I will never be mistaken for President of the Chuck Todd Fan Club, but I will give the host of Meet The Press his due. Politics has a lexicon all its own and Todd recently created a worthy new entrant to that nomenclature: “SINO” – a “Supporter In Name Only” of Donald Trump. The SINO phenomenon has been seen with regularity among Washington’s political class: tepid endorsements, the he-who-must-not-be-named treatment by people like Mitch McConnell, and twisted-into-a-pretzel justifications being used by those who once deemed him a “cancer” or a “con man” for their change of heart.
But the problem with SINOs is that they are sort of like the sell swords on Game of Thrones – they have no loyalty to you and as soon as the worm turns, they run away. As Trump’s attacks on people based on their religion, ethnicity, and gender have intensified, he is in danger of becoming a man without a country. The SINOs who grudgingly siddled up to him are now distancing themselves.
Consider the reaction to Trump’s inflammatory comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel. Not only is no one in Trump’s own party rising to his defense, they are stepping over each other to criticize the real estate mogul’s comments. When Hillary Clinton dropped a foreign policy speech that peeled the paint off Trump’s spray tanned façade, no one in the Republican Party rushed to his defense – there was no rapid response, no surrogates parachuting onto cable television to defend him, no point-by-point rebuttal, just Trump and a few lame tweets.
This should surprise no one. Politicians are, if nothing else, pragmatists. As Trump’s star fades, Republicans will continue distancing themselves from him. After all, why should they lose their cushy jobs and stellar perks for a guy who will not be remembered one second after the polls close on November 8th? More importantly, why should they risk the future of their party by being associated with a man who is single-handedly alienating every voting group critical to its future; they are doing a good enough job of that without Trump’s help.
But political survival is one thing, upholding the tenets you claim to revere is another. If SINOs truly valued country over party, they would do more than issue hyperbolic press releases denouncing their own standard bearer – they would come out and renounce their support of him and confess a dirty little secret many of them have long known: far from being a Rush Limbaugh-tarred-Femi-Nazi, Hillary Clinton is a roll-up-her-sleeves policy wonk who likes to get things done. In the Senate, she helped pass bi-partisan legislation and as Secretary of State, she took an active interest in the smallest of issues, like a gefilte fish company in a Republican Congressman’s district that was having trouble getting its shipment to Israel.
Of course, the problem in admitting this fact is the electoral support that has sustained many members of Congress and the ocean of money that has flowed into political consultants’ coffers for the past 25 years would dry up immediately and the bald-faced lies that sustain the vast right-wing conspiracy against Hillary would be exposed. Instead, SINOs will retreat from the dumpster fire in order to protect themselves and prepare for battle with another President Clinton.
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