Trump’s at it again: making stupid statements. But at least one Wisconsin Democrat wants to make all Republicans answer for them.
Trump is being sued in a class action over allegations he defrauded people who attended his “Trump University.” Everyone knows about his comments about the Indiana-born judge of Mexican descent presiding over the case. The comments were ridiculous and the insinuation that the judge isn’t qualified to preside over the case because of his family lineage is straight-up racist.
The most prominent Republicans who one might argue have a responsibility to take a stand on the comments have done exactly that.
Gov. Scott Walker – a former top-tier presidential candidate – has been highly critical of Trump’s comments. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Trump’s comments are “textbook” racist. The venerable Rep. Reid Ribble called Trump a racist. Sen. Ron Johnson was also critical of the comments. Numerous others have appropriately denounced Trump’s rant, and will likely continue to do so as the rant parade (general election) goes on.
While most continue to support Trump’s candidacy, it’s increasingly at arm’s length and everyone knows it’s a matter of political expediency to do so. Few, perhaps with the exception of soon-to-be-failed Ryan challenger Paul Nehlen, do not regret that Trump is the nominee.
Suddenly, however, it’s the business of state-level candidates to weigh in, at least according to Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling. Per her statement:
“Donald Trump’s latest remarks have been labeled ‘indefensible’ and ‘racist’ by many in his own party, yet Wisconsin’s Senate Republicans continue to stand by their nominee. They’ve made it crystal clear that they think Donald Trump’s message of racism, xenophobia and misogyny will help them win elections.”
“Donald Trump, through his repeated actions and words, has proven he is too divisive, dangerous and erratic to be President. In order to move our state forward, I implore my Republican colleagues to denounce Mr. Trump’s hateful rhetoric and unconditionally reject his presidential candidacy.”
Republican state Senate candidates have “made it crystal clear that they think Donald Trump’s message of racism, xenophobia and misogyny will help them win elections?” No, they haven’t. The statement is blatant nonsense.
It’s a textbook effort to transform the bloviations of an inane national candidate into a political issue at the local level, a reversal of the old axiom that all politics is local. For Shilling, all politics is national and campaign wedge issues rain down from above.
State Senate candidates don’t need to weigh in on Trump’s comments. Doing so would be a fool’s errand – the gaffes by Trump won’t end any time soon, so state candidates who waste time entertaining questions about him will force themselves to do so again and again, ignoring issues Wisconsin voters care most about.
Many important issues face the state – transportation funding, K-12 education, higher ed, rural broadband access, and so many others. Shilling’s demand that Republican candidates talk about Trump instead of issues important to the next legislative session is a disservice to the Wisconsin public.
Perhaps Republicans should demand to know why Shilling wants them to take their eye off the ball and tarnish local elections with inanity that’s irrelevant to the jobs they seek this fall.