State Sen. Matthew J. Dolan, of Chagrin Falls, is a RINO, Republican in Name Only, if you can believe former President Donald J. Trump. That is pertinent because of Sen. Dolan’s recent announcement that he is joining the field seeking to replace retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.

Most voters may not recall that Sen. Dolan has a history of changing his party affiliation. Back in 1992, he was a young lawyer living in Russell who identified himself as a Democrat. That was a gutsy thing to do, considering that he was running for election to the Ohio House of Representatives in a heavily Republican district that included all of Geauga County.

Maybe it was just youthful idealism. Republican Diane V. Grendell easily won that election.

According to Mr. Trump, Sen. Dolan is “one person in the race who I won’t be endorsing” to replace Sen. Portman. “Anybody that changes the name of the once storied Cleveland Indians to the Cleveland Guardians should not be running for the United States Senate representing the Great People of Ohio,” Mr. Trump explained in one of his insightful statements.

Speaking of insight, then-Republican primary candidate Mr. Trump charged in 2016 that the father of one of his opponents, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, might have been complicit in the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He claimed that Rafael Cruz was pictured with assassin Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Fidel Castro literature in New Orleans earlier that year.

That was a lie, of course, one of thousands from the mouth of Donald J. Trump that since have been well-documented. In 2016, Sen. Cruz had the guts to call Mr. Trump a “pathological liar,” “utterly immoral,” “a narcissist at a level I don’t think this country’s ever seen” and “a serial philanderer.”

Since that time, Sen. Cruz, like most people who call themselves Republicans, have lost their guts and clucked unflinching loyalty to their liar-in-chief. As I’ve previously written, their GOP, which was the Grand Old Party, has gone to POT, the Party of Trump, which refuses to believe the undeniable truth of the 2020 presidential election.

Let’s not forget that, in the weeks prior to the 2016 presidential election, it was that same Mr. Trump who insisted that it was rigged. Somehow he forgot about that after the results came in.

Sen. Dolan may not quite have evolved from Democrat in 1992, to GOP, when he first won an election to the Ohio House in 2004, to RINO, as Mr. Trump labels him now, to POT, as his five primary opponents clearly can be identified.

Sen. Dolan has become a loyal Republican who supports lower taxes for wealthy people like himself and his Cleveland Guardians owner family, which, of course, feeds the skyrocketing national deficit; less regulation for big industry, which so often translates to poisoning pollution and global warming; and “school choice,” which is intended to undermine public education.

But Sen. Dolan hasn’t gone to POT. Not yet. He actually criticized Mr. Trump and others for their “lies” about the November election. He has supported the U.S. Senate’s bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill. In 2019 he voted against the Ohio “Heartbeat Bill,” the sweeping right-wing abortion ban that is in a protracted legal battle. He introduced a package of firearms reforms that was supported by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine but opposed by the gun lobby.

But he doesn’t have the courage of U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, Republican of Rocky River, who voted in favor of former President Trump’s impeachment in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection and has decided not to seek re-election because his party has gone to POT.

Sen. Dolan said he would not have voted for the impeachment, that he would support a 2024 presidential bid by Mr. Trump and he sure wouldn’t mind getting his endorsement.

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