U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump walks to the podium at a press event at his Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, March 5, 2016. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

I understand why conservatives are angry. The GOP hasn’t been serving them well in recent years.

I understand why blue collar voters are angry and are lashing out at free trade. What was supposed to be free market trade policy was instead highly-regulated trade that benefits the powerful and politically well-connected.

I even understand why candidate Donald Trump is appealing. He’s breaking down the walls of the politically correct box built around the political process. He’s cutting up (rhetorically!) the nattering nincompoops in the pundit class. He triggers schadenfreude for a vast swath of the American electorate.

What I don’t understand, now that Trump has evolved from an early primary season sideshow to a very real political threat, is why anyone thinks his presidency would be good for America.

Stump speech applause lines and talk show bombast are fun, but they’re unhelpful to the candidate who truly wants to lead.

And this fit of ideological pique we seem to be going through aside, America does actually need a leader. And leading is something more than Twitter battles and (figurative!) bomb throwing.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Can anyone really imagine Trump being an effective leader? I can’t. Not even close. In fact, I don’t think even Trump himself imagined in his wildest dreams that he’d get this far.[/mks_pullquote]

Can anyone really imagine Trump being an effective leader? I can’t. Not even close. In fact, I don’t think even Trump himself imagined in his wildest dreams that he’d get this far.

I wonder if that keeps him up at night. If he backs out of his campaign now he’ll lose the legions of supporters he’s built, and that would be bad for his future business and entertainment ventures (which I’m certain were always his real motivation).

But if he stays in he might actually become the president.

Trump is a man riding a tiger. The dismount, if it ever comes, will be painful.

I do think Trump could win the presidency. His critics today say he couldn’t possibly beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. But then I imagine these same people were also saying there is no way Trump could be the nominee.

I do not think Trump should win the presidency, however. He’s an embarrassment. He is not fit to lead our country.

Some Republicans are now beginning to coalesce around Trump, and their excuse is that we must respect voice of the people. North Dakota’s top Republicans – Senator John Hoeven and Congressman Kevin Cramer – have made this argument. Both have said Republicans should support the nominee while stopping short of an outright endorsement.

It’s baloney, and antithetical to American tradition.

National governance was never intended to be an exercise in direct democracy. That’s why Senators were originally appointed by the states. That’s why we have the Electoral College. We elected George Washington, our first President, in 1789, but it wasn’t until 1824 that we even bothered to record a popular vote.

Even today, the popular vote does not elected the President of the United States.

The reason was to avoid our national leadership being subject to the whims of a populist mob.

Exactly the sort of mob backing Trump.

Republicans should do everything they can to deny Trump the presidency. Such a move would be terrible for Republicans short term. It would alienate a lot of people from the party.

But long term it would do less harm to the GOP, and to America, than letting Trump sleaze his way to the party nomination.

And maybe the White House.