by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
David French‘s latest column at National Review Online responds to Donald Trump’s imminent victory in the Republican presidential race with the question: “What Now, Conservatives?”
The party of Lincoln is in ruins. A minority of its primary voters have torched its founders’ legacy by voting for a man who combines old-school Democratic ideology, a bizarre form of hyper-violent isolationism, fringe conspiracy theories, and serial lies with an enthusiastic flock of online racists to create perhaps the most toxic electoral coalition since George Wallace. Then — to add insult to injury — multiple GOP leaders bulldozed the ashes by issuing nauseating calls for unity. …
… So, what now? If the conservative movement is to endure in the short term and prevail in the long term, it has to combine immediate short-term responses with a number of long-term strategic changes. This is a clarifying moment in American political history — a moment that gives conservatives the opportunity to act decisively, to start anew.
First, it is absolutely vital that conservatives stay firm in their opposition to Trump. For at least a generation, the Left has been arguing that American conservatism is shot through with racism, sexism, and xenophobia. And now millions of Americans will face the difficult task of rebutting charges of hateful bigotry while supporting a man who gives aid and comfort to avowed racists, incites violence, and can’t even consistently disavow the Klan. Trump is the destroyer of conservatism, and he will taint all who take his side.
Next, donors, activists, and volunteers must go all-in to preserve the Republican majority in the House (the Senate as well, but that’s a tall order). Hundreds of millions of donor dollars are sitting on the sideline, along with tens of thousands of demoralized volunteers. If the House falls, we’ll potentially see cap-and-trade, card check, expansive new gun-control regulations, and amnesty. Moreover, if the House falls, don’t assume it can be retaken with ease. A GOP that nominates Trump and potentially loses its congressional majorities risks wandering in the wilderness for years — assuming it even survives as a viable political party.