Mr. Trump: If I Were To Thank You For One Thing, It Would Be This

Dear Mr. Trump,

I never thought I'd say this, but thank you. Since you announced your run for the presidency, you have held up a giant mirror, and shown us just who we are as a nation. Some of what we see reflected back is not so pretty; but by and large, our country's response to your candidacy has shown us that the character of America remains strong. By the latest estimates, the majority of the voting public -- including many within the rank and file of your own party's most respected individuals -- will not accept into the highest office of the United States, a Trump presidency.

As we review the past year since you've announced your candidacy, let's take a look at some defining moments from your campaign that was revelatory not only of your character, but that of this nation:

1. When you went after Mexicans (June 2015):
It was the kind of ill-conceived, stereotypical and irresponsible statement that would characterize your run for office: "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best... They're sending people that have lots of problems... They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists."

What was the nation's response?
There was the natural public shock and outrage; and high-ranking GOP officials disavowed your views from those of the Republican Party. This was soon followed by leading brands like NBC; Macy's, ESPN, NASCAR, PGA (among a long list of others) that severed ties, costing you from estimates of $50-80 million in lost business deals. On the very heels of your announcement for candidacy, many of us thought your statement would be the end of the very beginning. But not so; it was simply the beginning of a long, and drawn out affair that would see not only see a long list of business defections, but of political defections as well.

2. When you went after Sen. John McCain (July 2015):
If there's a Holy of Holies of American politics, it's a decorated war hero, who happens to be a well-respected leader in your own party. Your political disagreements with him escalated last year when you directly challenged his military reputation: In reference to Sen. McCain's five years as a tortured POW in Vietnam, you had this to say: "He's not a war hero... I like people who weren't captured."

If there ever was a moment to collectively face-palm, this was it. Not only did it demonstrate a complete lack of sensitivity for what was undoubtedly a traumatic experience, not just for Sen. Mccain, but for tens of thousands of current and former US Military personnel; it also revealed a complete disregard for the the norms of political discourse or civility. It's okay to disagree with an individual over their views, but to malign them so personally, and so publicly falls well below the temperament required of a leader interviewing for the most powerful office in the world.

What was the nation's response?
We questioned your judgement as a statesman and leader. We wondered how you could serve as a legitimate representative of the Republican Party when a whole cohort of its leaders repudiated your statements in strongest terms. Among them was this blunt message from South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham on Twitter: "If there was ever any doubt that @realDonaldTrump should not be our commander in chief, this stupid statement should end all doubt."

3. When you went after Megyn Kelly (August 2015-April 2015)
Conservative Fox News Commentator, Megyn Kelly directly challenged various statements you made about women: everything from labeling them "fat pigs", "dogs", "slobs", and "disgusting animals" to making derogatory sexual references to them in professional contexts. Rather than take accountability, you defended your virtue of vulgarity, countering with this deflective statement: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. In the following days you made a controversial reference to Megyn Kelly's blood flows; and over the course of nine months continued to disparage and undermine her qualifications as a journalist for calling you out on an important issue.

Now, Compare your comments with the sitting president's recently published essay on feminism, and you'll see just how high the bar has been raised on the issue in the Oval Office.

What was the nation's response?
I think it's fair to say that you've lost the female vote this election. Poll after poll shows widening female voter support for Clinton as the election nears. In fact, NPR projects that the gender gap this year will likely be the largest in 60 years -- which is as far as such poll data goes back. And here's the stinger: While 7/10 young women (35 and younger) are likely to vote for Clinton in November; over half of them are doing so as a vote against you -- not necessarily because they support her.

4. When you went after U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel (May 2016)
With allegations of fraud culminating in a civil litigation against your now defunct Trump University, you publicly called for the Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel's removal from the case on the grounds of unfair treatment. Why? Because he is (a born-and raised American citizen) of Mexican heritage, who must therefore -- according to your logic -- harbor bias against you and your great wall agenda. When CNN Host Jack Tipper pressed you on the issue, clarifying, "If you are saying he cannot do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?" Your response, unsurprisingly, was "No, I don't think so at all."

What was the nation's response?
Your party's top ranking official, and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan contradicted you directly when he called your statement, "the textbook definition of a racist comment." The chorus of repudiation once again came from the rank and file of an increasingly frustrated GOP; and the pulse of the nation, just two weeks after your statements, revealed an unfavorability rating of 70 percent. For reference, you had polled at an unfavorability rating of 57 percent one month prior. By comparison, Clinton dropped from a 57 percent to 55 percent unfavorability rating within the same period.

You may think your politically incorrect ways were an asset, but in reality, it has slowly eroded away at your legitimacy for presidency with every controversial comment you've made. For the Clinton campaign, your gift of gab has been the gift that keeps on giving.

5. When you went after Muslims in general (December 2015), and the Khan family in particular (July 2016)
One of the most powerful moments of this year's Democratic National Convention was when the grieving parents of fallen U.S. Army Capt. Humayun Khan held up a copy of the U.S Constitution and questioned whether you had ever read the document. Because, how could you have called for the "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the U.S.", otherwise? In the days following, you responded by questioning Gold-Star mother, Ghazala Khan as she grieved in silence between a portrait of her late son, and a national viewing audience. Rather than view her silence as a reflection of her composed dignity and grief, you insinuated that her faith or culture forbid her from speaking. How wrong you were.

What was the nation's response?
"Without saying a thing, all the world, all America, felt my pain. I am a Gold Star mother. Whoever saw me felt me in their heart," wrote Ghazala Khan. And it was true -- within days, Capt. Humayun Khan's gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery became the most colorful memorial on the cemetery's 624 acre expanse as it overflowed with flowers, cards, and tokens of gratitude for his heroic service and sacrifice. How ironic it is that a humble tombstone bearing the Islamic symbol of the star and crescent did what you, with your vast resources, and "Make America great again" slogans, could not do in the course of your campaign: unite people of all faiths and backgrounds over common ground.

As for your political standing at this point: Media outlets both on the left and right called your feud-week with the Khans your worst week yet. How hard was the hit? In the lead-up to the DNC your poll numbers were slightly behind Clinton (41-45 percent); post convention finds you trailing a staggering 10 points behind. That's a lot of ground lost.

So, where does the road lead?
To your credit, your off-the-cuff, populist style initially played in your favor. You generated controversy and knew how to leverage the media to fuel your ascension. You dominated the 24-hour news cycles, and stirred the headlines as a non-establishment, non-conformist leader of the masses. You activated new voting groups, and successfully tapped into the fearful strains of the American political sub-culture that helped you surge ahead in the rankings and clinch the Republican party nomination. It seemed that your initial momentum just might get you close to the White House.

But this would all change very fast. The very tactics that once propelled you forward, are now the very same reasons for your downfall.

Today, we find a Republican Party that is divided and struggling to find its once mighty soul. You have forced the party into a painfully awkward dance reminiscent of a Faustian tango: While there is a reluctant embrace of you as the renegade standard bearer of the party; there is a leaning-away when it comes to the words you use, and the ideas you espouse. Many have refused on principle to take part in this disharmonious footwork, and have broken with party-lines to vote their conscience this election. And with just three months left before the election, 50 GOP national security officials released a jointly signed document that expressed their inability to vote for you; adding brutal criticism that you would be "the most reckless President in American History."

To secure the nomination of a major national party is no small feat. It takes courage, political savviness, and monumental drive to achieve, no doubt. But to ascend to the most powerful office in the world requires something much more: unifying values that give meaning to the words on the seal of our great nation: E Pluribus Unum (Out of Many, One). And, Mr. Trump, as these five episodes of your campaign have demonstrated, you are no unifier. The very character of your campaign is one that can be represented by the most iconic of your campaign promises: A stark dividing wall separating two peoples; one that you wish to build at cost of the other.

If your candidacy served a purpose, it was to demonstrate that the foundations of this country -- despite some cracks you helped reveal along the way -- are still strong. The concrete is being reinforced as we speak in the form the majority electorate's rejection of you as a viable candidate. Soon, your job here will be done. You will be fired. And America will remain great because of it.