Most campaigns have a very simple goal: to win. We give our money, our time, our effort and our credibility to elect those candidates who share our priorities, inspire our trust and promote our values.

But this year is different; winning—beating a man variously described as unfit, unhinged, demagogic, dishonest, delusional, infantile, impulsive, colossally irresponsible, and deferential to the Kremlin to boot—won't be enough.
We need a landslide of avalanche proportions all down the ballot to, not only defeat Donald Trump, but to crush Trumpism beyond resuscitation. We have become accustomed, cycle after cycle, to hearing this time the stakes are uniquely high. Every campaign since I've come into political consciousness has been deemed by one side, the other, or both as "The most significant election of our lifetime". Yet no prior election featured a major party candidate who called unequivocally for the exclusion of people based on their religion and ethnicity. None offered a major party candidate who believed that the use of nuclear weapons is at the President's casual discretion. No previous election presented a major party platform that set the stage for autocracy and threatened the viability of whole swathes of the Bill of Rights.


No party has ever before put forward a candidate whose ascendance to major party nominee was predicated on lie upon lie upon lie-- about personal wealth, business acumen, charitable giving and more. Finally, none involved a major candidate who made light of how Second Amendment supporters might eliminate his opponent without honoring the democratic process.

It's one thing to say that Trump's GOP-knowing enablers need to be taught a lesson, as many commentators have said. It's another to make it a lesson they aren't able to forget. Yes, many GOP incumbents and challengers, reading which way the wind is blowing, have forsaken their Presidential nominee. But it's bit late for that. It's not as if Trump hadn't demonstrated at every step along his way that he doesn't have the temperament, character, experience or relationship to the truth to be expected of a President. Yes, disavowals trickled in over time. But these mass desertions have more to do with polling than principle; the defections accelerated only when down ballot candidates saw the top of the ticket drop to historic lows.

If we allow this GOP to prevail in House and Senate races, the Party won't have learned much at all. Republicans may not have gotten their cake, but they would have plenty to dine on: continued domination of the legislature, despite the contempt for the health, stability and basic principles of our Republic evident in their craven concession to Trump's fear-driven followers.

Please don't take heart from the Presidential polls. Winning the White House is not enough to ensure that we no longer live in a country where a major party encourages bigotry, poisons the discourse with epithets and lies, incites violence and goads the worst to be their worst. It's with us to trigger this avalanche. Help get out the vote for every Democrat for every office in every State, so we will never have to contend with a candidate as antithetical to America ever again.


August 16, 2016

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