Riding the Trump bus to a dark place

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So my own state representative has had enough.

Rep. Ken Rizer, R-Cedar Rapids, took to Facebook Saturday to explain why he could no longer “hold my nose” and vote for Republican nominee Donald Trump. For a former Air Force base commander who prosecuted sexual assaults, and the father of two daughters, the 2005 video of Trump bragging about how his celebrity permits him to assault women was that last straw.

“Trump’s comments reveal an arrogant lack of character unfitting for a college undergrad, for an Airman, and most certainly for our Commander in Chief. Objectifying/groping women and hitting upon a married woman are just the latest in a long list of evidence testifying to Trump’s lack of character,” Rizer wrote.

“Out of respect for women in my family and across America, I will be writing in Mike Pence. I take this action somberly, as I believe it will contribute to a Hillary presidency from which we may never recover. I can only hope and pray that our Constitution is more resilient than the inevitable continued assault upon it,” Rizer wrote.

Yes, clear evidence of Trump’s “arrogant lack of character” has been piling up for months. The tape is disgusting, but hardly surprising. Much of what Trump says and proposes sounds as if it were concocted in a locker room, with a junior-high-level understanding of the world. Walls, bombs and babes. It’s going to be epic, dudes.

And no, a Clinton win will not be the end of America.

But I give Rizer plenty of credit for taking a stand. It’s not without risk. He’s got a real opponent in Democrat Molly Donahue. I suspect Rizer has a good shot at being re-elected, but this may cost him a few Republican votes. Or maybe he gains a few others.

Voters in this corner of the metro seem to like legislators with a contrary streak. Man, do I wish I could hear what Mary Lundby thinks of Trump.

And Rizer is doing what so many of his fellow Iowa Republicans refuse to do.

U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst denounced Trump’s words, but it appears he’s still getting their votes. Gov. Terry Branstad called Trump’s video comments “reprehensible” at Saturday night’s Reagan Dinner. He’s glad Trump apologized.

“But I think it’s important that we recognize what’s at stake in this country. We cannot continue the status quo,” the governor said, according to The Des Moines Register.

I’d say the status quo is already blown away.

On Sunday night, we saw a presidential debate where the nominee of the Republican Party was asked whether he’s bragged about sexual assault. The Democratic nominee was accused of attacking women her husband abused. Trump promised, if elected, to prosecute his Democratic opponent, whom he called a “devil” with “tremendous hate in her heart.” Clinton insisted Trump is the favored candidate of Russia, a nation accused of using hacked emails to sway the election Trump’s way.

Remember when Gorge H.W. Bush was criticized for looking at his watch during a debate? Al Gore’s sighs? Those were the days.

We’ve arrived in a very dark place. And Trump is driving the bus.

l Comments: (319) 398-8452; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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