The Republican Party right now is in a war with itself. It has done irreparable damage to itself by nominating and supporting Donald Trump as its nominee for President of the United States. This war within the party is unlike any other fight we’ve had before. Sure, we’ve fought over policy and procedures, but this fight is over the identity of the party, with many of the folks who have worked so hard for it are up and leaving.
The people who are staying can be divided into three groups: the Oh Hell Nos, the Oh Hell Yeses, and the Oh I Guesses. We here at RedState find ourselves firmly in the first category and are fairly often attacked by the second. But, what of the third category?
We have a lot of good people, good conservatives, who have sworn to fight Hillary Clinton and have therefore aligned themselves with Donald Trump. Prior to 2016, these were people we were proud to call our allies, and it’s perhaps their support of Trump that stings the most in all this. If Donald Trump does indeed lose this race, what happens to these people? Will we still consider them allies? Or will the stench of Donald Trump continue to haunt them?
I’m not referring to Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter. Fair-weather conservatives at best, they go where the most money can be made. They will not suffer the consequences for their actions (unfortunately). But, for the people who we admired, it seems as though they’ve betrayed conservatism. Folks like Rick Perry and Marco Rubio, who were absolute heroes in the campaign season, have either embraced or defended the candidate once he became the inevitable choice.
Other solid writers and thinkers have seemingly given up their credibility in order to stand side-by-side with Trump, all in the interest of defeating Hillary Clinton.
But, Hillary Clinton is a short-term problem. We see Donald Trump and we see a long-term problem, where the ideals of conservatism are threatened by a man who represents the more conservative of the two major parties, but does not represent conservatism. His every position prior to his candidacy was liberal. Even as a Republican candidate, he frequently shows no knowledge or concern for the Constitution, errs on the side of authoritarian with some of his ideas, and has done nothing to attack Hillary Clinton beyond minor insults.
When this election is over, do we allow the good conservative politicians, thinkers, and writers back into the fold? It’s a tough choice. This election is already tearing us as a movement apart. If we continue to let it divide us after it’s all over, we could lose any chance to recover in the near future. But, if we reward their bad behavior with continued support, what happens when the next Donald Trump comes through?