by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait published a piece asking why more disgruntled Republicans don’t punish their party by switching sides. Chait notes that the “strongest defense against the election of an extreme or unfit leader is for his more mainstream partners to defect en masse.” Yet with few exceptions, Never Trump Republicans — especially Never Trump social conservatives — were steadfastly Never Hillary and remain (as Chait calls it) “Never-Democrats.” Why?
I’d suggest the answer lies in the words “extreme” and “mainstream.” Chait’s premise implies that Republicans have gone extreme, yet more-sensible conservatives are strangely refusing to join a mainstream opposition. Yet that’s not how the world looks from the right side of the aisle. From there, it looks as if the Democratic party is responding to Trump by galloping away from the center, doubling down on the very policies and ideologies that led Evangelicals to vote en masse for Trump as a form of simple self-defense. …
… When disgruntled conservatives survey the national landscape, they see a president who’s engaged in appalling behavior, and a #resistance that is sprinting away from them as fast as it can. Too many members of the #resistance aren’t willing to compromise sufficiently even to maintain the culture-war status quo. There should be more tax funding for abortion, less religious freedom, and less free speech, they say.