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Republicans’ Refusal To Wield Power Destroyed Conservatism And Maybe The Country

Democrats play to win, while far too many Republicans aren’t even playing the game.


In the 1940 novel You Can’t Go Home Again, author Thomas Wolfe illustrates the futility of attempting to relive or return to past experiences or situations because people and places inevitably change over time.

This is the situation America finds itself in at present after a New York jury convicted former President Donald Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records, making Trump the first former American president to be convicted of felony crimes.

Whether Trump receives prison time, probation, or ultimately wins an appeal, there is no coming back from this unprecedented moment in American history.

We can’t go home again.

However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Coming to terms with the truth can be liberating. By acknowledging reality, the right can finally move forward and begin to fight back.

“Show me the man, and I’ll show you the crime,” bragged Lavrentiy Beria, the most ruthless and longest-serving secret police chief under Joseph Stalin.

In a similar, Soviet-inspired fashion, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg contorted the law to get his man.

The Trump conviction comes after years of suffering through never-ending protests (beginning on Trump’s inauguration day in 2016), the Mueller investigation and Russia-collusion hoax, George Floyd riots, two impeachments, a faux “insurrection,” an administrative deep state that attempted to stymie Trump’s agenda at every turn, and the “election fortification” of 2020 — leftist political lawfare has reached its apex.

No Longer a Constitutional Republic

One such reality the right must recognize is that it is no longer fighting to preserve the “constitutional republic” of 1789.

In fact, the United States has undergone fundamental transformations numerous times throughout its history, long before Barack Obama famously told a crowd in Columbia, Missouri, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Astute political commentators such as Curtis Yarvin, Auron MacIntyre, and Wade Stotts have each explained that America is not one continuous, unbroken political entity since its founding in 1776, but rather it has experienced significant refoundings throughout its almost 250-year history.

While we can (and should) still honor and learn from our past, the truth is that the American republic is over and has been over for quite some time. Despite Benjamin Franklin’s warning, we could not keep it.

Rome’s Example

It’s vital to understand that it was not the sacred parchment that failed to preserve the American republic, but rather the people. To understand why, we can look back to Ancient Rome, which, for all its political, cultural, and military achievements, lacked a written constitution.

The cohesive force that united all Romans and led to the Roman Republic’s success lay in the unspoken norms of social and political behavior. For the most part, Romans relied on unwritten rules, traditions, and mutual expectations, collectively referred to as “Mos Maiorum,” meaning “the way of the elders.”

However, as the republic entered its decline, it was not Roman law that weakened but the erosion of respect for these mutually accepted bonds. Once these bonds disintegrate, as is the case with present-day America, no amount of political poetry written on parchment will resurrect them.

Wielding Power

Contrary to the proclamations of “three-legged stool” conservatives, obtaining and wielding power in pursuit of your political interests now matters most. Frankly, it always has. Thinking otherwise has brought conservatism to the brink of annihilation and what remains of our country to the edge of extinction.

One recent example of this self-defeating mindset comes from Jonah Goldberg, editor-in-chief of The Dispatch. In response to a post on X that called for conservatives to dispense with the arguments that the GOP “shouldn’t do something because it might set a bad precedent,” Goldberg replied, “Weird version of ‘conservatism’ that is wholly, completely, and preemptively, dismissive of the dangers of bad precedents.”

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden unashamedly posted that “no one is above the law” (in reference to Trump’s conviction) after openly bragging about how he didn’t let the Supreme Court stop him from relieving student debt for more than 5 million Americans.

“Imagine if the roles were reversed?!” cries the “principled” conservative after he learns that the FBI was prepared to use deadly force during an armed raid on Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate. “It’s important not to set a bad precedent!” say the gatekeepers within Conservative Inc., even when Biden’s primary political opponent is on the verge of being imprisoned after being subjected to a Soviet-style show trial.

The naivete from this cohort of conservatives is laughable. This is a loser mentality, which is why the right continues to lose.

Thankfully, conservatives such as Sens. J.D. Vance and Mike Lee provide a way forward, finally signaling they are ready to go on offense. Before Trump’s conviction, Vance called on the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into presiding Judge Juan Merchan for illegally depriving Trump of his First Amendment rights. After Trump’s guilty verdict, Lee issued a statement, signed by seven other Republicans:

Strongly worded statements are not enough. Those who turned our judicial system into a political cudgel must be held accountable. We are no longer cooperating with any Democrat legislative priorities or nominations, and we invite all concerned Senators to join our stand.

As John Daniel Davidson, a senior editor at The Federalist, rightly stated about today’s GOP, “Either you’re willing to jail Democrats on the same terms they’re using to jail Trump, or you’re merely controlled opposition.”

Democrats play to win, while far too many Republicans aren’t even playing the game.

While we can’t return to the past, there is still time for the right to move forward aggressively in its battle to shape America’s future.

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