Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post‘s Right Turn blog has posted some insightful commentary on the Republican primaries. She tries to adhere to conservative principles rather than simply short-term wins and power-grabs. She’s extremely critical of Donald Trump, whom she calls a charlatan, totalitarian and con man.
- Republicans should listen to Robert Gates.
- Trumps keeps giving Clinton easy targets.
- Breaking up with the Republican Party after 30 years.
- A guide for Hillary Clinton to win the votes of distraught Republicans. Praise Trump for his support of LGBT, bathrooms, gay marriage and Planned Parenthood. Discuss the economic benefits of immigration, how it stimulates economic growth. Remind voters that Trump has a man-crush on Putin, wants to give nukes to Asian countries and said he might use nukes in Europe. Demand that Trump release his tax returns. Point out that Trump’s tax plan would lose $10 trillion in revenue. Dissect his plan to deport 11 million people. Demand that Trump pay veterans groups the remainder of the money he said he would donate to them; if he refuses, she can donate it herself. Pledge to never order the military to commit war crimes. Press him on the fraud victims at Trump U.
- Stop Trump, then remake conservative politics. “First, an unstable, thuggish demagogue arrived on the scene. In the wasteland of American culture, where manners and civic education have deteriorated, he seized the imagination of alienated, economically stressed Americans, turning their anxiety into hatred of foreigners and breeding a certain nihilism…Second, the GOP discovered (in part, through Sen. Ted Cruz’s collapse despite perfect mechanical execution) that there is no majority supporting the Reagan agenda…Even in a GOP primary, there is no majority looking to roll back gay rights or give huge tax breaks to upper-income Americans.” Trump offers populist, anti-immigrant nationalism, inane ideas (tariffs, roundups, authoritarian power)…”That is unacceptable to most Americans and politically toxic in a country as diverse and tolerant as ours. It’s a dead end, with or without Trump atop it. It is narrow-minded, inward-looking and pessimistic. Its proposals (e.g. protectionism, nativism, isolationism) are unworkable and counterproductive. It is not in keeping with self-determination and optimism; it attempts to turn back the clock (bring back manufacturing jobs!) in ways that are not possible and that would wish away globalism and huge shifts in popular opinion. Isolationism is an ineffective response to Islamist jihadism.” She goes on to attack the lies of Trumpism.
- Trumpism is just spin. His lack of depth is disturbing. There is no Trump philosophy other than whatever the market will bear. He has no coherent positions. Despite his isolationist, anti-free-trade, protectionist, anti-entitlement-reform anti-immigration and anti-Muslim rhetoric, he is already starting to walk back or disavow his earlier statements. He’s against a minimum wage, and for it. Expand Social Security and reduce it. Raise taxes on the rich, and cut them. The man lacks any political principles whatsoever. She quotes Peter Wehner, “to take a man who is utterly unanchored philosophically and tie him to a conservative dock,” Republicans need to be vigilant and ready to reassert themselves when Trump, “who lives in his own world, makes up his own facts, denies his own previous words, and is an inveterate liar,” returns to form. There are no deals with Trump. He is utterly self-serving, an unprincipled narcissist. Defending Trump is Near Impossible.
- How Social Conservatives Can Regain Relevance in the Age of Trump. “The country is more diverse, tolerant and socially liberal than ever before. The social conservatives’ mission resembles an exercise in futility. There is no realistic possibility that Roe v. Wade will be repealed or a constitutional amendment will outlaw abortion. Progress is possible around the edges (e.g. “partial birth” abortion, abortion clinic regulations, conscience exceptions to federal mandates), but that is hardly the stuff of which movements are built. Railing at the culture becomes more fruitless with each passing decade…The American body politic is sick, weakened by incivility, anger and meanness; if ever there was problem for which social conservatives are ideally suited to address, it is that. They might start by withdrawing political and monetary support from Trump (no money, no votes, no organizing), not because he doesn’t care about restroom assignments, but because as Cruz aptly put it, Trump is amoral, a narcissist, a bully and a pathological liar. How is this person remotely acceptable to people of faith? The first step to gaining back moral authority and influence is to demonstrate moral judgment.”
- A Plan for Ted Cruz in 2018 and Beyond. He should stop pandering to isolationists and embrace his full-scale hawk, interventionist nature. “There was never a compelling majority in the GOP for expelling by force illegal immigrants or for turning away legal immigrants. Cruz would do well to work for now on border security and reform of legal immigration. If he can get something done on either he would go a long way toward demonstrating he can be an effective — dare we say? — deal maker.” He should stop blaming Rubio and Kasich for his loss. He should learn the right lessons in defeat: “Voters do not want an ideologue; they want someone who empathizes with them and speaks to real problems in their lives. They want someone to talk plainly, not sound like a televangelist or high school drama student. They will accept, if not demand, someone who is tolerant of gay marriage. They do not demand stale conservative orthodoxy; they want to know who can make their lives better.”