I’ve mentioned previously that the Republican Party apparatus is far more hostile to the prospect of a Trump presidency than to a Clinton one. This because only the former is potentially disruptive to the program. The essence of which being to float comfortably in the liberal wake. For those with more ambition than intellect, it’s not an entirely fruitless enterprise.
For one, GOP apparatchiks are largely unburdened by responsibility for direction. Liberals signal what positions and statements are acceptable and republicans police their ranks to enforce them. Though to their credit, they do so with a dullard’s conviction.
With the permissible platform already established by their nominal opposition, Republicans are tasked primarily with articulating how they would implement liberalism better. This being a far more comfortable field of inquiry than pursuing national questions or constituent advocacy that may trigger ism alerts by the left’s cultural border guards. And men simply weren’t made to sustain being called mean names.
So we get vulture politics. The GOP simply sits in a tree waiting for America to reach peak revulsion with the democrats. The party then offers a specific platform of “not them” and after victory alights on the national carcass to gnaw languidly. That is until being chased away again by a rejuvenated jackal in the next election cycle.
The lesson these birds have learned is if you keep your beak shut and don’t rock the Serengeti, you’ll eventually get your turn to feed. In such an arrangement, you can understand why they would far more loathe an uninvited interventionist than their four-legged meal companions.
Among all the initial Trump-induced flailing were cautions that his nomination would just hand the presidency to the democrats. And these faithful conservative stewards certainly wanted to spare their constituents that miserable fate. Anything but Hillary! That’s why you must reject this interloper for a respectable candidate. Really, we just want to protect you from the predations of a Clinton presidency. Your welfare is our sacred charge. Hold that thought in your memory–short-term will do.
On Monday, Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Bill Kristol tweeted out what the rest of the Republican establishment is thinking: better Hillary than Donald. Here’s the tweet:
Crowd-sourcing: Name of the new party we’ll have to start if Trump wins the GOP nomination? Suggestions welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) December 20, 2015
Kristol isn’t alone. As I wrote at Daily Wire today, Politico’s Jeff Greenfield says, “If the operatives I talked with are right, Trump running as a Republican could well face a third-party run – from the Republicans themselves.” That follows last Thursday’s Politico column from former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman, who compared Trump to Hitler and called him “evil,” and last Wednesday’s Politico column reporting that Jeb Bush’s aides “began looking into the possibility of making a clear break with Trump – potentially with the candidate stating that, if Trump were the nominee, Bush would not support him.”
Last week, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said that former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour “and a lot of the Republican leaders would much rather Hillary Clinton be President of the United States than have Donald Trump represent them as a Republican.” And in November, The Hill reported that “GOP establishment donors have confided to The Hill that for the first time in recent memory, they find themselves contemplating not supporting a Republican nominee for president.”
To the party, land between DC and LA is simply a large electric football field where plastic voters are aligned to move in prescribed formations once the ground starts buzz(word)ing.
It is an iron-clad expectation that these commodity constituents will accept the establishment choice and then stand quietly until the electricity resumes in the next election cycle. They are to be good and loyal team players. You may be assured the fidelity isn’t reciprocated. Because the tornado pins and hog farmers in the country’s interior are hopelessly parochial and probably haven’t even considered the carried interest tax implications for their congressman’s donors. These aren’t the people you want making decisions about their future.
Though if it assuages any concern, I can assure you that unfortunately no Kristols are going to exit the party out of pique. That is because brand inertia is all they have to live on. There’s enormous value in a national brand name, and no charlatans are going to leave that on the table to forage in the political wilderness. That doesn’t mean they won’t openly oppose Trump, even as the nominee. It simply means they won’t abandon their party burrows without being fumigated from them.
Imagine a Trump nomination where every useless remora in the ConInc ecosystem purged themselves to start a new party of true conservatives. They would actually have to attract support from scratch rather than rely on vast voter habit. Without some incandescent personality, this would require ground-up platforming. And so what is the natural constituency for race-shaming, globalist, perma-war, Adelson-first neoconservatism? I’m sure the Jonah Goldberg household is a lock, but prospects grow murky beyond that. Though I’d give them double Graham’s support just to be cautious. There’s a reason Coke doesn’t jettison its name and re-brand the formula as Coco’s Choco-joy.
That being the same reason these rent-boys aren’t going to try building a party from their platform. There’s no value and they know it. The Republican party is the only perch they’ll ever have. It’s their story and they’re sticking to it.