Two Unclean Choices Ahead for Conservatives

How about conservatives wondering what to do next with Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee think of those limited government libertarians: Green Day? Good Riddance I hope you had the time of your life, could be their wishes for those who voted for Trump. And there is definitely a fork stuck in the carcass of their ambitions. Or more accurately, the scalpels are already digging deep into Cruz’s campaign in what will be a few days of endless autopsies.

But there is a choice going forward facing Republicans who feel unwilling or even unable to support Trump. A debate in The Federalist between David Harsanyi and Denise C. McAllister presents the choice in a thoughtful but stark manner.

Harsanyi in an angry outburst that is still somehow literate and observant, feels that sabotaging the Trump Train is the only way forward for true conservatives. Never mind that the exact meaning of a true conservative in 2016 depends on which true conservative is talking. Harsanyi is so outraged by a possible Trump presidency that he prefers Hillary in the White House and a committed core of GOP opposition in Congress to contain her presidency. He says little, however, of the Supreme Court and what a Hillary White House would do to reshape America's highest court. The implication being that Hillary's appointments would be equally as bad as Trump's?

This means a third party candidacy to somehow distance Republican Congressional candidates from the Trump brand of politics. Which of course, Harsanyi is certain will spell down-ticket disaster. Hence a third party - or at least an attempt at putting one together.

Denise McAllister, on the other hand, thinks the real evil is Hillary Clinton. But more than just an attack on Clinton's character and her lack of trustworthiness even in the eyes of Democrat voters, McAllister means a continuation of progressive, left-wing identity politics that she feels has been ripping the country apart in the last 7 odd years. In her view, academia, the general culture, and much of Washington - that means both parties - have accepted much of the progressive left's worldview.

So conservatives now need a #NeverHillary movement using the same tactics and anger that was hurled at Trump, instead now aimed at Hillary. And aimed at that progressive world view.

And she mentions the Supreme Court. Along with protecting the down-ticket by going local. A tactical vote as a defense of conservative principles where it matters most: down at your local congressional representative level; and up there in the halls of the supreme court. Think nationally, act locally. Even if that's a modification of a decades old progressive slogan.

The NeverHillary idea might just provide a path of action for those who are agonizing which way forward to take. For Harsanyi, the way forward is also clear. Neither choice is clean, nor could either ever be at this point in time.

Posted by Keeley at May 5, 2016 7:06 PM
Comment #404559

Donald Trump returned fire to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) Thursday afternoon, responding to the Wisconsin Republican announcement that he was not yet ready to back the billionaire’s candidacy.

“I am not ready to support Speaker Ryan’s agenda,” Trump said in a statement. “Perhaps in the future we can work together and come to an agreement about what is best for the American people.”

“They have been treated so badly for so long that it is about time for politicians to put them first!” the real estate mogul added.

Of course conservatives are against Trump….and the American people. Ryan’s agenda proves this. Aristocracy forever right? All conservatives need to do is continue with the voter suppression laws, my suggestion is they pull out the stops and get back to the constitution with only the landed gentry getting a full vote the rest of us can get 3/5ths of a vote right…. well one we signed the Norquist tax pledge that is. The gall of the people expecting us to police the world on our own dime. Hell that is what the grand kids are for …right?

Is there a candidate conservative enough for conservatives today? There wasn’t when McCain ran, when Romney carried the repub banner into battle. Zeig Heil brothers, Zeig Heil just isn’t enough anymore for conservatives as they continue ever rightward.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 6, 2016 11:36 AM
Comment #404560

Where is your evidence that Hillary’s progressive politics are ripping the country apart? Policy-wise, she is hardly any different than Obama, a man who’s policies have garnered him the approval of half the nation. The same cannot be said for conservatives in Congress.

Indeed, identity politics is ripping the nation apart, but Donald Trump is the biggest catalyst for that. He constantly divides the country in two. For him and his supporters, there is a stark binary. Either a person is “one of us” or “an other”. This is the sort of division that will continue to poison the country. Harsanyi is smart enough to figure this out, writing, “A turn to white identity politics and anger is turn away from that idealism.”

McAllister writes, “I want unity, but I also want conservatism to survive the days to come, hopefully rising from the ashes through creative destruction, growing stronger so that one day there will be a resurgence of liberty that truly makes America exceptional again.” However, McAllister is still drinking Kool-Aid. Under a Trump Presidency, conservatism will disappear, replaced with populist nationalism.

Despite flaws in her character and judgement, her ideology is the one supported by a majority of Americans. Her commitment to individual liberty in a wide variety of social issues makes her the major party candidate with the strongest fidelity to the Constitution. And, a Clinton Presidency gives conservatism a chance to live on as a disciplined opposition in Congress. Republicans already experimented with single-party government 10 years ago. The results were a disaster for conservatism because Congress would not temper a “compassionate” conservative President. There is zero reason to think things in 2017 will be any different than they were in 2005.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 6, 2016 12:01 PM
Comment #404561

Initially I dismissed the idea of a third party run by disaffected conservative Republicans, but maybe I was wrong. An awful lot of influential Republicans are refusing to endorse Trump. They say they will support they nominee, but some of them won’t even say Trump’s name. None of the previous GOP presidential candidates- Romney, McCain, George W Bush, Dole, or Bush $41- are coming out for him. Speaker Ryan will not either. Trump confirmed conservative’s worst suspicions when he responded to Ryan’s refusal to endorse with an bitter attack.

It seems to me there is no way a third party run could win. It would undermine Trump and it was salve the consciences of some, but it might actually undermine conservative Republicans look weaker by losing to Trump yet again. About the only hope would be for them to deny Hillary Clinton 270 electoral votes and throw the election to the House, but that is not likely either.

We’ll see. Trump keeps saying horrible things that spark division rather than party unity. He just finished suggesting the father of Senator Cruz of was involved in the assassination of JFK.

While conspiracy theories run across the political spectrum, they run rampant among Trump supporters, whether it is Benghazi, Global Warming, or the background of President Obama.

For many conservative Republicans to support Trump and his conspiracy minded base is a bridge too far. Although I still think most Republicans will turn away from Trump and concentrate their support down ticket, it could be a third party run is more likely than I thought.

Posted by: phx8 at May 6, 2016 2:24 PM
Comment #404563

The timing is a bit late for an independent run, but I definitely see Gary Johnson getting a lot of support from establishment Republicans who don’t care for militarism or social issues.

Posted by: Warren Porter at May 6, 2016 3:26 PM
Comment #404565

This presidential race could be a win/win for all of us. If Trump suffers a crushing defeat, as expected, TV producers and advertisers will have to take notice. If the superest of super stars of reality TV is resoundingly defeated in the ultimate popularity poll, slack jawed and brain dead TV producers will have to take notice and make changes to producing reality TV shows like so much grist pouring from the never ending production mill of reality TV crews. After all if the superest of super stars of reality TV is humiliated in a national election then this must mean that reality TV is not very popular. This could spell the end of this reality TV nonsense and hopefully bring more sensible TV viewing for all of us.

Posted by: Speak4all at May 6, 2016 3:33 PM
Comment #404573

Right now CNN/Wolf is highlighting the hour with the banner Trump rally as GOP divide grows. Which is just the opposite of what is happening. GOP’er’s are jumping on the Trump train before it leaves the station, and so on - - -

Trump gets the coverage but Hil gets her message put out there during Trump’s free air time.

Posted by: roy ellis at May 6, 2016 5:37 PM
Comment #404592

Speaks either way the election goes it could be a win-win for the American people. Trump is the realization of 30 years of hard work by conservative leaders. A fingers to the fire test of extremist conservatism while short term could be a disaster long term it could be beneficial for the country in a choking on their own vomit way.

IMHO while reality TV may mirror conservative politics it is in fact the right wing propagandist that have created Trump supporters. Years of deliberate effort by conservative leaders has resulted in the moment in time when Trump is announced as the republican candidate for president. The problem of course is movement leaders weren’t careful enough in what they wished for. But they got what they wanted they just can’t control it, like a virus getting out of the lab and infecting otherwise normal people with a brain wilting disease.

Years of myths, misinformation, half truths and outright lies have made a large portion of Americans believe the stuff these conservative leaders have put into their heads. Of course I’m not asking anyone to take my word for it but here is a guy from the AEI telling us what went wrong.

Posted by: j2t2 at May 7, 2016 3:03 PM
Comment #404594

Quote: “Paradoxically, it’s China’s manufacturing advantage over the U.S. itself that will lead to a rebalancing of bilateral trade. For if they keep beating the U.S. in the trade game, the Chinese eventually will get rich enough to afford more stuff. And then the trade gap will start to close – but only if America makes the things China wants.”

The Corpocracy line: we are supposed to just hang out for the next ??? years until Chinese wages match US wages and the trade balance might become more even.

Just suck it up you ‘populists coal miners’.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at May 7, 2016 9:39 PM
Comment #404595

The AEI fellow says robots are the big reason for US job loss. Ok, then why do we need more people, as in illegal immigrant workers?

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: roy ellis at May 7, 2016 10:25 PM
Comment #404598

Thanks for the link. The author does a great job of identifying the factors that led to Trump”

“… the GOP had become “an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

He also notes the role economic collapse plays in bringing about populist leaders who prey on fears, and promote ‘nativism, protectionism, and isolationism.’

Finally, he observes the way GOP leadership- the establishment- played into this by going along with FOX and talk show radio hosts. In a column just published, George Will made a similar observation. They refused to stand up to Limbaugh and Hannity and Beck and FOX and all the others. The establishment enabled the base. They played to their fears and anxieties, and claimed the establishment agenda of tax cuts, military spending, and reduction of spending on social spending would address those anxieties and fears.

It did not. Nothing the establishment told the base turned out to be true, and the promised agenda never was enacted. The promises were impossible to fulfill. This stoked the anger even more, and the base turned against the establishment.

Posted by: phx8 at May 8, 2016 11:18 AM
Comment #404599

Also, the authors do a good job of laying blame on one of the people most deserving for it, namely, Newt Gingrich.

The effort to delegitimize Obama and Democrats also played a big role in bringing about the rise of Trump, as the authors mention in their article.

Posted by: phx8 at May 8, 2016 11:21 AM
Comment #410336

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