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更新时间:2017/8/28 18:50:19 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Behold Our ‘Child King’

REPUBLICAN lawmakers have seen the Trump disaster coming for a while now. They simply have no clue what to do about it.


A couple of months ago — before we learned that Donald Trump Jr. wanted to spend quality time with people he believed represented the Russian government, before the president publicly humiliated his attorney general and was abandoned by top business executives, before he claimed “some very fine people” were marching in Charlottesville, Va., alongside neo-Nazis and white supremacists — a Republican member of Congress I spoke with called the president a “child king,” a “self-pitying fool.”

几个月前我和一位共和党国会议员交谈时,他说总统就是个“孩子王”,是个“顾影自怜的傻瓜”——那时我们还不知道小唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump Jr.)曾经打算和他认为代表俄罗斯政府的人物共度一段充实的时光;总统还没有公开羞辱他的司法部长,也没有被顶级企业高管们抛弃;他还没有把那些在弗吉尼亚州夏洛茨维尔同新纳粹与白人至上主义者们一起游行的人称为“一些相当不错的人”。

Even then, the words that came to mind when some congressional Republicans described the president were “incompetent” and “unfit.” There were concerns about his emotional stability. “There’s now a realization this isn’t going to change,” one top Republican aide on Capitol Hill said. Yet there is the simultaneous realization, as a House member told me when talking about Republicans in their home districts, that “we’re never going to have a majority of people against him.”


Maybe, but for now this presents Republican members of Congress who are privately alarmed by Mr. Trump with a predicament. Regardless of what he does, a vast majority of his core supporters are sticking with him. A recent Monmouth University poll found that of the 41 percent of Americans who currently approve of the job he’s doing, 61 percent said they cannot see Mr. Trump doing anything that would make them disapprove of him. Mr. Trump was on to something when he said in January 2016, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.”

可能是吧,但是如今,这表明私下里对特朗普感到担忧的共和党国会议员面临尴尬处境。不管他做什么,他的绝大多数核心支持者都依然坚决支持他。蒙茅斯大学(Monmouth University)最近的民意调查发现,现在,41%的美国人认同他正在做的工作,61%的人表示,他们不觉得特朗普做了任何能令他们反对他的事情。2016年1月,特朗普曾经一针见血地说过:“就算我站在第五大道中间枪杀了某个人,也不会失去选民的。”

The political problem facing Republicans is that Mr. Trump’s presidency is a wreck. His agenda is dead in the water. A special counsel is overseeing an investigation of his campaign. The West Wing is dysfunctional. And President Trump is deeply unpopular with most Americans.


A new Washington Post-ABC News poll illustrates the dilemma Republican politicians face. It found that 28 percent of polled voters say they approved of Mr. Trump’s response to Charlottesville. But among Republican voters, the figure was 62 percent, while 72 percent of conservative Republicans approved.

《华盛顿邮报》(Washington Post)与ABC新闻最新进行的一项民意调查显示出共和党政治家们面临的困境。调查发现,28%的选民表示他们认同特朗普对夏洛茨维尔事件的回应。但在共和党选民当中,这一数字是62%,而保守派共和党人当中有72%表示认同。

The more offensive Mr. Trump is to the rest of America, the more popular he becomes with his core supporters. One policy example: At a recent rally in Phoenix, the president said he was willing to shut down the government over the question of funding for a border wall, which most of his base favors but only about a third of all Americans want.


Much of this mess is of the Republican Party’s own making. Let’s not forget that Mr. Trump’s political rise began with his promulgation of the racist conspiracy theory that President Obama was not a natural-born American citizen. The Trump presidency is the result of years of destructive mental habits and moral decay. So there’s no easy solution for responsible Republicans. But there is a step they have to take.


They need to accept, finally, the reality — evident from the moment he declared his candidacy — that Mr. Trump is unfit to govern. He will prove unable to salvage his presidency. As the failures pile up, he’ll act in an even more erratic fashion.


The mental hurdle Republicans have to clear is that in important respects the interests of the Republican Party and those of Donald Trump no longer align. The party has to highlight ways in which it can separate itself from the president.


So far the response of many Republican leaders to Mr. Trump’s offenses has been silence or at most veiled, timid criticism. The effect is to rile up Trump supporters and Mr. Trump himself without rallying opposition to him. It’s the worst of all worlds.


What’s required now is a comprehensive, consistent case by Republican leaders at the state and national levels that signals their opposition to the moral ugliness and intellectual incoherence of Mr. Trump. Rather than standing by the president, they should consider themselves liberated and offer a constructive, humane and appealing alternative to him. They need to think in terms of a shadow government during the Trump era, with the elevation of alternative leaders on a range of matters.


This approach involves risk and may not work. It will certainly provoke an angry response from the Breitbart-alt-right-talk-radio part of the party. So be it. Republicans who don’t share Mr. Trump’s approach have to hope that his imploding presidency has created an opening to offer a profoundly different vision of America, one that is based on opportunity, openness, mobility and inclusion.


This requires a new intellectual infrastructure to address what may prove to be one of the largest economic disruptions in history. People in positions of influence need to make arguments on behalf of principles and ideas that have for too long gone undefended. They must appeal to moral idealism. And the party needs leaders who will fight with as much passionate intensity for their cause as Mr. Trump fights for his — which is simply himself. There’s no shortcut to forging a separate Republican identity during the Trump presidency. Half-measures and fainthearted opposition are certain to fail.


If Republicans need more encouragement to break with Mr. Trump, they might note that the president, who has no institutional or party loyalty, is positioning himself as a critic not just of Democrats but also of Republicans. During his rally in Arizona, he went out of his way to attack both of that state’s Republican senators, including one battling brain cancer. He followed that up with tweets attacking the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, and other Republican lawmakers.

如果共和党人需要更多鼓励才能同特朗普分手,他们可能会注意到,这位总统既没有对制度也没有对党派的忠诚,他对自己的定位不仅是民主党人的批评者,也是共和党人的批评者。在亚利桑那州的集会期间,他甚至攻击了那个州的两位共和党参议员,其中一位正在同脑癌搏斗。随后,他陆续发了几条推文,攻击众议院院长保罗D·瑞安(Paul D. Ryan),参议院多数党领导人米奇·麦康奈尔(Mitch McConnell)和其他共和党议员。

A confrontation is inevitable. The alternative is to continue to further tie the fate and the reputation of the Republican Party to a president who seems destined for epic failure and whose words stir the hearts of white supremacists.


We are well past the point where equivocations are defensible, and we’re nearly past the point where a moral reconstitution is possible. The damage Mr. Trump has inflicted on the Republican Party is already enormous. If the party doesn’t make a clean break with him, it will be generational.