Editorial: Party’s almost over, Trump should step down

Poor Paul Ryan.

As the highest ranking elected member of the GOP, the Janesville Republican is the de facto head of his party, which began 162 years ago in Ripon’s one-room schoolhouse that stands today on Blackburn Street.

Back then, Whigs, Free Soilers and Democrats gathered to discuss how to respond to the Kansas-Nebraska bill that, if enacted, would repeal the 1820 Missouri Compromise restricting the spread of slavery. People from disparate factions gathered that cold, windy night in March 1854 to consider a cause greater than themselves.

The nobility of that meeting can’t be lost on Ryan as he has had to ponder how to respond to allegations that his party’s standard bearer has bragged about groping women’s genitals.

If Ryan disavows Trump, many will brand him a traitor. If he supports Trump, others will call him spineless. For putting Ryan and other Republicans in that no-win position, Trump should, for once, be selfless. He should resign from the top of the ticket.

Trump apologized for his 2005 predatory pronouncements; he should be forgiven. But mercy doesn’t permit him to destroy the Republican Party, risking 469 down-ballot races while dragging America deeper into the cultural cesspool that includes music, movies, TV and books that regularly objectify women.

The only other time the Commonwealth published an editorial on its front page was on Aug. 20, 1998. It called for the resignation of President Clinton, a man it claimed “whose sole moral compass is based on personal pragmatism and preservation of power.”

That fellow’s wife, Trump’s opponent, also is flawed in so many ways: Benghazi lies, a pay-to-play foundation, private email servers, a career littered by scandal, secrecy and arrogance. Hillary Clinton’s admission via WikiLeaks that a politician needs two positions — one that is genuine and one for the masses — would be disqualifying during a normal election campaign. It was not Lincolnesque; it was, to use her own word, “unsavory.”

But unsavory is not as bad as predatory, narcissistic, pro-Putin, ignorant, fickle, unstable, lazy, foolish, reckless, shallow, irresponsible, insensitive, impetuous, unpatriotic, vacuous, vain and selfish.

Either Trump steps down, now, or the Republican Party will be crippled if not destroyed.

Would the last person to leave the Little White Schoolhouse please turn out the lights? — Tim Lyke

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