We have now reached a clarifying moment for the conservative movement. There are conservatives who will back Donald Trump to stop Hillary Clinton; there are conservatives who will refuse to put their imprimatur of approval on a carnival barking psychotic narcissist with tyrannical tendencies, no understanding of the Constitution, a willingness to pander to despicable racists, and a gut-level allegiance to leftist social policies.
Those who do the former should have no leading part in rebuilding the Republican Party when this Fukushima-level meltdown is over. That’s because they’re willing to stand for everything – literally everything – and thus stand for nothing.
Take, for example, a man I greatly admired in the primaries, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. Jindal called Trump a “mad man” in the primaries – a sobriquet that seems somewhat understated – and added yesterday that Trump “is going to have the hardest time beating Hillary of all the Republican candidates that ran for president.” He rightly explained, “I don’t think Donald Trump will do a lot of the things he said he’s going to do but I do think he’s done a very good job of tapping into middle-class voters’ anxieties…I don’t think he’s opposed to big government; I just think he wants to be the one running big government.”
Then he said, “I do think he’ll be better than Hillary Clinton…if he is the nominee I will be voting for him. I will be supporting him.”
In other words, back the leftist with an R next to his name because the deal on the table – Trump — is certainly better than the one we’ll get if we don’t compromise. Hand over control of the only vehicle for conservative governance in America to the Bad Man, because at least he’s not the Worse Woman.
Here’s the logic: Obama has put the pedal to the medal, Thelma and Louise style, and we’re speeding at 70 mph toward the cliff; Hillary will ram the pedal through the floor and jack the speed up to 90 mph; Trump will speed it up to 75 mph. It’s better to speed at 75 mph toward destruction than 90 mph.
This ignores that Trump will burn out the reverse gear. By empowering Trump to stop Hillary – by handing him the keys to the car – the Republicans usher in an era of Trumpism, and raise it as a legitimate opposition to a conservative future.
This is short-sighted, obviously. It will cripple the Republican Party for election cycles to come – unless people stand aside from this train wreck and rebuild. Pushing the Republican Party left has been a ratchet that works only one way historically; Ronald Reagan was a historical aberration brought about by a conservative movement willing to say no to Nixon-Ford. Then we went right back to Bushism and its attendant government growth. We followed that up with McCainism (amnesty and campaign finance reform) and Romneyism (Romneycare) and now Trumpism. We’ve now reached the breaking point – but for establishment Republicans, there is no breaking point.
And if that’s true, there is no future for conservatism.
This is a clarifying election. We’ve learned that certain media members were willing to sell out long-held principles for ratings. We’ve learned that certain conservative voters were willing to let conservatism go by the wayside to hero worship a godking. Now we’re learning that the Republican leadership is everything we thought they were.
We will remember their names. It’s time for a new brand of conservative leadership – and those who kowtow to Trump shouldn’t be a part of it.