Saturday, January 20, 2018

Trump Will Cost Conservatives in the Long Run

As Donald Trump and the Republican Party become increasingly toxic in the eyes of Millennials - now the largest generation of voters - the long term prospects for the GOP are dimming notwithstanding the propaganda one sees on Fox News - viewing it from time to time, it's an alternate universe with little connecting it to reality.  Republicans have bet the farm on aging, racist and evangelical voters, all of which are slowly dwindling in numbers.  The fluke of the 2016 election has been interpreted as a mandate even though only something just under 26% of registered voters cast ballots fro Trump/Pence.   As for GOP policies, the quest to take from the poor and working class and giving to the rich and a refusal to reauthorize the CHIP program for children's health insurance and the refusal to fix the DACA situation show the ice cold hearts that are the norm among Republicans despite protests to the contrary.  Actions speak louder than words and the younger generations are watching and judging based on GOP actions.  Erick Erickson, a right wing conservative with whom I mostly disagree has a column in the Washington Post that looks at the long term costs that will eventually over take the GOP.  Here are excerpts:
Being a conservative who does not cheerlead President Trump can make one feel like the Prophet Amos. Amos went to Israel at a time of great prosperity to tell the nation God would destroy it for failing to care for its widows, its poor, its orphans and its refugees. Everyone looked around at the success, riches, and plenty and mocked the prophet. Like the people of Israel in a time of plenty, it is easy for conservatives right now to focus on the successes of Trump’s first year in office. But those on the right should consider the long-term costs.
Like many conservatives, I am delighted with a number of achievements in Trump’s first year. His administration has steered numerous good judges into the federal judiciary. . . . . Congress has passed a tax reform bill allowing U.S. businesses to repatriate tens of billions of dollars, give bonuses and pay raises to employees and invest in U.S. business infrastructure. These changes are inarguably good.
But there are many costs. Conservatives are reveling in their successes and increasing their immorality concurrently. The conservatives who 20 years ago wanted to chase President Bill Clinton out of town for having sex in the Oval Office are now trying to ignore the current president reportedly cheating on his current wife with a porn star. It has become far easier for conservatives to believe lies than believe truths, and it has become far easier for conservatives to turn a blind eye to injustices than speak up. More and more conservatives are modeling Trump’s bad behaviors. His vulgarity, his thin skin, his willingness to insult and demean, and his willingness to degrade his office are now reflected in conservative political leaders who increasingly see their goal as beating the other side instead of advancing ideas and sound public policy.
The party of small government is perfectly happy to grow government as long as Trump is spending the money. The party of limited government is perfectly happy to have a powerful chief executive as long as Trump is wielding the power. . . . . Trump now seems to revel in the idea of shutting down whole networks whose coverage he hates. Republicans who decried the left’s hostility to free speech in the Obama years now champion censorship of their opponents.
It is safe to say many of the president’s supporters have concluded that arguments and debates no longer work, so they will take what they can get as quickly as they can before the tide rolls in and washes this administration away. While perhaps an honest way of looking at things, those gains will be fleeting. The short-term gains of this administration, like those of the last, are being achieved by executive order and appointment. So too then can the gains of this administration be wiped out as easily as those of the last.
Conservatives have to worry about those in the middle who are persuadable. They have to worry about minority voters increasingly skeptical of the secular drift of the Democratic Party. They have to worry about younger voters. All of these people are not only increasingly alienated by Trump’s behavior but also by his defenders’ constant justifications for it.
At a time of growing hostility to people of faith in the United States and a collapse of morality, the evangelical embrace of Trump hurts their Christian witness and minimizes the number of sympathetic ears to their cause. It has become harder to make the case for family and morality as prominent evangelicals applaud and justify the bad behaviors of a thrice-married adulterer who believes immigrants should be judged based on their nation of origin, not the content of their own character.
Though many conservatives, myself included, have cheered the successes of this administration, most of them are easily reversible and, along the way, it will be harder and harder to separate the successes from the low character and behavior of the man whose name is connected to them. Conservatives may no longer care, but for most Americans, character still matters. At some point, those on the right will pay the price.

No comments: