As a former Republican - I left the GOP many years ago - I watch the antics and hand-wringing of never Trump Republicans with some skepticism. For years as the GOP drifted towards becoming a party controlled by white supremacists and far right Christian religious extremists - the base that elected Donald Trump - these never Trumpers continually acted as apologists for GOP extremism and the war against Barack Obama waged by Mitch McConnell in the U.S. Senate and a who's who of the falsely named Christian Right. Worse yet, in the 2016 election, many either held their noses and voted for Trump or voted for hapless third party candidates who had a snow ball's chance in Hell of winning so that such votes were a defacto vote for Trump. Now that the handiwork of their actions has been fully realized and the GOP has become something truly hideous, some of them have the audacity to argue that Democrats ought to be kissing their asses and courting their votes. I'm sorry, but a vote for today's GOP and its candidates is, in my opinion, a vote for evil. The ONLY alternative and way to fight that evil is to vote a straight Democrat ticket. A piece in Politico looks at the argument made by Mona Charen, a long apologist for the GOP and its worse policies who thinks she needs to be courted by Democrats. I believe that the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates need to pursue moderation in their policies to win moderate voters, but I doubt the likes of Charen will ever be won over from the GOP that, like it or not, they helped create. Here are excerpts:
Dear 2020 Democrats—all 23 of you who are running for president:
You are itching to be rid of Donald Trump. Who can blame you? Of course, if this were a normal Republican presidency, I would not share your feelings. Not remotely. As a lifelong conservative, I think your policy ideas are ill-advised. But this cycle, other Trump-disgusted Republicans and I can contemplate voting Democrat. We could do so not because we’ve become progressives, but because we think it’s in the long-term interests of conservatism and the country to be rid of Trump. If he gains a second term, conservatism may well be irredeemably tarnished.
[L]et me make the case that you should court Republican refugees like me in 2020.
You may think you don’t need us—but you’d be wrong. I know things are looking good for you: Trump’s approval rating has never topped 46 percent, and among younger voters, millennials and Gen Zers, his support is 30 percent or below. But Trump was elected with the lowest approval ratings of any major candidate in history. Polls can disguise as well as reveal. The “shy Tory” phenomenon—in which voters seem disinclined to tell pollsters that they support conservatives—is real across the globe, as evidenced most recently by the upset victory of the conservatives (called “liberals”) in Australia. Right-wing populism continues to show strength worldwide as recent election results in Brazil, India, Hungary, Poland and the Philippines attest.
And if the results of the 2018 midterms have you feeling confident, you should look to the not-so-distant past. Democrats were pasted in the 2010 midterms and yet President Barack Obama glided painlessly to reelection in 2012.
While we’re on the subject of the midterms, remember that your 2018 victories were not a left-wing triumph. Your 40-seat pickup was due in no small measure to Republicans and independents who voted Democrat. In other words: Voters like me.
Democrats are well-positioned to win in 2020 by embracing political normalcy again. . . . Trump’s tenure has not, thankfully, featured pestilence or war. It’s more like the Three Stooges than the Four Horsemen. Still, today, many of us are prepared to put our long-term goals of balanced budgets and less government-controlled health care aside to feel some sense of political equilibrium again.
But that’s not the tone you are adopting. First, you seem taken with the idea of executive overreach. . . . This is precisely the kind of power grab that Trump engaged in when declaring his spurious state of emergency to redirect funds to his border wall. And though Democrats’ frustration with his lawlessness is justified, this would represent a total vindication of it. If Democrats respond to Trump’s arrogation of power by doing the same thing, our constitutional system is threatened.
The assertion of unlimited executive power is not just contrary to the Constitution; it’s also a recipe for rising political tensions. If I believe that a Democrat will propose legislation with which I disagree, I know I stand a good chance of having my representatives modify or even block it. That’s not true of executive action. The stakes of each presidential contest thus get ratcheted up, as both sides fear that the next president, unconstrained by Congress, can lurch the country in a dramatically new direction. That severely decreases the chances that all of you, hopeful Democrats, can bring more centrist voters over to your side.
Second, have some respect for the norms and institutions that undergird our system’s stability. You claim to be dismayed by Trump’s norm-shattering ways, and yet your proposals are political earthquakes.
Harris and Buttigieg also favor packing the Supreme Court. The court has had nine justices since 1869. Remember, when FDR attempted to pack the court in 1937, he was thwarted by his own party. If Democrats take this step, it will invite further erosions of tradition by the next Republican majority. And, like executive orders, it will heighten the sense that presidents are would-be emperors.
Sanders, Cory Booker, Harris, Warren, Julián Castro and Andrew Yang have endorsed the “Green New Deal,” and Amy Klobuchar and Gillibrand support the “aspirations” of the plan, if not the details. The plan would demand a vertiginous (in fact, impossible) reordering of our entire government and economy—for instance, by requiring the refurbishment of every single building in the country.
There’s a clear way forward, Democrats, and it is grounded in the Constitution. Do what you think is right—propose legislation to fix Obamacare or spend more on basic research of climate change or whatever—but in the constitutional way. No sweeping, federalism-smashing plans to overhaul everything in the name of your preferred policies. And please, don’t call for the abolition of traditions and constitutional structures, like the Electoral College, that make voters nervous about your stewardship.
Democrats would be wise to embrace that sensibility, in the person of Biden or another, not just because it could win, but because it’s important for all of us, right and left, to turn our faces away from Caesarism—of the right or the left.