While many Republican lawmakers are keeping their distance from Donald Trump, fearing that he is a psychopath running a campaign teetering toward demagogic authoritarianism and likely to lose badly, Arkansas Republicans have been more than happy to accept the Donald's air kisses
. Of course Sen. Tom Cotton
, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
, and Gov. Asa Hutchinson
all showed up in Cleveland to speak on Trump's behalf. Hutchinson, who once said that "it is up to Arkansas to stop the Donald Trump show," this week said that "Donald Trump is the right leader for our time."
The state Republican party's chairman Doyle Webb
, in addition to lending his face to symbolize the diversity of the Trump coalition
, brags that Arkansas Republicans were early boarders on the Trump train.
And even the rank and file Republican lawmakers who previously backed other candidates are falling in line.
As you can see from the tweet above, Sen. Bart Hester
, former state chair of the Marco Rubio campaign, is enjoying his inevitable conversion experience to Trumpista. He later offered the hashtags #winning and #winningbig.
Rep. Michelle Gray
and Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson are also feeling
Senate Majority Leader Jim Hendren
said that Trump's speech was "good stuff" and that he was "killing it."
Sen. Jason Rapert
has been preaching every which way on social media to try to rally Republicans in support of Donald Trump (here's a whole video on the topic
): "[W]e MUST now support Trump."
This is just a scattering of examples—lots of other Arkansas Republicans have fallen for Trump. And normally that wouldn't be newsworthy at all. Republicans support Republican candidate for president. Duh.
But this isn't normal. Trump is not a normal candidate for president. Under the circumstances, it is worth noting the choice that our leaders are making.