Could a party’s future ever look better than the Republican going into the 2016 election? It controlled both houses of congress, a solid majority of governors and state legislatures. An incumbent democratic president underwater in popularity and an electorate convinced we were on the wrong track. The potential democrat nominee was either a baggage laden distrusted loser or an old socialist. The Republicans on the other hand could choose between a raft of young bright attractive candidates. So how did we get to this point where a recent convert businessman with a similar business model as the Kardashian’s and highest unfavorable ratings of any candidate is poised to win the Republican nomination?
There seems to be a circular firing squad of Republican luminaries pointing there weapons at each other while yelling “Not Me.” Amid the pointing fingers the party just may come apart. Recently Bret Stephens writing in the Wall Street Journal found the culprits to be Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin. “So where were Messrs. Limbaugh and Levin last summer, when the Trump candidacy was still a big soap bubble, waiting to be popped by the likes of them?” he asked. He went on, “But both men provided Mr. Trump with the margin of respectability he needed in the early months to make his campaign credible with Republican voters.” He surely has a point. Conservative talkers have always been reluctant with some notable exceptions like Glen Beck to take strong sides during the primaries. To paraphrase talk show host and Fox New contributor Mike Gallauger, how do you make the case to support the Republican candidate you’ve been trashing? After all they say any Republican is better than the alternative. This is true if your first loyalty is to the Republican Party, but these are professed conservatives. They’re only Republicans because it is supposedly the more conservative party. It is easy to point out the fallacy in this thinking. We were told to vote for “me too” Republican Jerry Ford over Jimmy Carter because any Republican had to be better. Thank goodness enough conservatives rejected this line of thinking. If we actually voted for Ford in we would never have had Ronald Reagan. Here the choice is even more clear cut. Trump makes Ford look like the second coming of Barry Goldwater. Trump simply isn’t a conservative at all. Don’t believe us, just read every conservative idea factory that supplies the info talkers use daily on their programs. They all have come to the same conclusion. Trump is no conservative. There is actually no benefit to conservatives to elect Trump. With a candidate that has far nicer words for Nancey Pelosi than Paul Ryan, these self professed conservatives should’ve exposed Trump and distanced themselves. Their excuse for not doing so? Anger!
Why were they so angry? Why wouldn’t they be? They had exhorted their listeners to contribute their time, money and energies to elect Republicans and their efforts resulted in Republican success. After a while their callers began asking what did they have to show for their efforts. Even though they handed the power of the purse to the Republicans, Obamacare lives on, executive orders bypass congress on substantial matters, the budget keeps growing funding things the Republicans pledged to they wouldn’t and and we’re making nicey nice with Iran and Cuba. OMG, Iran will go nuclear. The Republicans never went to the wall about anything. We at Detour on Road, for instance, strongly proposed that nothing gets paid for until the Iran deal went to the Senate as a treaty. A fight about the Senate’s Constitutional Treaty Power was winnable and would’ve shown the rank and fill real backbone. (See Commentary “Victory Lap” 9/3/15) Our feelings about Cuba are clear. We share the anger. This lead the grass roots to believe the Republican leadership was listening to K street lobbyists, big donors, big business and elites. They labeled this group the “Establishment.” Then absolutely tone deaf, we got the superbly funded Jeff Bush Presidential Campaign. Never mind these grass root conservatives worked hard for the likes of Cruz, Rubio and Scott Walker, their choice was “Jeff”and their money would crush anyone who stood in the way. It sent a message that the elites know better and you should fall in line. Jeff Bush was a really fine governor, but somehow missed working shoulder to shoulder in the grassroots trenches. Worse none of the people around him came the tea party or any other grassroots organization. The Mike Murphy types weren’t their leaders, yet they were told to fall in line. The weak Bush candidacy opened the door for Trump by preempting other better candidates.
How did that workout? Trump pointed to Jeff’s “low energy” and Jeff made few weak responses before finally bowing out, but not before spending most of the establishment largess not on fighting Trump but trashing Marco Rubio. Yes, some point out that some establishment money also went to Chris Christie. What is Chris Christie Famous for before bowing out? Trashing Marco Rubio. Now who is the establishment’s last hope to stop Trump? Marco Rubio. Let’s face it, those pointing fingers at conservative talk radio should take a long look in the mirror to find culprits in a very possible Trump Victory.
Let’s be honest. When a party on the cusp of controlling anything politically worthwhile and point the nation in a solidly conservative direction finds a way to throw it all away there’s plenty of blame to go around. The important thing now is where do we go from here? Barring a miraculous meltdown, Trump will be the Republican nominee. Either general election outcome will prove very painful for the party. Maybe even fatal. A Trump loss would likely lead a loss of the Senate but worse leave the party drenched in Eau de Trump. All that ugliness will attach to the label going forward. Lots of luck widening the base. He not only trashed Mexicans, just listen the seemingly endless Trump tapes on Howard Stern where sexist hardly cover his coarse comments on women. Look back at a stage recently in South Carolina where you saw the young and attractive Marco Rubio an Hispanic, Nikki Haley an Indian American women and Tim Scott an African American ready to move forward to a conservative future and think what might’ve been.
Of course, Trump just might win. That would be worse. What we know of Trump’s positions is that they’re closer to Hillery Clinton than Paul Ryan. What would his legislation progam look like? Add to Trump’s friendly relationship with Shumer and Pelosi and his chill with the Republican Congressional leadership and who do really think deal maker Trump will more comfortable dealing with? What if Trump actually does what he says? Everyone should google Elian Gonzalez and see the videos and pictures of that terrified boy confronted by heavily armed troops sent to deport him back to Cuba. You’ll been seeing similar clips nightly on TV as he deports millions. There’s an association the we’re sure the Party wants to look forward to. Conservatives have no reason to vote for Trump and with consideration of stomach strength consider Hillery. After all she might prove to more conservative than Trump.
Where to go if Trump is the nominee. For the “Establishment,” ignore Trump and put all you efforts in all the other races. Trump says he is self financing so let him. With him at the top, the down ticket will need all the help it can get. Disassociate as much as possible. Avoid the odor. For the “conservative talkers,” if they put party above principle and support Trump’s general election bid, at least they would be exposed as phonies and real conservative could just tune them out. Where will the Limbaughs, Gallaghers and Hannitys et al come down? The best case would be if Trump loses and everyone gets back on the same page and works towards electing a conservative in 2020. Push our economic programs that will actually help the disaffected that answered to Trumps siren call. Bludgeoning China with high tariff walls won’t bring jobs but real conservative programs will. That’s how we got the Reagan Revolution.
Failing this, for those who profess to be conservatives, staying in the party will prove problematic. It wouldn’t be a vehicle to a conservative future. Maybe we should sort out who in the “establishment” are actually are conservatives and those who are just there for the money and/or power. Let the latter stay with the party, if anyone there wants them after this debacle. Moving on and away from a Trumpian Party would prove better for conservatives. After all, they’re only in the party because it was perceived to be conservative. In any case, real conservative “talkers” would’ve already distanced themselves from the party. If not pretty, it would an interesting and enlightening future.