Conservative writer asks: Is the Republican Party a lost cause?

Conservative writer asks: Is the Republican Party a lost cause?
Credit: Gage Skidmore

When George W. Bush was president, journalist Bill Kristol was often bashed by liberals and progressives for his hawkish neoconservative views on foreign policy and his support of the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq. But in the Trump era, Kristol has become an unlikely ally of the liberal pundits at MSNBC and often finds himself commiserating with them. Kristol, now 67, is one of the most outspoken Never Trump conservatives. And in a July 14 article for the right-wing website The Bulwark (which he co-founded), Kristol poses the question: is the Republican Party a lost cause?


Kristol writes that his answer to his own question is “I don’t know,” but he’s certain about one thing: there is no future in the Trumpian version of the GOP.

“On the one hand, with embarrassingly few exceptions at every level, the Republican Party is Donald Trump’s party,” Kristol asserts. “So, in many ways, it deserves to be a lost cause. On the other hand, after November 3, the GOP may stop  — more or less suddenly, and more or less convincingly — being Donald Trump’s party. It might even stop being the party of Trumpism. On the third hand, it will still have been Donald Trump’s party. And that moral and political stain can’t, and shouldn’t, simply be wished away.”

The right-wing anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project — whose activists include attorney George Conway and conservative strategists Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt — is hoping that November’s election will a massive landslide for the Democratic Party. But they aren’t pushing for a giant blue wave because they have developed a sudden fondness for liberal and progressive causes: their reasoning is that Trump has been so disastrous and so toxic for the GOP and the conservative movement that only a thorough rejection of Trumpism by voters can save the American right.

Kristol, similarly, argues that as long as Trumpism is influential in the Republican Party, it deserves to lose elections: he has made no secret of the fact that he would love to see former Vice President Joe Biden win by a landslide in November. But Kristol is still hoping the GOP can be redeemed, although he fears that it can’t.

“It would be good for the country if there were a conservative party that wasn’t a nativist/proto-authoritarian/nationalist-populist party,” Kristol writes. “This would be the case for not giving up on the GOP, but rather, fighting to save it…. Maybe we should root for the GOP to be salvaged, while acknowledging it won’t be saved by people like us.”By “people like us,” Kristol is referring to Never Trumpers — who, Kristol laments, have become “personae non gratae” in his former party.

Kristol writes, “I will admit that my heart, today, is with ‘the Republican party is a lost cause’ faction…. Heart or mind? Lost cause or worth trying to save? I don’t know.”

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