Jonathan Rauch and Benjamin Wittes have written a provocative diatribe at The Atlantic calling Republicans to boycott the GOP in all elections because “Trumpism” and its subversion of the Republican Party is a threat to democratic values and the rule of law.
“We understand why Republicans, even moderate ones, are reluctant to cross party lines,” Rauch and Wittes write. “Party, today, is identity. But in the through-the-looking-glass era of Donald Trump, the best thing Republicans can do for their party is vote against it.”
They even constructed a nice little syllogism to help us see the “logic” of their thinking:
(1) The GOP has become the party of Trumpism.
(2) Trumpism is a threat to democratic values and the rule of law.
(3) The Republican Party is a threat to democratic values and the rule of law.
Rauch and Wittes tell us they hope the “smart people” will agree with their conclusion and follow their plan to give the GOP an old-fashioned “spanking.” Yep, they’re the smart ones and everyone else is stupid. As an original Tea Partier, I am very familiar with elitist dog whistles.
The truth is they’re really not that smart. Their syllogism is a crock. It’s a classic fallacy of incomplete evidence. It’s card-stacking, which is nothing more than propaganda. They’ve constructed premises, not supported by facts, but loaded with emotionalized terminology they don’t even bother to define. For people claiming to be the smart ones, this is downright embarrassing.
They claim the party has been taken over by Trump and Trumpism, but they don’t define the pejorative. It can mean anything from outlandish and offensive statements the president has made, to nationalism, to anti-establishment populism, or any number of other common Trump attacks—none of which, as Trump has governed, have threatened the sanctity of the republic.
Quite the contrary, the Trump presidency has been essentially characterized by moderate to conservative policies, and even in some instances the very policies that oppose “nationalism,” such as his proposal to legalize several million younger aliens.
Their ‘Intellectual Case’ Rests on Fact-Free Accusations
Rauch and Wittes—who, by the way, is a good friend of James Comey, a significant relationship to remember as you read his article—assert that the “Party of Trump” is dangerous because of two unforgiveable sins: Trump’s “attempt to erode the independence of the justice system” and his “encouragement of a foreign adversary’s interference with the electoral processes.”
If these men had solid facts to back up these two assertions, they would be, as Ramesh Ponnuru discusses at National Review, calling for impeachment. They’re not, because they don’t believe Trump is a real danger to democracy. The only danger Trump actually poses is permanently dismantling the power structures of Republican and other elites, which is why these entrenched NeverTrumpers have been in hysterics since his nomination.
Now that the Russian investigation—the ace in the hole for NeverTrumpers’ quest to rid Washington of Trump—is falling apart, accompanied by conservative policy directions in several instances, a successful tax plan, a conservative Supreme Court justice, a booming economy, and a well-received presidential state of the union, NeverTrumpers’ panties are twisted so tightly their brains are being deprived of oxygen, as is their ongoing agenda to oppose Trump.
That is all this article is. It’s a temper tantrum, an exposé on the true trajectory of the NeverTrump movement and its last gasps for influence. The words penned by Rauch and Wittes are the death throes of an anti-American, pro-establishment effort to undermine a duly elected president.
Under Pressure, Grasping At Status Trumps Principles
And it’s nothing new. It’s the same stream of verbiage we heard during the election and throughout Trump’s first year in office. Now we’re hearing it again, only it’s ratcheted up to the next level of lunacy, exposing certain established “conservatives” as the progressive lightweights they’ve always been and revealing how others can so easily abandon conservatism when their precious status is threatened.
Not long ago, Bill Kristol, the poster boy of the NeverTrumper extremists, hatched a plan echoed by Rauch and Wittes: “I’m very disappointed in the Republican Party in general and its inability to stand up to Donald Trump’s behavior and message. I don’t think we should keep feeding the Republican pipeline with new officeholders if all they are going to do is toe the line and agree with every one of [Trump’s] policies.”
This despite the fact that many Republicans often disagree with Trump, call out his inconsistencies, and don’t vote for policies they disagree with.
Still, Kristol and the NeverTrumpers have an ax to grind. In a piece titled, “Bill Kristol Wanders the Wilderness of Trump World,” the New Yorker reported that he and his wife, Susan Scheinberg, were quite willing not only to vote for Democrats but to financially support them. When Trump didn’t handle the Charlottesville riot between communists and fascists in NeverTrump-approved fashion, they gave money to the campaign of Democrat Ralph Northam, who was running for the governor of Virginia against Republican Ed Gillespie. The Republican lost.
Kristol’s hatred for Trump reached even greater heights when he tweeted that he’d vote for Oprah Winfrey for president: “I’m with her!” Just like he was with progressive extraordinaire Hillary Clinton. His wife has followed suit, tweeting in Michelle Obama style: “I wasted so many years of my life defending Republicans.” Oh, the drama!
In their Atlantic article, all Rauch and Wittes are doing is joining the conga line of emotionally devastated “holy prophets” who declared Trump was a not-so-closet progressive, but now find themselves in a fix because he hasn’t become the big-government tyrant they predicted. So with pitchforks in hand, they’re going to destroy the party themselves, just so they can peddle the lie, “Look what Trump hath wrought.”
NeverTrump Is Really About Maintaining Power
When you read what NeverTrumpers say, it can’t be denied that personal hatred for Trump as a usurper of their power overshadows their motivations and fuels their quest “to save the party.” But even more significant is their clear hatred for Trump’s base, which isn’t exactly Trump’s base, because most of them were here long before he campaigned for president.
Rauch and Wittes make this clear: not only is Trump a problem, but the base is too. The fact is the establishment (and, yes, there is one) has never liked the populist Tea Party base—a base that is conservative at heart and opposes the corruption of the elites in Washington, a base that will make pragmatic choices in elections because it sees the corruption of the Democratic Party and its leftist ideology as an existential threat to America, a base that is not partisan, but American.
These are the people NeverTrumpers really oppose, and they’ll be here long after Trump is gone from office. They’re the “rot” NeverTrumpers want scrub from the party, and they always have—all the way back to the days of the Tea Party and before that the embarrassingly pro-life Moral Majority.
Those of us who campaigned and protested during Obama’s presidency because of his actual abuses of power, ushering in a massive GOP victory in Congress and across the country, will never forget how the elites in Washington backstabbed, denigrated, and opposed us at every turn, as they chose progressive policies and political alliances over conservative proposals and hardliners.
It’s this base that has abandoned the NeverTrumper elites. It’s this base that has become the GOP. And it’s this base that NeverTrumpers want to delegitimize to reestablish the party for their own benefit again. The real motives of Rauch, Wittes, and their not-so-merry-band of NeverTrumpers have nothing to do with pragmatic politics in response to a “dangerous” president or concern about the rule of law. They have everything to do with losing power, influence, and their cherished status to a man they personally despise and a group of hard-working, loyal Americans they loathe.
This is the truth, and whether Trump is in office or not, those of us in the base will never forget, we will never stop fighting for America, and we will never vote for Democrats just because of bunch of bitter malcontents told us to do so. We are the Tea Party, and we’re Targeted Enough Already. Aim your fire where it belongs, NeverTrumpers—at those who truly threaten America in every institution across the land. If you don’t, we will all know what you really stand for, and it’s not the rule of law or democratic freedom.
Oh, and a final comment to Rauch and Wittes regarding their self-indulgent manifesto at The Atlantic. You guys might have been hoping for a Don Draper moment, when he wrote in The New York Times that he was boycotting advertising tobacco because it’s toxic—an act that, like yours, was born of rejection, loss of power, and spite. But it isn’t working for you. You’re no Don Draper. You’re just not that cool.