An example of the genuine divide

Coincidentally at RealClear Politics were two posts side by side, one that made a case for sincere beliefs on both sides of the US political divide – see Each political side sincerely believes – while another illustrated the divide in action, not between left and right but between conservatives with different views on Donald Trump.

Dennis Prager:

Why Conservatives Still Attack Trump

When people you know well, admire, and who share your values do something you strongly oppose, you have two options:

1) Cease admiring them or 2) try to understand them and change their minds.

In the case of my conservative friends who still snipe (or worse) at President Trump, I have rejected option one.

That means my only choice is option two. But to try to change their minds, I must first try to understand their thinking.

I have concluded that there are a few reasons that explain conservatives who were Never-Trumpers during the election, and who remain anti-Trump today.

The first and, by far, the greatest reason is this: They do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake.

While they strongly differ with the left, they do not regard the left-right battle as an existential battle for preserving our nation. On the other hand, I, and other conservative Trump supporters, do.

A genuine belief that explains to an extent why some pro-Trumpers react adversely to any criticism of the president.

That is why, after vigorously opposing Trump’s candidacy during the Republican primaries, I vigorously supported him once he won the nomination. I believed then, as I do now, that America was doomed if a Democrat had been elected president.

With the Supreme Court and hundreds of additional federal judgeships in the balance; with the Democrats’ relentless push toward European-style socialism — completely undoing the unique American value of limited government; the misuse of the government to suppress conservative speech; the continuing degradation of our universities and high schools; the weakening of the American military; and so much more, America, as envisioned by the Founders, would have been lost, perhaps irreversibly.

The “fundamental transformation” that candidate Barack Obama promised in 2008 would have been completed by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

This sort of desperation seems odd to me but I see it in politics here too – it’s common to see comments at The Standard and The Daily Blog who believe that New Zealand is doomed if National remain in power, if it isn’t beyond repair already.

To my amazement, no anti-Trump conservative writer sees it that way. They all thought during the election, and still think, that while it would not have been a good thing if Hillary Clinton had won, it wouldn’t have been a catastrophe either.

It is unlikely to have been a catastrophe, just as Trump hasn’t been a catastrophe. There are things to be concerned about, but the sky hasn’t fallen yet.

That’s it, in a nutshell. Many conservatives, including me, believe that it would have been close to over for America as America if the Republican candidate, who happened to be a flawed man named Donald Trump, had not won. Moreover, I am certain that only Donald Trump would have defeated Hillary Clinton.

That’s far from certain. Clinton was a poor candidate and ran a poor campaign, and the Us had had eight years of a Democrat president, so a decent Republican candidate would have had a good chance of beating Clinton.

In other words, I believe that Donald Trump may have saved the country. And that, in my book, covers a lot of sins — foolish tweets, included.

That’s why some are willing to forgive or ignore Trump’s obvious flaws and possibly a lot of sins – as long as it’s not Clinton just about anything is excused.

Had any Never-Trump conservative been told, say in the summer of 2015, that a Republican would win the 2016 election and, within his first few months in office, appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court; begin the process of replacing Obamacare; bomb Russia’s ally, Assad, after he again used chemical weapons; appoint the most conservative cabinet in modern American history; begin undoing hysteria-based, economy-choking EPA regulations; label the Iranian regime “evil” in front of 50 Muslim heads of state; wear a yarmulke at the Western Wall; appoint a U.N. ambassador who regularly condemns the U.N. for its moral hypocrisy; restore the military budget; and work on lowering corporate tax rates, among other conservative achievements — that Never-Trump conservative would have been jumping for joy.

So, why aren’t anti-Trump conservatives jumping for joy?

Because Trump. He isn’t Clinton, but there are plenty of legitimate causes for real concern.

…these people are only human: After investing so much energy in opposing Trump’s election, and after predicting his nomination would lead to electoral disaster, it’s hard to for them to admit they were wrong.

To see him fulfill many of his conservative election promises, again in defiance of predictions, is a bitter pill.

It’s far too soon to judge whether those who feared a Trump presidency were justified in their concerns or not.

But if they hang on to their Never-Trumpism and the president falls on his face, they can say they were right all along.

That’s quaint but also pathetic. Many people with concerns about Trump don’t want the presidency and the US to turn to custard, that’s why they have genuine concerns.

That means that only if he fails can their reputations be redeemed. And they, of course, know that.

Prager started by saying “try to understand them and change their minds” but he’s about as far from understanding as he could get. He’s trying to shame them into ignoring crap and fears of crap because it’s less crappy than Clinton may have been.

They can join the fight. They can accept an imperfect reality and acknowledge that we are in a civil war, and that Trump, with all his flaws, is our general. If this general is going to win, he needs the best fighters. But too many of them, some of the best minds of the conservative movement, are AWOL.

I beg them: Please report for duty.

Talking up a civil war seems bizarre but it helps me understand how Trump supporters are so staunch and react badly to any criticism.

But while Prager has made his point badly he does make a valid point – perhaps more conservatives need to report for duty.

Trump himself still looks like an egotistic deluded loose cannon. The best way of minimising the risks and doing the best with what they have been lumbered with is for competent conservatives to let the president ponce on his pedestal and step in and do the hard work for him. Some, like Secretary of Defence James Mattis, are doing that.

But that won’t be easy.

24 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  May 31, 2017

    I think you missed the target commenting that Trump’s critics dont’t want his presidency to fail. IMO those with strong ideological sectarian allegiences want exactly that.

    • Some no doubt do want his presidency to fail, same for Obama, GW Bush, Bill Clinton and backwards.

      But that post is about conservatives who are concerned about Trump – I doubt that they want his presidency to fail.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  May 31, 2017

        I think you underestimate the hostility between those Republican factions, PG. They were furious that Trump got the nomination and would be even more furious if he made a success of the presidency.

  2. I believe this to be an excellent analysis. I mean this in general terms and not specifically the USA. It’s certainly how I respond a political situation. The longer a government I do not support is in power the more I feel the social fabric and economy are being compromised, if not disintegrating and the more “work” needs to be done to rectify the situation when my party is reinstated.

    A leader can be so polarising he/she can force one to view one’s allegiance to a party. Will this happen with Never-Trumpers? For example, as a Labour supporter I so admired and respected Mike Moore that when he was rolled by HC it set a chain of reaction in place that saw me start the process of changing my allegiance and eventually turning blue. Will this happen in America?

    • Blazer

       /  May 31, 2017

      Moore turned blue too….as public sentiment does when a political party become arrogant and….visionless.Moore was quite emotional and enthusiastic,thats about ..all.

      • Traveller

         /  May 31, 2017

        “Emotional and enthusiastic” huh. How bizarre one can reduce a man of such breadth and a life of such accomplishment so utterly pithily.

        Commissioner, UN Commission of Legal Empowerment of the Poor.
        Commissioner, Global Commission on International Migration.
        Director General of the World Trade Organisation 1999–2002.
        Founding member, Global Leadership Foundation.
        Senior Counsellor, Fonterra.
        Member, Trilateral Commission.
        Member, Economic Development Board, South Australia.
        Special Advisor, China Institute for Reform and Development’s World Trade Organisation Reference Centre.
        New Zealand Government Trade Envoy.
        Special Advisor to the UN Global Compact for Business and Development.
        Former Board Member to the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute.
        Member, Board of Governors for the Institute for International Business, Economics and Law, University of Adelaide.
        Adjunct Professor, La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia and University of Adelaide, South Australia.
        Chairperson, Advisory Board of Carnegie Mellon University, Adelaide.
        Honorary Professor, Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai.
        Honorary Professor, Chinese University for Political Science and International Law, Beijing.
        Honorary Professor, Shanghai Customs College.
        Visiting Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Birmingham, 2003.
        Member, Competition Council, South Australia.
        Honorary President, Beijing Afforestation Foundation.[14]

        • Blazer

           /  June 1, 2017

          by his own admission,he couldn’t get a job…in the private sector.What in your opinion was, his greatest achievement…..?’Lamburgers’ seem his most remembered.

  3. Dave Kennedy

     /  May 31, 2017

    If we are going all in on the RealClearPolitics omnibus edition, here is an interesting bigger picture perspective on recent political events that was linked yesterday. Too many big jargony words and a bit pointy head to grasp all the nuances (and yawn inducingly long), but maybe worth a skim

    https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2017/05/new-class-war/

  4. artcroft

     /  May 31, 2017

    Long may Trump covfefe.

    • Gezza

       /  May 31, 2017

      Quite likely the codeword everyone’s been waiting for & the arrests will soon begin. Seth Rich will be avenged & his body parts will be returned.

      • Anonymous Coward

         /  May 31, 2017

        Those body parts were smuggled to Pakistan inside used cars, they ain’t coming back.

        • Gezza

           /  May 31, 2017

          When it’s finally revealed how Mueller’s 10 grams of weapons grade uranium he gave the Russians is tied in to this whole thing these fiends house of cards will come crashing down. We should’ve known the ‘old’ Mossad would bring it all to light.

          • Gezza

             /  May 31, 2017

            Area 51. The truth will be revealed at last.

          • Anonymous Coward

             /  May 31, 2017

            Apparently George Webb is currently holed up and fearing being murdered by the FBI, so we may never know.

            • Gezza

               /  May 31, 2017

              Well he was holed up in a hotel in Washington where ex FBI agents were stalking him & probably intending some wet work on his, but he escaped with help from Jason Goodman & they’re hiding out in the open at some other (named) chap’s house & probably hoping like hell the Zohan isn’t being sent to get him.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  May 31, 2017

              BJ will be relieved.

            • Gezza

               /  May 31, 2017

              Btw, 1Ewes announced tonite that T-Rex is visiting NZ – in a few days time I think. Supposedly for discussions with English & Brownlee. Cover story? Really here to talk to KDC❓ 🤔

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  May 31, 2017

              we’ll have to wait and see what George says.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  May 31, 2017

              He might be delivering a new heart?

            • Gezza

               /  May 31, 2017

              If Jared’s coming too, might pay for someone to make some champagne popsicles.

            • Anonymous Coward

               /  May 31, 2017

              If Jared’s coming they’ll have to dig out the playpen from the garage.

            • Gezza

               /  May 31, 2017

              It’s Jerome Corsi’s place George & Jason staying at. Good move. He’s a reporter for infowars so there’s probably a hardened bomb shelter and a huge armoury there. Also two-way radios, a secure link to Jonesy’s radio & tv war room, a year’s supply of vitamins & supplements, & aluminum suits so their movements can’t be tracked by CIA drones with infra-red cameras. And probably thousands of armed supporters will heading there right now to surround & defend the place when the feds come.

  1. An example of the genuine divide – NZ Conservative Coalition