Editorial: Kentucky’s caucus provides chance to make a statement

Herald Staff

The issue: For the first time since 1984, a major political party will hold a caucus in Kentucky.

Our stance: Our Commonwealth should use its newly moved-up caucus to make a statement: we can do better than Donald Trump.

Saturday will mark a momentous occasion in Kentucky politics. The Kentucky Republican Party will hold the state’s first caucus for a presidential election since 1984. In addition to moving to a caucus, the party also shifted the date of the primary forward by almost two months to make it more relevant in the presidential race. How did we get here?

The switch to a caucus for Kentucky’s Republican Party was spurred by Kentucky’s curly-haired junior Republican Senator Rand Paul. Paul, whose Senate seat is up for reelection later this year, successfully convinced the party to switch to a caucus so he could simultaneously run for president and the Senate. A slick move for a man whose presidential campaign ended up dying after just one caucus in Iowa.

As Saturday approaches, Kentucky Republicans are left with a void both in their hearts and on their ballots. With only five Republican candidates, we’d like to offer one bit of advice: anyone but Donald Trump.

We won’t waste column space detailing the many trials and tribulations of the Trump campaign. His xenophobia, his inability to bring anything of substance to a policy debate and his appeal to white supremacist groups have been well-documented in recent months.

As a student newspaper, we’re most worried about his recent blustering about journalists and the media — and you should be too.

At a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, on Friday, Trump promised to “open up the libel laws,” according to the Washington Post.

“When they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said.

He also promised that news organizations that have criticized him would “have problems” if he won the presidency. Trump received massive applause for this.

In the wake of these absurd comments, we must ask the following question: what the hell? Have we as a country gotten so caught up in the reality show that is Trump’s campaign that we’ve been unable to process the terrifying things leaving his mouth? Or do we simply not care?

Trump’s disrespect for the First Amendment and the protections it affords all Americans, including members of the press, is indicative of the man he truly is. When confronted with criticism, Trump would rather silence it than acknowledge any faults of his own.

This is a dangerous precedent set by someone campaigning to be the president of a country where the freedom to express said criticism is a founding tenet.

After all, the Declaration of Independence was basically a giant middle finger to King George III, and that document is a cornerstone of our great American democracy.

Kentucky’s Republican caucus falls after Super Tuesday — a day where 595 delegates are up for grabs — so it’s tempting to think our caucus doesn’t matter very much. But Saturday is a chance for Kentucky to take a stand against the political poison that is Donald Trump.

Don’t let our old Kentucky home be won by a man whose campaign has been built on bombastic rhetoric and a penchant for the offensive. We’re better than that.