For years now, there have been two main factions in the chattering class and on political social media. The "grassroots" side and the "establishment" side. I'm only calling them "establishment" for convenience sake because, for longer than I can remember, they've been accused of it. I'm not actually calling them The Establishment® so much as saying that is how they are often designated and since I'm lazy and uncreative, I will too.
Generally speaking, the arguments have been the grassroots side saying "STAND UP FOR PRINCIPLE!" and the establishment side saying "STOP GETTING IN THE WAY OF WINNING!"
The establishment side believed they had the corner on pragmatism and strategy. The grassroots side believed they had the corner on principles and conservatism.
In presidential elections, you'd often find the "establishment" side saying things like "Your guy lost! Now get behind Mitt Romney/John McCain so we can stop the Democrats!"
The "grassroots" side would say "We'll NEVER vote for Mitt Romney! Some of us think principles are more important than party! I will not just get in line!"
Fights would devolve into the "establishment" side, in very condescending terms, saying things like "How can you people be so stupid!? Think of the big picture!" and the grassroots side would say "BLOCKED. No patience for FAKE conservatives who demand uniformity. I'll NEVER vote for someone that is dishonest!"
Now that Cruz, a leader of the grassroots side, has managed to stay in while Rubio, a favorite RECENTLY of the "establishment" side, has dropped out, a very interesting change has taken place.
Now the normally grassroots folks are asking for pragmatism. We're saying that, while many of the former Rubio voters may not be too fond of Cruz, the importance of what is at stake is just too great. Put your differences and your reservations aside, hold your nose, and do what is best for your party because, as we all agree, Trump would destroy everything just by being nominated.
Doing their part in also reversing course from previous elections, the "establishment" side has decided they cannot in good conscience support Ted Cruz, the only candidate that has thus far shown he is capable of, if nothing else, preventing Trump from getting 1,237 needed delegates to secure the nomination. They've said that he's a slimeball, a liar, and can't be trusted. That because of this, even though they agree he would likely nominate a justice far superior to say... Hillary Clinton, they need to stand for principle. And as such, they will deny the calls from fakers who want them to fall in line. They will not conform for the sake of conformity. And they will not support the most conservative candidate left in the race because there are limits to how tightly they can hold their nose.
It's quite a departure in roles for all folks involved. But for some of us it is also incredibly personal.
For years now, the "establishment" crowd would often, in the smuggest of terms, berate the grassroots as being too stupid to understand the importance of the election. That the tea party had continually picked the worst and most intellectually vacant characters imaginable and that it spoke to how much this class of folks ran on outrage and not much else. They would reply to tea party folks complaining about a primary loss with "GET OVER IT." They would tell people that threatened to write in 3rd party candidates that they defined the "stupid party." They would retweet those who quoted the founders with comments like "This is why we lose."
Their smug satisfaction with their own superior understanding of the complicated nature of politics was secreted all over everything they touched.
Some of the loudest of these folks are people I know and, in some cases, work with. Generally speaking we all attend the same parties, go to the same conferences, vote for the same people, and make fun of the same Democrats. But inevitably these types of arguments as described above would come up. And those of us on the grassroots side would laugh it up with them about how smug they were. In the end, we knew that loudmouthing on twitter and being a good person aren't always the same thing.
Sure, I'd get frustrated with some of them when they were especially self-satisfied about a primary win or a Romney nomination. But they were right. In the end I WOULD vote for the most likely winner that wasn't a flaming liberal. I WOULD put my country ahead of my petty hurt feelings. I WOULD be a patriot.
For some reason, now that the shoe is on the other foot, they believe it is completely unhinged of me to expect the same thing. And when I or others take to twitter to voice the same kind of condescending snark about how short-sighted a lot of these "establishment" #NeverCruz people are being, it is evidence we've become unhinged. I had friends borderline demanding an intervention with me today simply because I was speaking precisely to certain people the way they've spoken to me and my kin for years.
The reason is obvious. Yes, politics isn't bean bag, but it is personal. People do get personally invested in certain candidates. They do get personally animus towards others.
Basically, it's my opinion that the reason the "establishment" folks are having a much harder time coping with this, and a much harder time doing exactly what they've always asked of us, is because they're not used to losing. And all their vaunted pragmatism and "above the fray" natures went out the window the moment they were usurped for the first time in decades.
I've said it this way on twitter multiple times today: they need to grow up.
But that hasn't been seen as helpful. I've literally lost friendships over saying this the last few weeks (again, friendships with people that had no problem saying it to me when I pitched my own fit in previous elections). But fine. I can't tell people to grow up if I'm not willing to grow up too.
No more calls for people to grow up. You want a pitch for why you should not only vote for Cruz but also use your social media platforms to help stoke momentum for him?
Fine. His name is Donald Trump. He believes in universal healthcare. He's not credibly prolife in any way shape or form. He incites violence and encourages violence from his fans. He lies. He gets into petty squabbles. He's a misogynist. He has mob ties. He doesn't understand the job he's applying for. He isn't a conservative.
And he's winning.
I don't even care about the general election at this moment. Forget it. We're just talking about the primaries.
It is absolutely vital that we stop Donald Trump from getting 1,237 delegates if we're to have any hope of preventing his nomination. And when all of the above is already the narrative about him, you can bet that it will get worse if he's the nominee. And you can bet that the entire Republican party will be held accountable.
He will not simply lose the general election. He will destroy the entire Republican Party as the home for conservatism. Even losing the general election with a different candidate is better than painting our party with the Trump brush. We can not let him define conservatism to the media. We can not allow him to be our spokesman on a national stage for months leading up to the election and then years on the talk show circuit.
I get that some of you think Cruz enabled him. Maybe I'll write about how I disagree some day, but the truth is, it is simply irrelevant. We have got to focus. And your hard feelings are getting in the way.
Ted Cruz's fans have treated you poorly? Well guess what. The GOP has treated grassroots voters poorly for years. The "establishment" group I mentioned in this article has looked down on and been derisive towards the tea party for almost a decade.
The reason we don't need to apologize to you is because you don't need to apologize to us.
It's time to get over it people. Get over my "nastiness" on twitter. Get over Ted Cruz saying "terrific." Get over the fights. Get over the years of back and forth condescension. The entire future of conservatism and the supreme court is at stake.
People said I sounded angrier than usual today. I was. I get frustrated when I see what I perceive to be an injustice. And it felt like an injustice to me that those who had no problem talking down to others were telling me I'd lost my mind because I was returning the favor. And while I still think their response was hypocritical, I am relinquishing any right I might have to belabor or argue the point. In the long run it just doesn't matter. If I personally offended you, then I apologize.
Later this evening I'm going to delete
every tweet I've ever tweeted a lot of my most egregious tweets (I was quickly talked out of all of them) in an effort to wipe my own slate clean and focus on what's more important. I hope you will find a way to wipe yours clean too.
I truly believe our collective futures hang in the balance.