On Monday, Jonathan Chait wrote a piece in New York Magazine asking why so many Republicans hadn’t jumped to the Democrats after President Trump’s election. “The GOP’s Never-Trumpers Are Really Just Never-Democrats,” he highlighted. Criticizing David Brooks of The New York Times, who suggested that Democrats ought to reach out to Republicans, Chait wrote instead, “Perhaps the Republican base as currently constituted is hopelessly immune to reason and a reasonable person such as Brooks should instead refocus his political energies on curtailing its political power.”
Well, that attitude might explain why Republicans who didn’t support Trump haven’t jumped to the Democrats. When you label non-Trump supporters abettors of hopeless irrationality, they might not respond the way you think.
But Chait continues:
The idea of abandoning the Republican Party because it is authoritarian and toxically anti-intellectual was apparently as unfathomable to him as a fish in a polluted river deciding to live on land. If you want to understand why an event as large and potentially cataclysmic as the election of Donald Trump has not (yet) scrambled the long trench-warfare stalemate between red and blue America, this dynamic is a good place to start.
Chait says that in the past, nomination of problematic candidates has caused a rift within the party. But that didn’t happen with Trump. And Chait laments this:
Imagine being one of those moderate Republicans of some political consequence. Looking around at what 16 months of President Trump has wrought, watching Fox & Friends, refreshing the news sites for the latest national-security debacle, would you decide, each morning, to remain in the Republican Party?... The absence of Republican moderates, among both elected officials and intellectuals associated with the party, willing to openly join or work with the Democratic Party suggests that the power of partisanship remains overwhelming, even among those Republicans who profess the strongest aversion to partisanship.
It’s rather hilarious that it never occurs to Chait that Republicans haven’t compromised with Democrats because Democrats offer no compromise. He laments that Republicans haven’t jumped to the Democrats, but perhaps that’s because nearly all movement in the modern parties has taken place among Democrats, who have swung wildly to the Left. Today's Democratic Party has completely excluded pro-lifers, suggests that government has the capacity to regulate religious institutions into irrelevance, and openly advocates removal of gun rights. That's not a lot for conservatives to work with, no matter how many porn stars Trump pays off.
It’s one thing for Scoop Jackson to work with Republicans or John McCain to work with Democrats when the parties agreed on certain fundamental premises. But those premises are gone when it comes to policy. I didn’t vote for Trump; I didn’t vote for Hillary. I wouldn’t have voted for Hillary because her values aren’t mine — she actively despises my values. Yet Democrats continue to maintain that the only reason Republicans won’t join them is stupidity and cruelty, not different principles.
So long as Democrats continue to believe that the only reason not to join them is the deplorable nature of Republicans, Republicans won’t be crossing the aisle anytime soon, nor should they.