Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Trumpism, NeverTrumpism, and their Discontents

I haven't done much politics here over the last year - I keep that to twitter mostly. Today, I need some more space.

Indulge me a bit.

At one time, I was all about the #nevertrump hashtag army ... then faced with Hillary, I decided to stop sniping at both sides and retire from the field.

The Never Trump attitude post-election has not changed all that much, and the Trumpist base's attitude to the GOPe hasn't either. Some call it a "Republican Civil War" - but not really. This friction has existed in a variety of forms through the years. I still remember the GOPe attitude towards President Reagan during his Presidency. It was different in many ways, but only slightly.

Over at National Review, Victor Davis Hanson has put together one of the better outlines of this divide.

He picks up the "how you got Trump" track spot on;
Trump is a symptom of widespread disgust, not the head of a carefully crafted ideological movement with a checklist of issues. What created him was furor at a smug, entrenched Republican political establishment. In a bout of virtue-signaling, this cadre had deliberately conflated opposition to illegal immigration with supposedly racist resistance to legal immigration, while damning principled conservatives as “nativist” and “xenophobes” simply for wanting existing laws enforced. It had preached free-market economics without worry for the losers of globalization, while many of its megaphones cashed in on the government-corporate-media nexus. And its prior presidents and presidential candidates had been reduced to mushy punching bags, strangely bragging about their own virtue in not responding to invective while their own supporters and defenders were left to be smeared and defamed. Worse yet, they caricatured the base voters who used to defend them while they themselves went on to defend, even if indirectly, their erstwhile critics.
Trump won no more of the voters who turned out and who identified as “conservative” than did Romney. But again, Trump apparently did get Democrats, Independents, and lapsed and previously uncounted Republicans to vote in key states in a way that Romney and McCain did not. The few Republicans that Trump lost were more than made up by others who were won over. (This raises the question of whether there was a cause-and-effect relationship between the two phenomena. But I doubt that the reason working-class voters turned out to vote for Trump was that most writers at National Review and The Weekly Standard were against him.)
...
Never Trumpers now see the Trump base as prone to demagogic frenzies on immigration and trade; too monolithically white; often-angry blame-gaming losers of globalization; na├»ve rather than self-critical about so-called white pathologies; and in their populism too dismissive of the importance of political experience, impressive education, and the changing demography of the U.S. The far more numerous Trump base voters sees the Never Trumpers as too self-important; predictably bicoastal careerist; too quick to judge and write off their supposed ethical inferiors; too eager to get along with liberals within their own bubble; too wedded to traditional definitions of political qualifications and success; and more worried about decorum than winning. But all that said, most Republicans were in neither camp, and just voted for their party’s nominee, explaining a 90/10 percent split among Republicans on Election Day, which is proof of party unity. Do Never Trumper hold Trumpers in contempt more than vice versa? Each side counts its hate emails and claims to be the more aggrieved party and the more victimized. Each thinks voting for or against Trump revealed a darkness not noticed before in supposedly well-known colleagues and associates. Certainly friendships have been strained and lost, and invective and accusations leveled. Much on a personal level cannot be repaired. But more unites than divides. If one side is civil and respectful to the other, the other usually reciprocates — unlike what’s going on now in the streets and campuses of the progressive, Democratic left.

...the war is mostly infighting among politicos, pundits, politicians, and media people and so far does not necessarily change the realities of the voting public. We saw that reality in 2016 when the thunderous damnation Trump received from his own party had no profound effect on his candidacy.
His final call is why I walked away from my #nevertrump friends' club a bit over a year ago;
Meanwhile, the administrative state expands, the debt is headed for $21 trillion, crass identity politics tear the nation apart, the effort to restore deterrence abroad grows ever more dangerous, and the campuses, Hollywood, the NFL, and the media are reminding us that progressive politics are now our culture’s orthodoxy, vital for success in nearly all fields. And dealing with all that is the only conservative fight that counts.
Has my opinion of Trump changed all that much since I called "Peak Trump" after the McCain insult of 2015? No, but I'm ok, and so are you.

In the end, I am content with the following; I am more than happy to apologize to others for a President Trump; I could never forgive myself for a President Hillary.

We may have been hit with a baseball bat, but we missed a load of napalm. Bruises and breaks heal just fine.

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