I don’t think I’ve ever been this disgusted with politics. The combination of willful blindness, mercilessness and vulgarity in 2016 has reached epic proportions. I admit to going on some Twitter rants today and saying some very intemperate things. But no insults! Still, calm reflection is now replacing anger and I’m really just thinking things over.
Never Trump is saying that the whole problem lies with Trumpster – but the reality is that both Never Trump and Trumpster were demanding all-or-nothing this year. Both sides got what they wanted – nothing. I lay the larger share of the blame on Never Trump. It appears to me that Never Trump, by refusing to treat with Trumpsters, was essentially resigning any ability to educate and channel Trumpster voters towards a more traditionalist, Conservative view of affairs. It was an abdication – but as it was also done in the meanest spirit possible, it was also a purposeful division (yes, plenty of Trumpsters were mean, as well – but when one side is feeling betrayed and acting out on that feeling, it is incumbent upon the other side to be the bearer of sweet reason and humility). And, now, the Trumpsters are justifiably feeling that this was Never Trump’s plan all along – knife the guy when the going got tough…and then demand in January that the Trumpsters just forgive and forget. I do think people should forgive and forget – but I suspect that the Trumpsters won’t be in a mood to do so. It was the duty of the Conservative leaders to go, hat in hand, to the Trumpsters, listen to their complaints, declare their support for the nominee and then work on ensuring that as much Conservatism as possible was injected into the Trump movement. They refused – and for all I can tell, their refusal was a matter of overweening pride rather than careful thought. Furious that the GOP base rejected their warnings, the leaders of Conservatism decided to teach the base a lesson.
Trump will almost certainly lose in November – I think that Independents are going to be vastly turned off by his vulgar comments and will either sit it out, or hold their nose and vote Hillary. Trump will retain his core supporters – and there is a high risk that these core supporters will abandon the GOP, never to return, thus making the GOP a minority party for a long time. Hillary as President – and possibly with a Democrat Congress – will be an utter disaster, and now there’s no assurance that the GOP can come back in 2018, as Trumpsters will still be furious for what they’ll view as a betrayal by the GOP. If Conservative leaders wanted to teach a lesson then they are also going to be taught a lesson – you can’t insult a substantial portion of your base and win – not now, not later. At all events, insulting people is never the way to go – tends to poison the well.
How do I feel right now? To paraphrase Chesterton, “as much as I ever did, more than I ever did, I believe in republicanism. But there was a rosy time of innocence when I believed in Republicans”.