A recent POLITICO piece entitled “He’s Destroyed Conservatism: the Republican Case Against Trump’s GOP” features an extensive interview with one Stuart Stevens, a long-time political adviser and operative who worked to get a great many Republicans elected. Stevens is and has always been one of that breed of Republicans who call himself a “Never Trumper”, and like other Never-Trumpers, he has is set of reasons to believe that “anything is better than having this man as president.”
The article and interview are very instructive and having read it, I strongly suggest that our readers read this piece and spend some time with it. The reason is simple: Reading the viewpoints of Mr. Stevens shows me a man who is profoundly out of touch with reality. He is indeed a great poltical operative, but he experienced shock when Trump got elected, because Donald Trump was the manifestation of a new and vital reality shoved upon GOP people that Democrats had known for at least eight years before Trump was elected: This is no longer about politics and minor policy changes. This is the Big Push to either revolution or resistance to revolution.
Mr Stevens still does not see this, but most Trump supporters do, as do the Democrats who are more activist in nature. It is possible that there are still a lot of Democrats who do not like the far-left direction their party leads with, but who are unwilling to believe that their own comfortable window of what is politically “acceptable” has been long smashed to bits.
This “unmasking” of the real sides of the conflict is understandably slow. Politics and political viewpoints are much like religious ones: They are very personally held, and no one holding a particular viewpoint likes to be told their viewpoint is wrong. This applies wherever the person’s own worldview places them and it creates a lot of inertia. We covered this in our Second Civil War series with the piece about the Combatants, that noted the four sides that I saw involved in the civil conflict our nation finds itself in presently.
Mr Stevens shows this in one of his summary statements he offered about the Republican party:
“I keep coming back to: What does the party stand for? Four years ago, 90 percent of Republicans would say personal responsibility, character counts, strong on Russia, fiscal sanity, legal immigration, free trade. But now the party’s 100 percent against all these things. We’re left of Bernie Sanders on trade. We’re way to his left on Russia; Bernie may have honeymooned in Russia, but he didn’t marry Putin. We’re for an imperial presidency. I guess when the next Democratic president does an executive order for a wealth tax, we’ll be OK with it.”
This is a remarkable comment because Mr. Stevens’ take is extremely inaccurate. Let’s put it this way: If Mr. Stevens’ claim that the GOP is left of Bernie on Trade and married to Putin is true, then the GOP really IS in a lot of trouble, because it left a lot of its members far behind with that notion.
To refute those perspectives, this is what we have observed in the GOP on these issues:
- Personal responsibility is super important. To be free from government interference was the original intent of our nation’s Constitution, and many of us hold this freedom very dearly.
- Character indeed matters, but the definition Mr. Stevens assigns to Trump regarding character is his own personal view, and how each of us judges character is not going to be the same. Many Orthodox Christian Trump supporters consider President Trump to have impeccable character, in the vein of Constantine the Great or St John the Baptist, in being absolutely committed to what is right, no matter whom it may offend. Similarly there are other Orthodox Christians in America who still think that Christianity is primarily about being nice to people. They have a problem with Mr. Trump because he is not nice to people.
- Strong on Russia: Anyone reading my pieces or those of many other and much better writers than I know how fabricated the “cold war” narrative is when applied to Russia. We opine that “Strong on Russia” is something in drastic need of redefinition. Of course, I live in Russia and work increasingly closely with people who have President Putin’s own ear. While not in the inner circle, the general consensus is that the whole narrative of Russia as threat to the USA is nonsense, something constructed by the American intelligence agencies to control American citizens.
- Fiscal sanity: There is no one in any party that I know of save possibly Senator Rand Paul that gives a serious rip about fiscal sanity. I agree that this lack of care is a very, very bad idea. Pandemic or not, we are playing a dangerous game being in debt like we have been.
- Free trade: I think Mr. Stevens may be implying that Trump is not for free trade. If so, I disagree. I think the issue has always been fair trade and without special concessions to China, especially now, as the country is no longer really in need of concessions. China is gigantic in terms of her economy and she can play with the big boys now just fine. I see no need for “special trade status” for them.
- Legal immigration: Again there appears to be an implication that Stevens thinks Trump and the modern GOP is not for legal immigration. This is not true at all. They are ONLY for LEGAL immigration. The problem presently is that there are a lot of people that support ILLEGAL immigration with no consequences. Those people include a LOT of GOP people, business owners that profit from the use of cheap labor (no insurance, off-the-books payments, no or limited benefits and the like) and I would say that neither party really wants to crack down on this and that only a few Republicans and Trump want to make a difference. If the GOP had really cared about fixing this, it would have been done with ease and long ago.
It would seem that Stuart Stevens and many other Never Trumpers are floundering for “the way things used to be.”
The POLITICO piece ostensibly is designed to push people away from the GOP on the grounds that it is no longer what it used to be. The argument by extension is of course to push people either not to vote GOP or to vote Democrat as an alternative to “get things back the way they used to be.” Indeed, this is the line being offered by the Democrat Party itself in its effort to market Joe Biden as a more “gentlemanly” approach to politics, one which would “command respect” from the world.
However, for the Trump supporter, this way is precisely why The Donald is so necessary.
The old line was that “The Democrats and the Republicans are the same: they are both liberal but the Democrats just want to get there faster.”
This was borne out in policy decisions that took America inexorably to the left, with abortion being “made” legal in the Supreme Court in 1973, not even in legislation passed by Congress. It happened with “medical marijuana” legalization, though many knew that this was merely a stepping stone to full legalization which is now taking place (and which of course has a direct connection to the rioting taking place now); this move to the left was drastically sped up by President Barack Obama with the legalization of drugs beginning, notably after his own public statement that “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life… I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol…” And of course, also during Obama’s tenure was the “legalization” of same sex marriage, again by Supreme Court fiat because the legalization of same sex marriage was failing in most states.
For a great many Americans who hold religious ideas and family traditions as more important than what any government has to say (which is correct), the sense had been that the Left would always win. There was nothing anybody could do about it. The left was like a creeping cancer- unstoppable.
Then came Donald Trump. With his list of court nominees approved by a prominent Christian and Constitutionalist organization, the Heritage Foundation, and his off-the-cuff style critical of what doesn’t work, and what is wrong, regardless of who did it, a huge block of the American population realized this man was worth taking a chance on. We have not been disappointed by him at all, though we have learned that he plays the political game in a daring, swashbuckling way that sometimes is frightening at first to see. Even while Trump has not taken the path somebody like Pat Buchanan would take, his approach, while not claiming religious basis, unerringly confirms Christian praxis as instructed by Christ himself. In my opinion, this is far more effective than it would have been were it that Trump proceeded from a specifically religious basis. He would have been taken to pieces by people on all sides.
For the Trump supporter, our man has come through for us, and he does so every day. We do not pay attention to CBS, NBC or the other big networks. We tune in directly through C-Span or YouTube or live feeds from anyone covering him and we watch what he does and says ourselves. He has almost never disappointed me, and I think this same reaction is shared by a great many people.
Mr. Stevens is indeed a great political operative. But from what the interview piece says, he does not understand that for the Trump supporter, politics is not important. Policy is. Getting the nation away from the lemminglike run off the cliff into darkness that the Left keeps pushing all of us into is of great importance. Seeing the riots carried out by people stoned into the inability to think about anything other than rage is a sign that the comfortable days of mild political disagreement are over.
We do not need such politicians now. We need warriors.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.