An Open Letter To Influential Trump Supporters

Dear influential Trump supporters,

I am writing to urge you to do everything in your power to persuade Donald Trump to step aside and endorse Mike Pence as the Republican presidential nominee, for three reasons:

1) The good of our country;
2) The good of your party; and
3) Your self-interest.

I've long had grave concerns about Trump becoming president, but his words and actions over the past couple of months have now convinced me - and countless others, including the former head of the CIA, Michael Morrel, and 50 GOP national security experts - that he is a genuine threat to not only the future of our country, but also, in light of the President's unilateral power over our nuclear weapons, to human civilization.

This is not self-interested, partisan advice - in fact, it's directly contrary to my desire to see Hillary Clinton elected (albeit not with tremendous enthusiasm, but as a lifelong Democrat). You've seen the polls and know as well as I do that, if Trump is her opponent, it is highly likely that she will win (70-86%, according the various polling firms and oddsmakers). So, selfishly speaking, I would hope that he stays in the race.

But the danger is too great for me to think selfishly - too much is at stake. Thus, I am urging you to do something that, if successful, would meaningfully reduce Clinton's odds of winning.

Though I'm sure you don't look to Warren Buffett for political advice, you can no doubt understand the wisdom of his words when he said:

Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.

If Trump steps aside now and the GOP selects Mike Pence to replace him at the top of the ticket, the odds of Republicans taking back the White House, in my estimation, would at least double. Pence is far too conservative for me, but by all accounts he's an intelligent, experienced, decent man with no skeletons in his closet. Imagine the reaction: the Republican base would be euphoric and hundreds of millions of dollars from donors large and small would pour in.

Given that a majority of Americans now have an unfavorable view of Clinton, it could easily turn into a landslide in the other direction! I would be deeply upset by this outcome, but if the alternative is even a small chance that Trump could be our next President, it's a trade-off I'd take in a heartbeat, however unhappily.

Such a withdrawal at this stage of the race would, of course, be unprecedented - but I actually think it would be quite easy for Republicans to switch horses. All Trump has to do is announce the following:

It has become clear to me that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party and the liberal media will never allow the American people to elect me. The game is rigged.

Because I believe, for the future of our great country, that it is so important that Hillary be stopped, I have decided to step aside and endorse Mike Pence as the Republican nominee to be the next President of the United States.

I have no doubt that, after a few days of uncertainty, the RNC would make it official - what other choice do they have? Ryan? Cruz? Rubio? Not likely...

Lastly, this course of action is also very much in your self-interest because, in supporting Trump, you are jeopardizing your reputation - permanently. A significant number of Americans - especially your well-educated peers, both Democrats and Republicans - have rejected Trump and what he stands for, to the point that they are questioning the character and/or thinking of those who support him. As Charles Blow wrote recently, "acceptance of racism is an act of racism."

Because of your wealth and power, I suspect that most people won't say anything to your face, but behind your back, they'll be saying to one another (as a friend said to me of a mutual friend): "That's the guy who's supporting the racist lunatic for President." Is that what you want to be known for? Do you really want to have to explain this your grandchildren?

I've heard the rationalization that, "Hey, I'm a Republican and all I'm doing is supporting my party's candidate for President. It's not a big deal." But this time it's different. With his denigration and demonization of immigrants, Muslims and women, his calls for violence, etc., Trump isn't the same as mainstream Republican candidates like McCain, Romney, Rubio, Walker, Cruz and the Bushes. Supporting him will likely cause significant and long lasting damage to your well-earned good reputation.

I think odds are slim that you'll be successful in persuading Trump to drop out: his ego is too large and he's too disconnected from reality (until the very end, he'll be convinced that he's going to win), but I urge you to at least try.

If he doesn't, do the right thing - for your country, your party and yourself - and withdraw your support.

Sincerely yours,

Whitney Tilson