Tuesday, October 4, 2016

His point makes impeccable - and nearly unbearably painful - sense to me, but I can't bring myself to sign up for his solution

First Things columnist Peter Spiliakos, writing at NRO, goes through the ins and outs of why Madame BleachBit and Squirrel-Hair are both horrible and of no use to post-America, and then really rubs our nose in the gravel by reminding us that demographic trends are by no means our friend:

Some Trump supporters argue that, because of demographic change, this is our “last chance” to stop the Left, but they are mistaken. If taken at their word, that means that Trump’s victory would be not our last chance, but our last hurrah. Demographic change, with or without amnesty, is baked into the 2020 cake. Any conservative recovery would require a coalition that combines the mass of Trump voters with non-whites whose answers to survey questions places them on the center-right but who vote for Democrats in elections. If Trump had never been born, we would face the same problem on the same schedule.

What happens if Trump wins and — as I think would be likely — makes fabulous deals with incoming Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on judges and immigration? I expect that Trump’s principled supporters will join us Never Trumpers to stand up against him (even though their leverage will be minimal to nonexistent and they will draw Trump’s hate). But the opportunists and the party apparatchiks will stick with President Mister Trump and tell us that we are traitors, and that we will get even worse judges, amnesties, and guest-worker programs with the Democrats. There are also the inevitable disasters that will arise from Trump’s erratic personality.

The result of all this will be civil war in which all sides will lose. As Ross Douthat wrote, in the event of a failed Trump presidency, the general public will not distinguish between conservative factions. They will not distinguish the false conservatism of a traitorous Trump from the hard-edged tea party-politics of Ted Cruz or the pro-middle-class constitutionalism of Mike Lee. In the short term, all will be smashed. By 2020, any voter under 40 will be able to remember only two Republican presidencies — both failures.

The downside risk of Trump is not just that we get the worst of Trump. It is that we get the worst of Trump followed by a president from a radicalizing Democratic party — and probably another overwhelmingly Democratic Congress. Then, you shall see national transformation.

Even after such a succession of disasters, we conservatives (Trump supporters and Trump opponents) will still have the responsibility to work together to build a better politics. The hour will be later and the ruin will be more complete, but we would still have the duty to redeem what we can of the situation. That responsibility is what endures. Most conservatives will vote for Trump. Some will not. I will write in someone’s name. But if Trump wins, his principled critics and his principled supporters should work together to help him when he is right and oppose him when he is wrong. If Trump loses, those same groups should work together to build a post-Trump Right that addresses the concerns of Trump’s working-class supporters and earns the votes of persuadable Americans who could not be persuaded to vote for Trump. Whatever happens, we should recognize one another as friends divided by prudential differences in difficult circumstances. Whatever happens, we should reconcile on the basis of our shared principles — because whatever happens, we will share the same fate.
That last part - his prescription for a way forward - is where I get off the bus.

Early on in his piece, he identifies Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich as contemptible figures, and rightly so, but goes on to make much of how many Trump supporters are people of integrity and intellectual clarity.

Mr. Spiliakos, you needed to go much farther in naming names. Laura Ingraham. Ann Coulter, Conrad Black. Wayne Allen Root. And you needed to point out how poisonous they have been to the future of conservatism.

It's going to be far more difficult - make that far less possible - than you're making out for righties to do a kumbaya after whichever disaster befalls us at the end of this horrible year.

What you are right about is how much darker things are going to get from here. What you need to see more clearly is how needed the ability to see things clearly is going to be when it gets that dark.

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