If Donald Trump's campaign is a bus, like, say, the one that lumbered through that Access Hollywood lot in 2005, its passengers can be lumped into three groups.

The few righteous riders, who, at the earliest strains of hate, made for the doors.

The ones I call the Billy Bush crowd - the Christies, the Giulianis - that snicker and giggle and egg Trump on as he mainstreams hate, manipulates support through naked racism, and now normalizes sexual assault.

And then pols like Sen. Pat Toomey, who long ago turned up his headphones, content to watch the scorched countryside while blocking out the bully in the back row.

The Trump bus has crashed, but our valorous senator sits in his seat, refusing to stand up against a hate-spewing menace that coarsens our national conversation and embarrasses our country.

While Trump blows up the Republican Party, Toomey walks his tightrope.

"I feel stuck," Toomey said Tuesday during a meeting with the Inquirer Editorial Board.

Voters have a choice to make, the board pressed him. They're looking for leadership. Are you saying they are on their own?

"I am saying it's a terrible situation," he said, describing his reluctance to choose between "two terrible candidates."

On this question, the senator found a lot of different ways of saying that he wasn't going to say anything.

He and his challenger, Democrat Katie McGinty, are locked in the throes of one of the toughest Senate races in the country. Not wanting to anger Trump supporters or alienate moderates, Toomey equivocates. While high-profile Republicans sprint away from their imploding presidential candidate, Toomey dodges.

That was the case Tuesday, a day that presented a tailor-made opportunity for Toomey to fully break from Trump. In the morning, the incumbent senator spoke at a "Women for Toomey" event in Villanova alongside Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine). She long ago dumped Trump.

Toomey hawed.

"Hillary is one of the most flawed nominees in the history of the republic," Toomey said.

He said he remains "unpersuaded" by Trump.

He has never endorsed Trump, he said, but will never vote for Hillary. Perhaps a third-party candidate. Or a write-in. But maybe still Trump. It's hard to tell.

Not exactly a profile in courage.

McGinty's having a ball.

"Man up," she mocks him. "Fraidy-Pat," her campaign calls him.

At the meeting at the Inquirer, Toomey talked about how the country needed a leader with the courage and independence to work across aisle lines - to break from party when party is wrong.

He said this all with a straight face.

To his credit, Toomey has walked that talk before, most notably on guns, with his failed efforts to expand background checks and keep guns out of the hands of suspected terrorists.

But now he refuses to stand against a scourge like Trump out of political fear.

This late in the game, should we just presume he's never going to take a stand on Trump?

"You shouldn't make a presumption one way or the other," he said Tuesday.

Thanks for clearing that up, senator.

Perhaps that will be the biggest October surprise of all.

Perhaps he will finally get off the bus. Perhaps Pat Toomey will make a decision on who should be president of the United States.

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