Something called “The Lincoln Project” released an ad recently called “It’s Mourning In America.” The advertisement is painfully disconnected to what conservatives and libertarians — Republicans, by any other name — actually want from a political party. It’s a dour, doom-and-gloom vision of America as an awful place where everything is bad and everything’s going to be bad and you should feel very, very bad because Trump is president.
In other words, it’s wrong.
Yes, things are rough right now. Things are rough because we let the Powers That Are convince us that the only way to save ourselves from the pandemic was to put a gun to the temple of our economy and pull the trigger. That’s going to take time to work out of — but who do you want in charge of America’s recovery? The man who oversaw record economic growth once the shackles of Obama’s doldrums were broken… or the people who genuinely believed that Trump’s levels of economic success were impossible before they happened?
The “Never Trump” movement was understandable enough when it started. There were people (and I was one of them) who worried that Trump had spent his entire life as a Democrat. We were worried that, once elected, Trump would govern far enough to the left that it would hardly matter that a Republican had won the election. Certainly nobody seemed to understand why Trump and his particular brand of populism were winning over Republican voters during the primaries. When he won, we were concerned.
In the months that followed, Trump endured unprecedented attacks on his person, his character, his family, his administration, and his policies. At every turn, whatever he accomplished was done in spite of the Washington machine. He was not entirely innocent in the chaos that ensued, of course. Trump is not a trained politician and in many ways had utterly no idea what he was doing. But he had the right attitude, and more importantly, he had the courage to keep going.
The result was a president who seemed to be flying apart at any given moment… but whose policies were surprisingly conservative. Trump is, arguably, the most conservative president since Ronald Reagan, his right-leaning populism lending him more “red state” street cred than either of the lukewarm, moderate Bushes managed to display.
Given this, of what possible use are attacks on Trump by Republicans? What do the members of the Lincoln Project, bitterly clinging to their “Never Trump” hatred for The Donald, hope to achieve? They’ve certainly offered no viable candidate to challenge Trump in the primaries. Given Trump’s popularity before (and even during and despite) the pandemic, trying to weaken him before a national bid for reelection seems reckless if not insane. We’ve seen what Trump does in office, and it is far more consistently Republican, capital-R, than it would have been under either of Trump’s GOP predecessors. So why is “Never Trump” still a thing?
Let’s set aside for a moment that “Never Trump,” as an idea, is stillborn. The concept was that Trump should never become president. Well, he did — so “never” really doesn’t make much sense. But then, in that way, it makes as little sense thematically as “Never Trump” makes in practice. What manner of Republican spends his time attacking his own party’s highest office holder, when there are so many thoroughly worthy Democrat opponents? At a time when the Democrat Party is more out of touch with Americans and America than ever before, at a time when their policies would doom America to poverty, despair, and destruction, why devote energy and money to attacking a man who is already president?
There can be only one answer. The “Never Trump” stalwarts hate themselves. They hate their party. They are Republicans in name only, desperate to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. And that is what their plan, and their pitiful movement, would achieve if it had any legs at all: defeat.
This is obvious in their messaging. At a time when Americans need hope more than anything, at a time when Americans want to rebuild from the destruction of the last several months, telling us how awful we, our country, and our president are is the wrong message.
Ronald Reagan’s “It’s Morning In America” speech was an attempt to give despairing Americans hope. The nation was sorely damaged by the Carter years. Stagflation, a crumbling military, and a weak president had all shoved their knives deep in America’s flanks. Reagan gave us something to look forward to, something to build toward. He told us, not how awful America was, but how great it could become. That was the essence of “Morning In America”… and thus subverting that message is doubly ironic. The Lincoln Project’s self-hating RINOs don’t just hate Trump. They hate America’s success.
They aren’t sad that it’s supposedly “mourning in America.” They delight in it. They see it as a weapon with which to attack the man they hate so very much. Given what Trump has managed to accomplish despite his critics’ attacks in the last three years, this level of hatred is irrational and personal. It is not based on any real offense given. It therefore can only be projection.
When you hate someone who has done nothing to hurt you — and instead has worked for free, donating his salary while helping all Americans prosper — that can only be self-loathing of the worst kind. That type of self-hatred demands an external target. It demands an outlet, which the Lincoln Project finds in Trump.
The only question left to ask is this: Why do Never Trumpers hate themselves? What is their goal? More specifically, who is helped by their attacks on their own party and its president? When you answer those questions, you will understand who the Never Trumpers are… and in that identity is wrapped another truth: A RINO is a Democrat, a Democrat is a Communist… and Communists hate everyone. It’s what they do. It’s who they are.
And that’s why we must oppose them.