As Trump arrives in Bangor, more Republicans step away

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

Donald Trump’s trip to Bangor comes at a time when many in his own party have distanced themselves from him.

This is a national phenomenon.

Trump is so toxic that Republicans are deciding not to go to the Republican National Convention and turning down speaking roles. Funding for the convention is low because sponsors don’t want to be associated with Trump. There is a NeverTrump effort to try to derail Trump from getting the nomination.

As the Washington Post recently reported:

Dozens of well-known Republicans aren’t showing up. There’s no word yet on who will speak. A growing number of corporate sponsors are taking a pass. Groups of white supremacists and other agitators are on the way, while the official protest routes are frantically being redrawn after being thrown out in court. And then there’s the fight to dethrone the big star. [source]

In explaining why he won’t vote for Trump, John McCain’s former chief of staff wrote:

He’s an ignoramus whose knowledge of public issues is more superficial than an occasional newspaper reader’s. He casts his intellectual laziness as a choice, a deliberate avoidance of expert views that might contaminate his ill-informed opinions. . . .

He possesses the emotional maturity of a 6-year-old. He can’t let go of any slight, real or imagined, from taunts about the length of his fingers to skepticism about his portfolio. So shaky is his psyche that he’s compelled to fits of self-sabotage to defend his self-regard, as was the case in his racist, politically devastating attacks on U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel. He views the powers of the presidency as weapons to punish people who’ve been mean to him – reporters, rival candidates, critics. “They better be careful,” he warns.

Trump’s comments about Judge Curiel were the last straw for long-time conservative pundit George Will, who announced he cannot support Trump and has unenrolled from the Republican Party.

Will is by no means alone among Republicans in finding Trump’s remarks unacceptable. In fact, a Morning Consult poll found that 56% of Republicans agreed the comments were either racist or “not racist but still unacceptable,” views shared by 69% of all those polled.

And what about Maine Republicans?

Gov. Paul LePage, who has made some lists of potential vice-presidential picks, will be with Trump at the Bangor rally.

There surely will be other elected Republicans there. It also would not be surprising to see former state Representative Alex Willette, a Maine National Republican Committeeman who is part of a group trying to thwart a rule that would unbind delegates at the Republican National Convention. Passing such a rule would enable the convention to pick a nominee other than Trump.

But incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin won’t be there

One poll has shown a slight lead for LePage in Poliquin’s congressional district. Yet Poliquin has kept his positive comments about Trump to events held behind closed doors.

Rep. Poliquin was elected with strong support from voters who are evangelical Christians, and this group backed Cruz over Trump in the Maine caucuses. While such voters are not likely to support Hillary Clinton, some might choose to simply not vote for any presidential candidate or to instead vote for the Libertarian Party candidate.

The most popular political figure in Maine, Sen. Susan Collins, will not be attending Trump’s event.

These absences are telling.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.