Republicans in North Carolina are all lining up behind Donald Trump. Pat McCrory’s on board. So are nine of the ten GOP House members. Only Walter Jones is holding out. Richard Burr’s supporting him and Thom Tillis says any Republican who is not supporting Trump is a RINO.

Think about that statement for a minute. Trump is a guy with no principles and certainly not a conservative. He supports single-payer health care and Planned Parenthood. GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump’s recent comment about a judge “racist.” His whole campaign is about promoting Trump, not a platform or agenda. National Review, the conservative magazine founded by William F. Buckley, has refused to support him.

If anybody not supporting Donald Trump is a Republican in Name Only, then what, exactly, is a Republican? By Tillis’ definition, a Republican is somebody who puts his support behind a person, not a set of ideals. And if that support means embracing a morally-challenged narcissistic, egomaniac with a limited understanding of government, then Donald Trump has redefined the Party of Lincoln in his own image. Tillis, McCrory, Richard Hudson and the rest of the gang have decided to put party before country.

And Republicans know that. This week, I’ve spent hours on the phone talking to educated, pragmatic Republicans. They can’t stand Hillary Clinton, but most won’t vote for Donald Trump. As one said, “I’ve got a choice between two people with limited morals. Hillary’s wrong on almost every issue, but she’s competent. Trump is not.”

The Republican base will almost certainly stick with Donald Trump, but thoughtful people with less allegiance to the Republican Party won’t. Educated conservatives will look for other choices. Maybe they’ll vote Libertarian. Maybe they’ll write somebody in. Maybe they’ll just take a pass altogether and either stay home or vote down ballot only. Who knows, but if, as Thom Tillis implies, supporting Donald Trump defines being Republican, then being Republican doesn’t mean much these days.

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