It is stunning.
Donald Trump is going to be the Republican Party's candidate for president of the United States.
For months, Americans have watched as the party's leading lights have turned an important part of the democratic process into a crude spectacle of taunts, insults, and bathroom humor.
We have heard Donald Trump accuse Ted Cruz's father of being with Lee Harvey Oswald before John Kennedy was killed; Cruz charging that Trump is a "serial philanderer"; Marco Rubio suggesting that Trump has peed in his pants and has a small, well....
That kind of little-boy braggadocio is nothing, though, compared to the insults that Donald Trump has aimed at women, at the physically disabled, at Mexicans, at Muslims, at prisoners of war.
The result of all that? Donald Trump has waltzed off with the Republican Party's presidential nomination.
He is a dangerous, dangerous man, not only unfit to serve as president but a complete disgrace, to his party and the nation.
We have had a bully as president before. We have had presidents with dangerously misguided views of the world, misjudgments in foreign policy that have created havoc and cost lives for decades afterward.
But we have never had the likes of Donald Trump.
Trump didn't create the racism and xenophobia that we're seeing right now. It's been there all along. But he has unleashed it, whipped it up, declared it respectable, and encouraged its angry expression in cheering, packed rallies.
A few Republicans have stood up for American principles and are refusing to support Trump, Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, George W. Bush, and George H.W. Bush among them. But others have jumped right on board. Chris Christie. Mitch McConnell. Reince Preibus. Tennessee's Marcia Blackburn.New York's Chris Collins and Tom Reed. Our own Tom Golisano, Bill Nojay, and party chair Bill Reilich. Newt Gingrich. Rick Perry. All supporting him.
Dick Cheney (no surprise): supporting him. John McCain - as if his selection of Sarah Palin didn't create enough doubts about his judgment - will support Trump if he's the Republican nominee.
Maine's Susan Collins, who I thought was one of the few ethical Republicans left in the Senate, says she'll support Trump if he stops the "gratuitous personal insults."
And Paul Ryan is dissembling. "I'm just not ready to do that at this point," he said on CNN. "I'm not there right now." But: "I hope to, though, and I want to." And: "I think what is required is that we unify the party."
"I hope to, though, and I want to."
"What is required is that we unify the party."
Honorable people can disagree on abortion, the death penalty, monetary policy, foreign policy, the role of government. But racism?Misogyny?Ethnic and religious tracking?
In the Washington Post last week, Dana Milbank cited examples of what American Muslims have endured as the Trump candidacy has gained steam: insults, taunts, death threats, desecration of the Koran. And Trump himself has proposed a registry of Muslims in the US and a ban on Muslims coming here.
This is the Republican Party's sole candidate for president.
"Now Republicans across the country will be forced to make a moral choice," wrote Milbank. "Do they associate themselves with the grotesque things that Trump and his supporters have said and done? Or do they refuse to allow such things to be said and done in their names?"
Presumably some of the prominent Republicans lining up behind Trump are happy to have such things said and done in their name. Others, though, are embracing him for the sake of the party. Party unity.Protection of the party's control of the Senate and the House.The party over the principles and moral fabric of the country.
In a very real sense, Donald Trump has become the face of the Republican Party. The party formerly known as the party of Abraham Lincoln.