A conservative movement dedicated to the freedom of the individual must allow for disagreements. That’s what individuals do: they disagree. Hate-filled personal attacks by Trump-supporting right-wingers on those rightists who cannot abide the president take no stock of the one thing most essential to individual identity: not, as the left supposes, race or sexuality or even gender, but conscience. We have to allow good conservative men and women to speak their piece without harassment.
That said, as the midterms approach, it seems like the proper time to remind those Never Trumpers still among us of two salient facts. One, there are only two effective political parties in America. And two, one of those parties now presents a legitimate threat to the American idea.
This week, Senator Ben Sasse, whose two-and-half minute speech on civics was the highlight of the Kavanaugh hearings, tweeted that he “regularly” considers leaving the Republican Party. When asked about the tweet by Jake Tapper on CNN, Sasse said, “I have been saying for three years that I conceive of myself as an independent conservative who caucuses with the Republicans. But, frankly, neither of these parties have a long-term vision for the future of the country.”
David French, a writer for National Review, answered Sasse’s tweet with one of his own: “I no longer consider myself a Republican. I’m a Christian and a conservative who evaluates each race on the merits — and I’m happy to vote third party when appropriate.”
I respect and admire both Sasse and French but their statements seem to me to have been made in a political landscape that is not the one we know, indeed in a world that is not this world.
We are soon to vote for congressmen and senators. Each of those elected will very likely belong to one of two political parties. Despite what they might say on the campaign trail, when it comes time to vote on the important issues of the day, they will almost surely vote with their parties.
One of those parties, the Republicans, despite its many failings, and despite the obstreperous and divisive president at the top, is still playing the game America by American rules. They want all people treated equally. They want Supreme Court Justices to decide cases according to law, even if it means losing on some issues. They want free speech for both sides to insure robust debate. They want to protect the right to property that underlies our liberty.
Increasingly, the Democrats are not playing by those rules. Their identity politics is simply racism with a human face. Their performance at the Kavanaugh hearing — disgraceful in its theatrics and personal attacks — was downright dangerous in its underlying philosophy that conceives of the court as a super-legislature charged with making leftist law. Their venues of communication — the news networks, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and the academies — censor speech, limit discussion and bully dissenters. And increasingly, their candidates embrace socialism, a system of soft slavery whereby the wealth created by your work is controlled and dispersed by the state.
The last Democratic president consistently violated norms of constitutional and even honest governance to the point of flirting with autocracy. He prosecuted and persecuted the media. He used the IRS, the Justice Department and the Intelligence Community to harass and spy on his political opponents. The Left and their press stood by and did nothing, cheering his “scandal-free” administration.
For all the noise about Donald Trump — and all the noise from Donald Trump — he has done nothing that approaches these violations. Unless and until he does, he remains — despite his questionable character, his chaotic management style, and his often absurd tweets — a bulwark against something far worse than himself.
It may pain you that a man like Trump is president. It may pain you that Republicans are sometimes cowardly, incompetent and inert. There is much work to be done reforming the GOP.
But in Real World, as things stand, under what higher morality should we take action that would hand our country over to those who no longer believe in the ideals of her founding?