Conservatives should vote for the Republican nominee. Donald Trump needs a unified Republican party in the homestretch if he is to have any chance left of catching Hillary Clinton — along with winning higher percentages of the college-educated and women than currently support him. But even before the latest revelations from an eleven-year-old Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump crudely talked about women, he had long ago in the primaries gratuitously insulted his more moderate rivals and their supporters. He bragged about his lone-wolf candidacy and claimed that his polls were — and would be — always tremendous — contrary to his present deprecation of them. Is it all that surprising that some in his party and some independents, who felt offended, swear that they will not stoop to vote for him when in extremis he now needs them? Or that party stalwarts protest that they no longer wish to be associated with a malodorous albatross hung around their neck? That question of payback gains importance if the race in the last weeks once again narrows. Trump had by mid September recaptured many of the constituencies that once put John McCain and Mitt Romney within striking distance of Barack Obama. And because Trump has apparently brought back to the Republican cause millions of the old Reagan Democrats, various tea-partiers, and the working classes, and since Hillary Clinton is a far weaker candidate than was Barack Obama, in theory he should have had a better shot to win the popular vote than has any Republican candidate since incumbent president George W. Bush in 2004.
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