails from the Clinton campaign and release those to the press, timing those releases for maximum damage to Clinton's candidacy.
Well it's not like Putin is a communist, say Republicans. I mean, that's why we didn't like Russians.
I can't vote for Obama. He's the junior senator from Illinois. He has no experience!
Trump is the first president in history to have neither military nor government experience of any kind. He wasn't even a dog catcher or private in the army, much less governor or general.
But he's made so much money, Republicans say.
*Republicans didn't vote for Obama because deficits were out of control.
Trump's plan to stabilize (perhaps increase) government spending even while slashing taxes will cause the deficit to balloon by an extra $5 trillion according to various neutral analysts.
Well no, Republicans say. The economy will grow so much that there will be no deficit. Those forecasts are wrong because it assumes that GDP growth will be no higher than its average over the last 50 to 100 years. As a matter of fact, it'll be terrific. Just amazing.
Republicans wouldn't vote for Clinton because she's a liar.
Nearly 80% of what Trump said at rallies and in debates was false, a record for a modern candidate.
Harumph, says your Republican friend. As if we can trust data from the media. We can't even trust government data. Those fact-checkers are rigged.
Do you vote Republican because you believe in free trade and corporations ability to trade and outsource as best works for them?
Trump wants to put an end to trade that will export jobs and stop corporations like Apple from doing things like making their phones in China rather than Sunnyvale.
Well he didn't mean that, Republicans say. Didn't you yourself just point out that most of what he says is false?
And do you vote Republican because you believe in the sanctity of the church and religious freedom? Trump wants a religious test for any immigrants. He wants to jettison the first amendment.
Well its just for Muslims, say Republicans. That's not a true religion so it's not protected y the first amendment.
He's even attacked other Republicans. Threatened to turn his voters against them if they don't back him. He's shown his willingness to bring down the party if they don't support him.
The media is making too big a deal of this, says Republicans. It's just politics.
He won't even accept a loss at the polls. He doesn't even support democracy.
Well I don't believe that. He's just protecting himself from a rigged election.
He talks casually about re-negotiating the government debt, as if that wouldn't set off a financial crisis that would make 2008 seem tame. The dollar would collapse and so might any number of markets.
You're just saying that. He wouldn't do that and besides it wouldn't do what you think it would.
It sort of looks like he stands against everything you've claimed to be for. So, will you vote for him?
Will it shut you up if I tell you that I'll vote for Gary Johnson?
Meanwhile, from fivethirtyeight, Harry Enten reports this
Trump won 90 percent of self-identified Republican voters, a higher percentage than Clinton won of Democratic voters.
As it turns out, even though Trump promised things that should have alienated evangelicals, free traders, pro-corporate folks, and social conservatives, he still won the hearts and minds of Republicans. What does this suggest? Either the only thing that actually matters to them is tax cuts or that you could put a dog in a sweater, call it the Republican nominee, and Republicans would still vote for it. It's a loyal bunch who is not going to leave you for silly reasons like policy. My advice? Marry a Republican because apparently there's nothing you can do to alienate them.