... if I lived in any of the nine Super Tuesday states that allow non-Republicans to vote in their GOP presidential primary, I would cross over -- forfeiting my chance to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders -- and vote for Rubio. Other liberals should do the same. Those who can should write him checks. Whatever it takes to stop the nomination of Donald Trump.Here's Beinart's argument:
... Once Trump is nominated, America will have crossed a line.But if Republican voters are about to nominate Donald Trump, and the only thing standing in the way of that is intervention on the part of non-Republicans, why would we want the terms of debate between the two parties to remain roughly the same? If I'm a woman married to a violent, reckless man, and just as I'm about to leave him he pulls a gun on me, but he's prevented from killing me only because a neighbor intervenes, should I stay because the worst-case scenario was averted? Like the abusive husband, hasn't the GOP conclusively demonstrated that it's crazy and dangerous? Will it really be "stabilized" if outsiders prevent Trump's nomination?
A man who does not respect constitutional limits and who preys upon vulnerable minorities will lead one of the two major parties. The consequences, though hard to measure, could be profound. A few days ago in Iowa, fans at a high-school basketball game chanted, “Trump,” at the opposing team, which comprised Latino, African American, and Native American players. They wielded the name of the man who could become president as a racial slur. Protesters at Trump’s rallies have been beaten. Last year, in Boston, two men beat a Hispanic man with a metal pipe while yelling, “Trump was right.” Just imagine what might happen if were Trump nominated or, God forbid, elected. In myriad ways, America would become an uglier, scarier place.
If Rubio won, by contrast, the Republican Party might be stabilized. The terms of debate between the two parties would remain roughly the same.
The Republican Party needs to live with the shame of nominating Donald Trump. The political establishment needs to live with the knowledge that it spent years in denial about how much extremism there is in the GOP until Trump emerged and made that extremism impossible for even the most obtuse observer to ignore.
I agree with Beinart that liberals need to enlist in the effort to stop Trump. But the time to stop him is in November, not now. Republicans are making their choice, and they should do that unimpeded. And then we all need to step back and assess the damage to America from what they've done, and place the blame where it belongs: with Republicans.
Beinart' says that a major difference between the two candidates is that "Rubio respects the Constitution, and in particular, the Bill of Rights. Trump does not." But is that true? Matt Yglesias tweets:
As usual, Rubio used a lot of weasel words, back in November, but here's what he said:
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) seems to be going further than even Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in advocating the crackdown of U.S. Muslims. He doesn’t just want to consider shutting down mosques, as Trump says, but wants to shut down “any place where radicals are being inspired.”There's also Rubio's implicit support for torture, as expressed in a debate last month:
“It’s not about closing down mosques. It’s about closing down any place — whether it’s a cafe, a diner, an internet site — any place where radicals are being inspired,” Rubio said on Fox News’ The Kelly File on Thursday night when asked if he agreed with Trump. “The bigger problem we have is our inability to find out where these places are, because we’ve crippled our intelligence programs, both through unauthorized disclosures by a traitor, in Edward Snowden, or by some of the things this president has put in place with the support even of some from my own party to diminish our intelligence capabilities.”
“So whatever facility is being used -- it’s not just a mosque -- any facility that’s being used to radicalize and inspire attacks against the United States, should be a place that we look at,” he continued.
"I believe the world is a safer and a better place when America is the strongest power in the world, and I believe only with a strong America will we defeat this radical group, this apocalyptic group called ISIS," said Rubio.... "If we capture any of these ISIS killers alive, they are going to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we're going to find out everything they know, because when I'm president, unlike Barack Obama, we will keep this country safe."Was Rubio really hinting at support for torture at Gitmo? Peter Beinart, please notw that a pundit you respect certainly thought so: Peter Beinart.
Later in the debate, Rubio reaffirmed his pledge to keep Guantanamo's doors open.... "We must keep America safe from this threat," Rubio added. "And yes, when I am president of the United States, if there is some place in this country where radical jihadists are planning to attack the United States, we will go after them wherever they are, and if we capture them alive, they are going to Guantanamo."
But now Beinart thinks Rubio understands constitutional restraint. Let's just say I have my doubts.
ALSO: Please see "Rubio Suggests Re-examination of Waterboarding," from 2011:
Saying that the U.S. government "can learn from a successful operation like you can learn from a mistake," Sen. Marco Rubio said it is time to revisit the issue of waterboarding....Trust him? I don't.
Florida's Republican senator, speaking by telephone Thursday, wasn't endorsing the technique, but he did say the success of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden provides a good opportunity to question how the intelligence was derived that made it happen.
"We need to find out how this information was gathered," Rubio said. He was referring to whether waterboarding -- or simulated drowning -- and other "enhanced interrogation" techniques used during the Bush administration helped the CIA learn about the courier who led to bin Laden's hide-out in Pakistan.
"Again, this is not for the purposes of saying we were right and you were wrong; it's for understanding what works and what doesn't," he said.