It’s time to put the Trumpian GOP ‘out of its misery’: conservative ex-Republican
Among Never Trump conservatives, there are two schools of thought when it comes to how badly Republicans deserve to lose in November. Former Ronald Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street journal columnist Peggy Noonan has argued that it is unfair for Republicans in general to be voted out of office because of Trumpism, while The Lincoln Project (an anti-Trump conservative group) believes that President Donald Trump has been so toxic for the GOP and the conservative movement that a “Democratic tsunami” is necessary — one in which Republicans lose control of the White House and the U.S. Senate while expanding their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Former Republican Tom Nichols clearly falls into the second category — and in a scathing article published in The Atlantic on September 10, Nichols argues that the GOP, in its current form, isn’t worth saving.
The 59-year-old Nichols, author of the 2018 book “The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters” and a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, notes that he was a Republican for “most of my adult life.” But he stresses that the GOP of the Reagan era no longer exists.
“I understand the attachment to that GOP, even among those who have sworn to defeat Donald Trump,” Nichols writes. “But the time for sentimentality is over. That party is long gone. Today, the Republicans are the party of ‘American carnage’ and Russian collusion, of scams, plots and weapons-grade contempt for the rule of law. The only decent, sensible, and conservative position is to vote against this Republican Party at every level, and bring the sad final days of a once-great political institution to an end. Then build the party back up again — from scratch.”
Noonan, in the Wall Street Journal, has written that Never Trumpers needn’t express their disdain for Trump in November by voting against incumbent Republican senators and House members in general — that they can vote for Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, without voting a straight Democratic ticket. In Noonan’s view, all Republicans in the U.S. Senate and the House shouldn’t have to pay for Trump’s sins. But Nichols doesn’t share that view and sees Republicans in Congress as Trump’s enablers
Nichols emphasizes, “Trump’s few conservative achievements are meaningless when compared with his war on American democracy — a rampage that few Republicans have lifted a finger to stop…. GOP representatives in the people’s house sneer at concepts such as oversight and the separation of powers. Rather than demand accountability from the executive branch on COVID-19, on the Hatch Act, on the Postal Service — on anything, really— they either repose in sullen silence or they take up the lance for the president and overwhelm committee hearings with Trumpian word salad.”
Conservatives, according to Nichols, “must also let go of fantasies about saving the ‘good’ Republicans, a list that is virtually nonexistent. You can’t count Mitt Romney more than once. The occasional furrowed brow — a specialty of the feckless Susan Collins of Maine — is not enough. The few, like Romney, who have dared grasp at moments of sanity have been pilloried by Trump and other Republicans.”
Nichols concludes his article by stressing that the worse a defeat the GOP suffers in November, the better off the party will be in the long run.
“Trump has brought the United States to the brink of civil catastrophe,” Nichols writes, “and the Republican Party has protected him from the consequences of all his immoral and illegal actions more ably than even Fred Trump did. Conservatives need to put the current Republican Party out of its — and our — misery.”