This year, the list of nominations was almost endless. It has been a political year like no other, but it has been dominated by one person, President-elect Donald Trump. He burst onto the political scene as a businessman and outsider who was tired of the insufferable weight of political correctness. He declared his goal was to “Make America Great Again,” by “draining the swamp” around Washington D.C. and putting “America First.”
It all started on June 16, 2015 before a huge crowd at the Trump Tower in New York City. In his initial speech, Trump claimed that the country needed a wall on the southern border and that Mexico would pay for it. He also lambasted Mexico for “sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Immediately, Trump was labeled a racist and the media started to ridicule his presidential plans. There were also efforts to financially harm Trump’s business empire. His Miss Universe show was dropped by television networks, the first indication that his presidential aspirations would be met with fierce opposition.
In the GOP race, Trump faced 16 seasoned challengers, many of them members of the Republican Party establishment. These candidates were quick to condemn Trump whenever he made a controversial comment. Many issues arose that gave his opponents fodder. Trump’s statements about Megyn Kelly of Fox News, Senator John McCain, and an Indiana judge presiding over the Trump University legal case caused continual controversy.
After he secured the Republican presidential nomination, there were other controversies such as his statements about a Muslim father who lost a son in the Iraq War, a former Miss Universe and his infamous remarks about women captured on a 2005 tape recording which was conveniently released to deflect from the WikiLeaks disclosures about Hillary Clinton. The icing on the political cake occurred when 12 women came forward to allege Trump sexually assaulted them.
In every one of these incidents, Trump was viciously attacked by the usual collection of news reporters, Hollywood celebrities and liberal politicians.
What was most upsetting was the fact that so many Republican politicians were critical of Trump and unwilling to support him. Former Presidents and GOP nominees George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush refused to endorse Trump, as did 2012 Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney. U.S. Senator and 2008 Republican Party presidential nominee John McCain was among several prominent Republicans who withdrew their support after the 2005 tape was released.
In addition, there was a collection of conservative misfits in the media and political worlds who refused to support Trump. This group was known as the “Never Trumpers” and included radio talk show host Glenn Beck, commentators Erick Erickson, George Will and Bill Kristol and Senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Overall, the group of so-called Republican establishment and conservative leaders who never supported Trump was quite large, even though he won the nomination fairly and was opposed by a corrupt liberal like Hillary Clinton.
Among this rather extensive list of “Never Trump” members, we selected our three Ringside Politics Turkeys of 2016. These were the worst of the worst because they betrayed their party and their reneged on a pledge to support the nominee. All 17 GOP candidates signed a pledge to support the eventual party nominee for President. Unfortunately, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Ohio Governor John Kasich placed their own political interests in front of their party and their country.
Not only did they make a horrific mistake, but they looked quite foolish in the process. Graham said that “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed.......and we will deserve it.” Not quite Lindsey, as Trump won 31 states and collected 306 electoral votes, the most won by a Republican presidential candidate since 1988.
Jeb Bush who was famously labeled “low energy” by Trump refused to endorse Trump or Clinton and indicated he would vote for a third-party candidate.
The most egregious political violation of the year was committed by Ohio Governor John Kasich who not only refused to endorse Trump but later confessed to writing in the name of John McCain as his choice.
Kasich refused to participate in the Republican National Convention which was held in his home state of Ohio. He did not welcome the delegates or attend any of the events which culminated in Trump’s nomination. He was under the delusion that he was the “most electable” Republican presidential candidate even though he only won one state, his home state of Ohio, in the primaries. In contrast, Trump won 37 states and four times the number of delegates as his nearest competitor.
In a year of the Trump political revolution, where one candidate defeated the combined forces of the political, business, media and globalist establishment, these three Republicans did not join the historic party.
They put their selfish interests first and lost badly and thus were the clear winners of the 2016 Ringside Politics Turkey of the Year Award.