On first reading, I fist-pumped my way through Decius’ grand smashing of the sleepy, next-election-we-will-win, post-Reagan conservatism. On second reading, I was a bit more circumspect. Here are my two cents.
Rhetorically, the piece begins with shocking metaphors: charge the cabin of the hijacked plane; Russian roulette with a Hillary semi-automatic as opposed to spinning the cylinder with Trump. It’s Trumpian in its bluster, and anyone who takes it overly seriously has no sense of humor or hyperbole. How long before people begin to get it? He’s New Yorker. That’s how they talk.
That said, the article resonated with me.
First (and to perpetuate the gun metaphor), conservatives have been showing up to duels for decades bearing their grandfather’s beautiful, silver-plated matchlock pistols, and every single time the liberals show up with their machine guns. We cry foul, but they don’t care, and we’re dead. As Trump says, “We don’t win anymore.” As Decius points out, sure, we might win midterm elections, but we haven’t won the crown for a long time, and no, GWB doesn’t count. Further, at the national level the liberals have been running roughshod over us, even as we dominate state legislatures. At the end of the day, he who holds the DC purse and controls the massive bureaucracy (which conservatives are inherently allergic to) controls the nation. I for one am sick and tired of losing in the halls of Washington power, which has and had tyrannized the states, a point the CRB article nailed. The GOP has become soft and comfortable losing, reaping in cash to solve the nation’s problems, and getting nothing done. As Decius points out, the members of the GOP Industrial-Complex are doing quite well financially for its purpose is simply “to show up and lose…[it is] a necessary part of the show and [they] do get paid.” Look no further that the Bush family’s whiny exit from national politics. So, a brawling Trump, why not? Spin the cylinder.
But it’s also how we lose: apologetically, dancing around the edges of touchy subjects, and never bluntly stating where we stand because we’re afraid of getting painted as bigots. The left has decided the parameters of the debate and have defined conservatives as barely American. At the best, we’re misguided fools. At the worse, we’re racist, misogynist, anti-LGBTQ pigs. Trump has come along and declared, “Enough with the political correctness. Transgenders can use my bathrooms, and evangelicals can choose who to associate with. Shut up and sit down, children.” He’s the wrecking ball to smash the very rules of engagement we conservatives have so gingerly operated under for decades and which have only favored the left. For that I am thankful.
Second, conservatives are accustomed to setbacks (too accustomed as the article points out) and while that’s worked against us, I think paradoxically this makes us uniquely capable of handling a setback (Trump). The thing is, the left isn’t. They have their progressive identity politics and ideological eschatology so deeply rooted in their heads that Trump is the apocalypse whereas for us it’s just another drubbing at worst. But the left is caught sleeping, now, because their candidate is so dreadful. As Trump put it to African American voters, “What have you got to lose?” Indeed, what have we got to lose? Charge the cabin door.
All of that said, on second read, I have bones to pick with the article. For one, it didn’t highlight the conservative upside to Trump platform: regarding taxes he’s conservative, he’s adverse to war, and also, SCOTUS anyone? He’s made electing conservatives to the court a keystone of his platform. If that isn’t a firewall against the liberal tide, I don’t know what is.
I’m not an anarchist, but I’m frustrated like I rarely have been (maybe it’s fear of what Hillary and the left will cook up for dad the pastor) and relish the thought of dealing the tyrannical left a crippling blow even if I lose an arm in the process (or will it be more?). As one fellow put it to me a couple weeks ago, “We are entering a period of lawlessness.” Matchlock pistols and gentleman’s rules haven’t applied for quite some time. If Hillary isn’t as big of a threat as the CRB article claims (Congress, SCOTUS checks on power etc.), then Trump surely isn’t either. But she is: considering the trend of the last twenty-five years there has to be something to plug the gaping, bleeding hole which is the liberty of social conservatives.
The ghost of Reagan must be exorcised. He’s been hanging around our necks for decades during which time we have had very little show for it on the national front. We’ve lost the education system, we’ve lost the media, and if we lose the border and millions of Democratic votes continue pouring in, we lose the war. A vote for Trump may be a vote for self-destruction, but the alternative is doing nothing in the face of certain oblivion.