Oct. 14, 2016 12:46 AM

Pity Charles Boustany, who could’ve stayed comfortably ensconced in the lesser marble of the U.S. House of Representatives but chose, long before the Donald Trump wrecking ball began careering into the GOP’s hardy-board facade, to seek the Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter. Since Trump secured the nomination, Boustany and moderate Republicans across the country have been forced to step gingerly through a minefield, sticking with their party even as their party’s presidential nominee insults and demeans women, minorities, women, the disabled, women, POWs, women, immigrants, women, Gold Star families, women, Muslims, women and women. The moderates of the GOP are at one turn routinely denouncing their nominee's words and at another saying they still support him. It’s cognitive dissonance of the first order.

Since the release Friday of the hot-mic recording of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting bimbos women, dozens of Republican elected officials nationwide have withdrawn their support for Trump, but they’ve done it at their own peril, risking a backlash from diehard Trump supporters who have threatened to vote for a rival who does support the caustic nominee, or to withhold their vote in down-ballot races altogether. A handful, like Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer, withdrew their endorsement after the “grab her by the p***y” revelation — which in fairness was made a really long time ago when Trump was a young 59 years old — and then re-endorsed Trump early this week after rankling Trump supporters.

And while it’s true, according to an article early this week by The Advocate, that Louisiana’s GOP Senate candidates, Boustany included, say they’re sticking with Trump, their level of enthusiasm varies. Early in the summer, when Trump announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Boustany was effusive in his praise for the VP choice yet conspicuously didn’t mention Trump’s name in hailing Pence.

Now, post-“grab her by the p***y,” Tea Party candidates like John Fleming in North Louisiana have had no qualms sticking by Trump. Boustany, on the other hand, has a trickier path to tread. He doesn’t want to alienate moderate GOP and independent voters, especially suburban Republican women who are turned off by Trump, but he doesn’t want to risk the ire of the hardcore Trumpsters, who have taken their champion’s words to heart: Silence, or even wavering support, is tantamount to deleting Hillary Clinton’s 30-bazillion Benghazi emails yourself and murdering Vince Foster.

To his credit Boustany has tried to stay above the fray, to talk about issues, to say he “supports the Republican nominee” without uttering the word Trump. But he can’t avoid the Trumpsters, whose agitation in these final weeks of the campaign is a barometer of Donald Trump’s ugly, embarrassing meltdown.

For proof, check out virtually any of Boustany posts on Facebook. It can be about early voting, Obamacare, Houthi rebels firing missiles at a Navy warship — anything in the news or among the issues that would otherwise serve to reaffirm his conservative Republican bona fides. But the Trumpsters are having none of it.

For illustration, below we’ve reproduced a sample of a few posts Boustany made to Facebook this week, post-“grab her by the p***y.” Through the magic of Photoshop we’ve filtered out most of the non-Trumpster comments.



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