A Letter To My Republican Friends: Country Trumps Party

I need to say a few words to my Republican friends.

Most of you are pragmatic thinkers. You've built impressive businesses and created lots of jobs and tax revenues. You believe in good things: that entrepreneurs and small businesses are critical drivers of prosperity and growth in America; that we have too many regulations, and that government ought to work more with business as a partner rather than as an adversary to make society better.

As loyal Republicans, you can't imagine yourself supporting Hillary Clinton. Her policies simply don't align with a lot of your views.

But there are times when country has to trump party. And that time is now.

That's why every Republican has to do whatever it takes to block Donald Trump from ascending to the White House. He is dangerous. He is unpredictable. And the damage he could do to this country, to our economy, and to our national security, even in just one short term, could be catastrophic.

He's finally on a teleprompter, using scripts written for him by political consultants. So he may start sounding a bit more "reasonable." Of course, he has set such a low bar for himself that almost any sentence that doesn't include an outright racist remark will be seen as a sign of "improvement." Yet just hours after 49 innocent Americans were gunned down in Orlando, he was at his opportunistic best, jumping on the horrific tragedy to play politics and double down on his racist and completely unconstitutional proposal to ban all Muslims from entering this country.

So don't be fooled by this snake oil salesman. That goes for some of my Democrat friends, too, who are fooling themselves when speculating that Trump is actually far more liberal than he's portraying himself.

Donald Trump is a liar. He is a thin-skinned narcissist and megalomaniac, who can't take any form of criticism, flails under pressure, and certainly can't be trusted with any important policy issue, let alone our nuclear codes.

You'll never know what his policies really are because he doesn't have any. His only policy is Donald Trump.

Yet some of my Republican friends dismiss all that. They say that Trump "would still be better than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton."

Really?

Once you let the fox in the hen house, bad things happen.

What if Trump, as President, begins challenging our very Rule of Law in America? What if he continues to stoke fear and hate directly from the highest pulpit in the land, turning our nation into a racial pressure cooker? It wouldn't take much to do that now. And what if a few years in the White House gave him the time, the power and the state apparatus to build on his nationalistic movement? You think he's going away?

By the time we all wake up, it'll be too late. Trump has to be stopped right now, and we all have to work together to make that happen. Republicans and Democrats alike.

Maybe this is the moment to brush up on a little post-WWI Germany. Fear of growing communism combined with the humiliating destruction of German society gave Adolph Hitler the opening he needed. Until then he was a "fringe" candidate. Hitler already had the radical nationalists in his pocket. All he needed was enough mainstream moderates in German society, essentially the middle class, to provide the majority he needed to gain power. The moderates, more afraid of communism, ultimately saw Hitler as the lesser of two evils. They backed him as a candidate of last resort, and we know what happened next.

I'm not saying Trump is another Hitler. I'm saying there are comparisons to how someone like Trump could actually ascend to power.

America is not immune to the rise of demagogues. All it takes is enough fear (more terrorism), continued loss of traditional middle-class jobs (globalization and the technology revolution), growing diversity (a nation of color) and a broken system of government (divided Congress) that prevents us from addressing the serious problems our citizens are facing every day.

Enter Donald Trump. He's playing all of these "cards," and playing us, too.

He has used his television sales pitch to incite peoples' worst fears with talk of "Muslims" and "Mexicans." He has managed to bring many to his side. Now, all he has to do is sound a little more reasonable, and then convince just enough intelligent, pragmatic Republicans and some conservative Democrats, like some of my friends, to back him. That's all he needs.

If you believe in the principles of the Republican Party, it's tough to abandon your own Party's nominee. But Donald Trump is not your friend. And he is not a Republican. He represents the darkest of ideals, a party of hate and division.

We have an obligation to fight him every inch of the way. Those who don't must be held equally accountable for every horrible thing Trump says, and does, from this point forward. That includes you, too, CNN's Jeffrey Lord and Ashleigh McEnany.

So it's time to decide where your loyalties truly reside.

For me, country always trumps party.