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What is the appeal of the Republican Party to the skeptics of Trumpism?

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What is the appeal of the Republican Party to the skeptics of Trumpism

Recently, I had shared a very generic comment on several political social media threads, advocating that their should be room for assorted conservative-leaning political views in conservative news outlets and publications. Several staunch (and relatively newly-minted) Trump supporters took this position to mean that the current President’s political position is not good enough for me, and that I am essentially advocating for “resistance” within the party. Indeed, overtime some of these supporters have shifted in their own views from thinking that so long as particular conservative positions were met by the administration and the administration embraced the conservative values and fought off progressive attacks they would be happy to becoming firmly convinced that the positions the current administration takes, the fights its chooses, and the methods at its disposal are the only truly conservative views, positions, and methods that exist, and that anything divergent from these expression is either completely unrealistic or undermining the achievements of administration.

That was quite fascinating, because it revealed a great deal about the mindset of the core of the Republican party apparatus and activists at this particular moment in time. It’s worthwhile to take a moment away from the fora where any exploration of this situation is bound to deteriorate into accusations of fascism, totalitarianism, and so forth, and reflect on this mindset – and whether it may have a point. The issue here, of course, is that at least some of such voices are firmly convinced that all other voices within the conservative movement have failed – first, in substance, many of the leading conservatives considered more “moderate” have been intellectual frauds, not true to conservative values. They may also be  political traitors, as likely to aligned with the Democrats as with the right-wingers within their own party. Second, same subset of the Republicans who eschews anything but “Trumpism” at this point as illegitimate and having no place within the party, is concerned that all previous generations of Republicans with other views do not have the fighting skills to respond alternative to the progressive attacks, both in Congress, and throughout the nation.

As we have discussed, however, culturally, it will take people with both deep knowledge of conservatism and creative response tactics, that go beyond name-calling and outright mockery, to outwit a sprawling and blossoming progressive Cultural Apparatus.  The Trumpism proponents, in other words, by focusing on only one type of attack that can be successfully launched, as they see it, are actually limiting their battlefields to the hardcore political realm – where they have already actually lost a few battles, and may be losing more as experienced  Republican lawmakers in Congress announce their retirement one after another, with at least some of them hardline and very respected conservatives.

Admittedly, progressive “Resistance”, sophomoric and harmful to the nation as it is, may actually backfire politically in the upcoming elections, as independents, who may have benefited from the administration’s actual policy come out to support the lawmakers that are getting something done. However, Trumpism as an ideology is a rather confused lot. President Trump’s administration has moved on from its initial hard nationalist position towards a traditional Republican administration, at least in the domestic realm, which is what appears to be on everyone’s minds these days. The foreign policy, on the other hand, is a mish-mash, driven as much by inexperience, as by any ideology or foreign policy vision – and has seen abject failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere. But that is for separate discussion. President Trump himself is swayed by various voices in his administration, and how he is going to be swayed depends on who is there to sway him, as well as on a host of other factors, that may not be replicable with anyone else.

The more interesting question, then, is not whether the Trumpists are right or wrong to welcome or block certain ideas or alternative voices, including, potentially the ones that they know nothing about, because those voices are a reaction to both the failures of pre-Trumpists, and skeptics of the excesses of the movement. The real issue here is who are the Trumpists themselves, what do they actually stand for, and how long will they outlast the end of the Trump administration’s tenure? It is extremely difficult to try to block out other people, when the person you have build your own outlook around does not have his own adherent views on anything, and essentially acts in concert with many of traditional Republicans of various degrees of conservatives.

If during the campaign of 2016, the Trumpian lot more or less identified itself with the Bannon faction, as the Bannonites have more or less lost their influence, and Steve Bannon himself lost the support of most donors, as well as the administration, they have to contend with the fact that Trump’s advisers now range from essentially liberal Jared & Ivanka, to assorted members of Congress of various degrees of conservatives, to Stephen Miller, the only remaining outpost of Bannonism – for now. With most of the foreign policy, excepting Israel, some aspects of the Iran policy, and counterterrorism, wandering in the wilderness, the Trump supporters are now faced with essentially having a position of “My president, right or wrong – and whatever he decides at the moment is right”.

The proclivity to embrace increasingly shrill and crazy candidates for the down ticket, however, is a passing fad, because it’s at odds with the President’s own increasingly traditional positioning on most matters, including, with the exception of tweets, and interpersonal relationships, most policy matters. Trump has made somewhat of truce with his former primary opponents and other critics – and that’s a good thing, because many of them have been steering him in the direction of the best positions his administration has taken so far. For that reason, the tendency of some of the Trump, supporters who were late to the game, to bash Trump’s former opponents as failures makes about as much political sense as progressive “Resistance” to a legitimate president. The administration is composed not just of Trump, but all of his advisers, everyone who executes his policies – and everyone who is focused on getting the job done. While political donors and activists are stuck on ax grinding, the people in power are settling in towards governance, and moving past old election gripes until such time as they become relevant again. In other words, President Trump is leaving a good portion of his own base behind, not in terms of election promises, but in terms of his administration’s political maturity and advancement.

So what does it mean for Republicans and ex-Republicans who’ve been turned off by excesses of Trumpism, or by the worst of Trump supporters, or by the seeming transformation of the party? The answer is simple – it means patience. For all President Trump’s personal shortcomings, the administration is taking many positions that any of the other REpublican candidates would have taken  – much to my relief. That means that the party is not being destroyed by factionalism, and that, surprisingly and imperceptibly, it is actually unifying – and increasingly around a more conservative platform, to the joy of many people. Those who have not quite yet moved on from the initial bitterness and infighting, will be forced to do so sooner or later – first, because the administration needs all the allies it can get; second, if they want to party to grow, rather than to shrink, they will have to sooner or later find a way to rebuild the burned bridges to the well-meaning critics (not the Resistors, obviously), and third, because “this too shall pass”. Inevitably, as the administration s hifts in a more traditional direction, input from experienced individuals who share the same ultimate visioned will be more welcomed, and after the administration is over, it is the people who have contributed to making it a success, not the people who have tried to turn it into a failure that will enjoy popular support and run for higher office. The room at the table for voices who want to be at that table is only a matter of time, and the most shrill and hostile voices, will eventually be outnumbered, because, let’s face it, when the only thing you stand for is reactionism to everything you don’t like, anyone who is working towards something constructive, will find a way to build around your corner of bitterness and upwards.

In other words, the State of the Union is strong, and the State of the Republican Party, though weakened by decades of poor candidates and unprepared members, will get stronger.  We are in a good shape, and the restoration of the Party of Ideas is officially on.

Irina Tsukerman is a human rights and national security lawyer, based in New York. I can send something longer, but then it would go into all the other things I've been involved in and might be too long!

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ed

    February 1, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    You are dreaming.

    Your post ASSUMES that “all conservatives will fall into line and join the TrumpTrain”. Wrong.

    Your post ASSUMES that conservatives will “come back” to the GOP because “they have no other choice”. Wrong. Trump and Priebus took care to burn all bridges in Cleveland in 2016 when they openly bragged about not wanting conservatives in “Their Party” anymore.

    Your post ASSUMES that ‘conservative’ == ‘Republican’. Wrong. “Republican” now stands more for “Trumpism” and all the lack of morality, lack of decency, lack of responsibility that that implies. There is a new party coming on-line – the Federalist Party. Many former Republicans (including myself) have left the GOP behind and have no intent to return.

    If the GOP can so easily and casually reject the conservative values in their own platform, I have no more in common with them or any more use for them. I will even vote against them (possibly for some of the less radical Democrats) until the Federalists come fully on-line with candidates.

    Your post is one expecting conservative Christians to ignore our principles and “support” (ie: approve of, lend aid to) Trump and his various illegal / unethical activities. That will not happen.

    The GOP was warned that alenating their base was a bad move during the Cleveland Convention. They ignored their base in their zeal and eagerness to get Trump elected. Now thay can pay the price – failure at the polls.

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Kentucky Primary

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Kentucky is the state that gave us Rand Paul. He is the biggest highlight, however he is not alone like Ben Sasse in Nebraska. Thomas Massie is also a strong Conservative. This primary has a chance to unseat a major swamp creature. Aside from this one race, there wasn’t much action to be had. Mitch McConnell shows that Kentucky does not have a rich history in holding bad politicians accountable. So if there are any Conservative victories in Kentucky, they should be celebrated vocally.

Best Pick: Geraldo Serrano
Worst Picks: Harold Rogers, Chuck Eddy, Andy Barr
Best Race: District 5
Worst Race: District 6

District 1

James Comer is more fiscally responsible than most RINOs, but he still voted for Omnibus. He is unopposed.

District 2

Bill Gutherie is an unopposed RINO.

District 3

Three Republicans look to win Louisville. The first is Vicky Glisson. She is running a limited issues campaign focused on drugs, healthcare, and a hint of fiscal responsibility. Next is Rhonda Palazzo, the most upfront Conservative in the race. She is a real estate agent and devout Christian. Her stance is overly simplistic, to a fault. Lastly is Mike Craven. His platform is also too simplistic. This race is a three way crapshoot in terms of determining the best candidate.

Conservative Pick: Rhonda Palazzo

District 4

Since 2012, Thomas Massie has been a solid Conservative. He is unopposed.

District 5

Harold Rogers is a decades experienced swamp creature, 33 years in the making. Gerardo Serrano is his challenger. Serrano has Rand Paul potential in both foreign and domestic policy, such as FISA. His website features a unique story of him and a county sheriff, where he held a sheriff accountable when the 2nd amendment was in danger. (The sheriff wasn’t a villain in the story).

I especially like his twitter handle. Geraldo Serrano is a strong candidate, and we desperately as a nation need to unseat swamp monsters such as Harold Rogers.

Conservative Pick: Geraldo Serrano

District 6

Andy Barr is another RINO with a horrendous spending record. He is being challenged by Chuck Eddy. This was a huge disappointment.

I don’t believe he realizes how much a massive walking contradiction he is.

Conservative Pick: None, Barr will undoubtedly win

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Georgia Primary

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Georgia is another state in the deep South that does very little to advance Conservatism in the country. Conservative Picks has thus far shown that the South is not as Conservative as stereotyped. Arkansas sends a bunch of RINOs and so too does Georgia. However, what is remarkable about Georgia is that none of the Republicans except for the awful Senator Iksakson are career politicians. He’s the only one exceeding 12 years other than Democrats, of which, he might as well be. Still, that is something to say about Georgia. The state has a lot of newer faces and most are sycophantic to Trump’s reckless spending agenda. Georgia has some strong Conservatives running to unseat incumbents. The Governor’s race was an additional focus of the Georgia addition because of previous coverage of the candidates involved.

Best Picks: Jody Hice, Shane Hazel, Philip Singelton, Hunter Hill
Worst Picks: Drew Ferguson, Rob Woodall, Rick Allen
Best Race: District 10
Worst Race: District 12

Governor

In the past NOQ Report has interviewed Hunter Hill. He is a strong candidate, with a goal to eliminate the income tax of the state, after fixing the budget. While Casey Cagle, the Lt. Governor is a favorite, forcing a runoff election is best for Conservatism in the state.

Conservative Pick: Hunter Hill

District 1

Earl “Buddy” Carter has been in the seat for three years and has proven to be a RINO with a Liberty Score of 48. He is unopposed.

District 2

This is a blue district. Herman West Jr. is unopposed in this primary.

District 3

After one year in office, Drew Ferguson has proven to be sycophantic to Trump’s reckless spending. The incumbent RINO has shown itself. However, he is being challenged by Philip Singleton. Singleton is campaigning on the exact shortcomings of Ferguson previously described. Fiscal responsibility is a pillar of his campaign as is not funding Planned Parenthood, something the incumbent has failed miserably at. The decorated veteran is also strong on immigration and for free trade.

Conservative Pick: Philip Singleton

District 4

This is another blue district and Joe Profit is unopposed.

District 5

There is no GOP contender.

District 6

Karen Handel is cut from the same cloth as Ferguson. She is unopposed.

District 7

Rob Woodall is yet another RINO. Challenging him is Shane HazelNOQ Report has actually been covering this primary for a while now. You can read his interview with editor Benjamin Wilhelm. Hazel is a strong Conservative and picked up a key endorsement from the Republican Liberty Caucus.

Conservative Pick: Shane Hazel

District 8

Adam Scott is another sycophantic RINO. He is unopposed.

District 9

Doug Collins has been in the game for seven years and is mediocre at best. He’s a spender. He is unopposed.

District 10

Jody Hice is a Freedom Caucus member and has only held the seat since 2014. His Liberty Score of 91 is the highest in Georgia. He has two opponents looking to force him into the runoff election. Bradley Griffin is the first opponent. He has one of the worst websites I’ve seen, functionally speaking. His platform is strong. In fact, it doesn’t seem as though he opposes Hice on any issue. The second opponent is Joe Hunt. The probably RINO warning is sounded at his campaign motto “Traditional Values and Sensible Politics.” It’s far too easy to find a social conservative but a real Conservative is more difficult. All signs point to Hunt running from the left such as his support for Net Neutrality.

Hice and Griffin are strong Conservatives, but Griffin lacks a record of action, of which Jody Hice is exceptionally strong. Because of that, voting for him is too great a risk. It would have been ideal for Griffin to have been in another District.

Conservative Pick: Jody Hice

District 11

Barry Loudermilk is like milk. He will only get worse over time. (This pun was unplanned.) He is unopposed.

District 12

Omnibus was one of a few times where Rick Allen remained fiscally Conservative. Eugene Yu looks to unseat him for the third time. Unsurprisingly, as a legal immigrant, his stance is strong. He also running as a fiscal hawk. We’ve seen this plenty of times before, but he doesn’t have any contradicting campaign talk on these matters. Rick Allen may have voted against Omnibus, but his record isn’t strong enough.

Conservative Pick: Eugene Yu

District 13

There is a race to turn the district red between Femi Akinkugbe and David Callahan. This was relatively easy to decide. Akinkugbe is for raising gun rights from 18 to 21. Callahan is a much stronger pick, having been involved with CPAC and a stronger stance on other issues. Interestingly enough, neither voted for Trump in the primaries. Akinkugbe voted for Rubio and Callahan for Fiorina. Either way, Akinkugbe isn’t a Conservative.

 Conservative Pick: David Callahan

District 14

Tom Graves is an incumbent RINO. He is unopposed.

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Culture and Religion

The Context of Life

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Man #1 shoots Man #2. As a result, Man #2 dies. Is Man #1 a murderer?

Obviously, it depends. Context matters. Did Man #1 fire in self-defense? Did he shoot Man #2 by accident? Was Man #1 part of a legally appointed firing squad or under a hypnotic trance? Was the weapon a prop gun that mistakenly contained live ammunition? There are many points to consider before we can definitively say that an instance of killing constitutes murder.

Let’s try another thought exercise: protesters are gunned down by a neighboring country’s military forces. Is this murder? Is it a breach of international law? Is it a gross violation of human rights?

Again, it depends. Context matters. Are these protesters peaceful, or are they, say, planting landmines, tossing grenades, hurling molotov cocktails, and threatening to invade the country that is firing back at them? Have these protesters sworn to murder and pillage their neighbors until they are eradicated from the earth, all in the name of radical religious zeal? Are upwards of 50 out of the 62 protesters killed members of a terrorist organization?

Here’s another one: are illegal immigrants animals?

That depends; are the immigrants in question members of a ruthless gang that rips the beating hearts out of its victims? Do these immigrants peddle drugs, commit brutal assaults, and routinely rape women? Given the context and Oxford’s alternative definition of “animal” — “a person whose behavior is regarded as devoid of human attributes or civilizing influences, especially someone who is very cruel, violent, or repulsive. Synonyms: brute, beast, monster, devil, demon, fiend” — I think we can deem that perhaps too kind a descriptor.

Some people, however, seem to reject the value of context when it goes against their narrative. For instance, on the issue of calling MS-13 members “animals,” singer John Legend tweeted on Thursday, “Even human beings who commit heinous acts are the same species as us, not ‘animals’. I’m in the hospital with our new son. Any of these babies here could end up committing terrible crimes in the future. It’s easy, once they’ve done so, to distance ourselves from their humanity. … Dehumanizing large groups of people is the demagogue’s precursor to visiting violence and pain upon them.”

While MS-13 undoubtedly deserves any visitation of violence and pain upon them, the most glaring hole in Legend’s argument is that mere hours ago, he wouldn’t have considered “any of these babies” to be the same species as him (except when it’s his own baby). And as an outspoken donor and supporter of Planned Parenthood, he wouldn’t hesitate to defend the visitation of violence and pain upon them. But because of arbitrary abortion arguments, Legend and countless other Leftists ascribe more humanity to murderous villains than preborn babies.

Ironically, the one issue where Leftists insist on considering context is the one topic for which nuance is largely counterproductive — the sanctity of life.

As mentioned earlier, not all killing is murder, nor is it always unjustified. The right to life is unalienable, meaning it is intrinsic and therefore cannot be given nor taken away by man. It can, however, be surrendered through certain violations of another person’s unalienable rights. This is why many conservatives support capital punishment for perpetrators of homicide and rape. But it’s critical to recognize that this position is taken in order to emphasize the dignity of life and the severity of seriously harming and/or violating it. Similar reasoning is what justifies depriving someone of their unalienable right to liberty after they’ve committed a crime — they’ve automatically surrendered that right based on their actions.

That single caveat aside, any attempt to contextualize the debate for life pushes the dialogue further down a nonsensical rabbit hole designed to cheapen the worth of the weakest among us, or, to borrow Legend’s term, “dehumanize” them. At every turn, the argument gets slipperier and slipperier.

The Left will say that all human life is precious, even murderers, but they don’t extend this philosophy to unborn babies.

“Context!” they scream. “Fetuses aren’t fully human, and they aren’t really alive.”

Even if we gave the Left that argument, we have to ask whether fetal life, though not fully developed, is still worth protecting.

But the Left can’t give a straight answer here either, because while they celebrate a woman’s choice to terminate her unborn child, they cry for the conservation of fetuses that aren’t even human, proclaiming their inherent dignity well before birth. Eagle and sea turtle eggs come to mind, among other examples.

Next, the Left tries to establish what differentiates a human before birth and a human after birth, or rather what about birth makes someone human, but their attempts at context again fall short:

On one hand, they say it’s about viability outside of the womb, but standards of what constitutes viability are fully arbitrary. A baby born at 37 weeks is no more viable than one at 41 weeks that refuses to pop out — but because it’s still in the womb, it’s still not a living human, apparently. A baby born at 25 weeks in a big city is more viable than a baby born at 35 weeks in the boonies. My one-year-old daughter couldn’t survive without constant care from someone else, and neither could many elderly folks.

Other pro-aborts claim that if there’s no heartbeat, there’s no life, yet I don’t see many of them rushing to pull the plug on grandpa because he’s hooked up to a pacemaker.

I’ve heard some say that a baby’s first breath is what makes it human — so what about those who require artificial sources of oxygen? And if air confers humanity, then why aren’t all air-breathing animals human? If it determines life, then what happens when I hold my breath? I have the potential to breathe again, just as a fetus, left alone, has the potential to be born through natural processes.

The same goes for the sentience test. People in comas still enjoy an unalienable right to life.

Under the law, a woman can abort her baby, but if a pregnant woman is murdered, the assailant is charged with double homicide. No context can sensibly explain this double standard.

Some on the Right are guilty of it too. When asked whether abortion is murder, many engage in a similar exercise to the example I presented earlier about whether a shooting death necessarily constitutes murder: “it depends, what are the circumstances?”

There is no nuance to this question. Either the intentional taking of innocent life is murder or it is not. What difference does it make whether the baby was the result of rape or incest? I’ve stated in this very article that rape sometimes requires taking a life — but the baby is not the guilty party. Either life is sacred or it is not, regardless of how it got there.

Others cite the safety of the mother as context, but this argument is likewise flawed. Pursuing a vital cure for a woman’s ailment that indirectly harms the baby isn’t the intentional taking of innocent life but an unfortunate externality, so it’s not murder. And the case for actively terminating a pregnancy to save a mother is virtually identical to a self-defense argument, but again, there’s a problem: a baby is not an aggressor. It does not violate a woman’s rights, and a woman cannot violate the rights of her baby.

And a baby either has rights or it doesn’t. “Unalienable” means a baby doesn’t magically receive rights the moment it exits the birth canal, nor are a human’s rights any less inherent because he or she is dependent on someone or something else to sustain them. From the moment of existence, all human life has worth.

Life is the only consistent position, and it is so straightforward that it requires no nuance. Life either has intrinsic value or it does not. Context matters in almost every discussion of politics. But on the question of life, what people think is context is just an excuse to kill.


Richie Angel is the Editor at Large of thenewguards.net. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.

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