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    Saturday, July 20, 2024

    Republicans in Connecticut can explain backing Trump

    Why is former state Sen. George Logan, who is sure to get the Republican nomination for U.S. representative from Connecticut's 5th District again, dancing around the question of whether and how much he supports his party's presumptive nominee for president, former President Donald Trump?

    According to the Waterbury Republican-American, at a campaign event in Kent the other day Logan told participants to turn off their mobile telephones and cameras before declaring that he twice had voted for Trump and planned to do so again.

    Does Logan really think anyone imagines he had done and would do otherwise? Does Logan really think he can get through a campaign evading the Trump question without looking like a horse's hindquarters?

    For there is little danger to Logan in being candid. Renomination is his. Trump partisans won't try to deny it to him, since two years ago he lost to Democratic U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes by only 2,000 votes. On Election Day no Trump supporters are likely to cut Logan and thereby help Hayes, who is practically a member of the far-left Democratic "squad" in the House.

    Yes, Logan and other Connecticut Republicans need to explain how they stand on Trump, but there is a good explanation. It's that there are many objectionable things about Trump but most involve his personality, his alternately disgraceful and ridiculous demeanor, and his personal and business activities, even as there are also many objectionable personal things about the presumptive Democratic nominee, President Joe Biden, especially the corrupt influence-peddling business of his family over which he has presided and from which he almost surely has profited, and his senility.

    Biden can be said to be even more objectionable than Trump for his administration's policies: open borders and the costly flood of illegal and unvetted immigration; the proxy war with Ukraine against Russia and the risk that it will become nuclear; keeping a terrorist movement in power in Gaza with American hostages; rampant inflation; the financial bailout of overpriced higher education through forgiveness of student loans; transgenderism; and the assault on free speech.

    That is, issues may be much weightier than character this time.

    Polls suggest that this is what half the country already believes. Of course Connecticut is more Democratic-inclined than the nation, but even many people who usually vote Democratic here are troubled by Biden's failings and might be persuaded that the country needs more moderate Republicans in Congress to check them.

    Conceding Trump's failings while explaining why he is still the better choice for president might make Logan seem courageous, candid and independent even if he was only going along with the obvious.

    For independent beats evasive every time, and neither Hayes nor any other Democrat in Congress from Connecticut will strike an independent pose though they all should have worked to get their party to nominate someone else for president.

    At their debate Thursday night President Biden lapsed in and out of coherence and Donald Trump lapsed in and out of demagoguery. But the debate may have been settled after 12 minutes when Biden fell apart in the middle of an answer. Biden later was incoherent on other issues, including illegal immigration, where he most needs a strong defense, and he evaded the crucial question about his age and mental competence.

    By contrast Trump was vigorous and aggressive, though by the count of debate sponsor CNN's fact checker he surpassed Biden on lies, misstatements and exaggerations by about 30 to nine.

    Trump repeatedly ignored questions, instead attacking Biden on illegal immigration, the Afghanistan debacle and foreign policy. Trump's attacks may have been effective but only at the expense of what he also needed to do: show himself careful and statesmanlike now rather than still angry, reckless and vain.

    It was as if Trump if had never heard that one should never try to murder a man who's committing suicide, as Biden was doing on stage with him.

    In their awfulness Biden and Trump remain each other’s main rationale for support. So maybe the debate's winner will turn out to have been third-party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

    Chris Powell has written about Connecticut government and politics for many years. He can be reached at CPowell@cox.net.

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