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The Great Schism of the GOP?

There once was a bitter fight known as the Great Schism of 1378. Here's a refresher:

It was a deep divide within the Catholic Church. Some said the true pope was a French bishop; others insisted an Italian held the rightful claim. Eventually, one side (team Rome, if you were curious) emerged victorious. But the celebration was short-lived; in the wake of this deep division, the pope’s power was considerably diminished, and the Catholic Church was weakened and discredited.

As they say, history repeats itself.

In the midst of today’s “Great AWOKEning” – which embodies the zeal of many religious movements, those of us who prefer actual ideas to ideologies ought to unite, instead of infighting, for the sake of building a powerful, unified front.

And of course, electoral victories are necessary to fortify that front. The recipe is simple: unite behind the candidate who best exemplifies the values of the party AND who has the best shot of actually winning. In Missouri, Team Trump seems to be doing the opposite.

You may remember Missouri’s former Republican Governor Eric Greitens.

Greitens' "Taking Aim" Campaign TV Ad

His exemplary resume includes: Navy SEAL, Rhodes scholar, Duke University graduate, and founder of the Mission Continues charity, to name a few. He fancied himself such a rising star, in fact, that he purchased the URL back in 2009.

But the Missouri governor resigned in 2018. In case you don’t remember why, the reason was twofold:

1. In February 2018, he was indicted on felony invasion of privacy charges.

The allegation: Greitens was having an extramarital affair with his hair stylist. He had her naked and bound up to some exercise equipment in Greitens’ basement during one of their sexual encounters. At that point, he snapped a nude photo of her without her consent. He then used the photo to blackmail her.

2. Then, in April 2018, Greitens was indicted with another felony; this time, for computer data tampering.

Greitens had founded the Mission Continues non-profit to support military veterans as they readjust to civilian life. (Incidentally, I even attended one of their galas. It was truly inspiring to see the impact this charity had on veterans and their families.)

But...Greitens needed money for his campaign. So he allegedly funneled information from the charity’s top donors – these were people who gave money to support veterans – and parlayed that into an additional $2 million for his gubernatorial campaign.

The 2015 Mission Continues Gala. Greitens allegedly took information about donors (including gala attendees) to finance his political aspirations.

These felony charges were ultimately dropped; the latter in exchange for his resignation.

Greitens leaves St. Louis's Civil Courts building after speaking with reporters (and my former colleagues).

Along with many other Missourians, I was frankly disgusted by these moral lapses, and assumed these two felony indictments all but turned his presidential aspirations to dust. But never underestimate the faith of narcissistic politicians in themselves, even if it defies all logic. He's now running for U.S. Senate.

Greitens is banking on Missouri voters forgetting why he resigned from the governor's office. He's probably also hoping voters won't remember that he was a lifelong Democrat until he switched parties in 2015.

This all seemed pretty laughable...until Trump ally after ally continued to endorse him. According to the Gateway Pundit, many of Trump's "fiercest defenders" are backing Greitens, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Trump National Security Advisor Lt. General Michael Flynn.

Kimberly Guilfoyle (former FOX news anchor and now Donald Trump Jr.’s girlfriend) even signed on as National Chair for Greitens' campaign. Interestingly, Trump hasn't explicitly endorsed the former governor yet, and even expressed hesitation about Guilfoyle joining the campaign.

Kimberly Guilfoyle pictured with boyfriend Donald Trump, Jr.

The takeaway? Regardless of whether Trump personally chooses to support Greitens, let's not let the upcoming political primaries divide the GOP between the Trump vs. non-Trump candidates.

Instead, the party should unite behind the best, most electable politicians. And voters need to think for themselves. If Trump – or anyone, for that matter! – says “jump,” instead of responding with “how high,” maybe we should ask: “why jump in the first place?"

Here’s hoping Missourians have a better memory than Greitens and his powerful supporters are betting on.

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