On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program Tuesday, Donald Trump asked why people didn’t look into the reports that Ted Cruz’s father was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald, seeming to suggest that Cruz’s father was a part of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This was based on a baseless story from a publication that must be high on Trump’s reading list: The National Enquirer. This is the way, and the day, that Trump essentially won the Republican nomination for president. Do you really think November’s general election is going to be any different?


Bernie Sanders, do you remember Ralph Nader, that fighter for American consumers, political activist, one of the first to fight corporate America? He was a hero to many of us. Maybe you should pay close attention to what happened to him.

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Nader came to prominence in the early 1960s fighting the auto industry with a book called “Unsafe At Any Speed.” He’s still a crusader, but few listen to him anymore. People like me feel he cost Al Gore that 2000 election and thereby gave us George W. Bush as president.


So Bernie, what does this have to do with you? You don’t want to be the one whom people blame for the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the rise of Trump.


There’s one warning for Bernie, and here’s another for Democrats: Stop taking Trump for granted, and believing that the general election is in the bag for Clinton. The Republican leadership in the U.S. Senate and House took Trump for granted; remember, we started with 16 potential Republican candidates, and look what has happened.


Democrats need to get off the pinnacle on Mount Olympus and take a look around the actual political landscape. This is not going to be a cakewalk. We are talking about a seismic change in the American political psyche. This kind of political realignment happens once in a generation. The last one was the Reagan Revolution.


The point is, Bernie, now is the time for unity. Hey, I get where you’re coming from, but ultimately, Hillary has more votes than you, more pledged delegates, more super delegates and has won more states. I respect the campaign you’ve run, and what you stand for — and I used to feel the same way about Ralph Nader. But continuing at this point, like Nader, you risk becoming a spoiler. Please, do the honorable thing and meet with Clinton, bargain for the issues of importance to you to be a part of the party platform, and I hope a voice in the fall campaign.


With the unpredictability of Trump, we don’t need to be reminded of that funny line of Will Rogers: “I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.”


Trump has no moral compass other than a mirror. If he suggests that Cruz’s father helped assassinate an American president, imagine what he’ll come up with or stoop to regarding Clinton. This is going to be one of the ugliest campaigns in American history. We need to come together and unite.

 

Mark Segal, Philadelphia Gay News publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at MarkSegalPGN or Twitter at PhilaGayNews. His memoir AND THEN I DANCED is available online and at your favorite bookstore.

 

 

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