Richard Greene

Establishment Republicans are on the wrong track

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighs in on the Republican presidential race.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney weighs in on the Republican presidential race. AP

A persistent theory of the motives of establishment Republicans who oppose their party’s presumptive nominee was developed soon after Donald Trump came out on top in the states’ primaries across the country.

The speculation goes that it was something like this: Let’s help Hillary Clinton win the White House so we can say “we told you so” to those who opposed business as usual and traditional establishment candidates.

It’s past time to give up on such a bad idea.

The result would be so damaging to the conservative cause that the concept of limited government could be lost for all time.

A leading voice of the “never Trump” initiative has been that of the most recent losing establishment candidate for the presidency.

Mitt Romney really doesn’t like Donald Trump. He sounds just like the Democrats, from Clinton through the ranks, in his attacks on Trump.

Although he sort of acknowledges voter frustration, Romney seems to have missed the magnitude of what is happening around the country.

The clear reason for Trump’s popularity is that voters have had enough of those in his party who campaign on limiting what comes out of Washington, D.C., then join right in with liberals in Congress to enlarge the role of the federal government.

Their frustrated voices have been heard. Trump has garnered more votes than any candidate seeking the GOP nomination in Republican history.

He literally shattered the previous record, while defeating 16 opposing candidates in the process.

I certainly recognize that Donald Trump does not fit into the ideal of conservatism as defined by Ronald Reagan.

But there is one thing that I believe just about everyone on the right will confirm: There is nothing about the alternative choice before us in November that would in any way result in salvaging what is left of conservatism.

Trump was not my first choice among the candidates seeking the GOP nomination. Nor was he my second, third or fourth. I didn’t rank him at all, because my early take on his candidacy was that it would be short-lived.

But now he’s become the only hope to defeat Clinton and her promise to continue the expansion of government that has grown exponentially during the past eight years, often without the consent of Congress.

So, while Republican elites like Mitt Romney pursue their shortsighted efforts to derail Trump, our country’s future hangs in the balance.

Maybe Trump doesn’t need their help. He sure doesn’t seem to express any concern over their attacks.

While sounding more engaged with specifics in recent speeches, he shows few signs of dealing with party critics at the expense of his own manner and style that has brought him this far.

His response to Romney’s attacks was vintage Trump: “Mitt Romney had his chance to beat a failed president but he choked like a dog,” Trump tweeted. “Now he calls me racist — but I am (the) least racist person there is.”

Predictably, his supporters cheer his rejection of those who may just be securing their place in the history of the way things used to be.

If mobilizing multitudes of voters who showed up in state after state to give him a surprising victory within the party where they have found such dissatisfaction can be achieved nationwide, we are in for a race unlike any most of us have ever witnessed.

Sorting through two terribly flawed candidates, perhaps the final decision will be made by a combination of those who fear the big government policies of Clinton and those who hope that Trump will actually rein in a central power structure out of control.

Richard Greene is a former Arlington mayor and served as an appointee of President George W. Bush as regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.