Ex-Republican explains she now believes her former party is filled with 'enemies of democracy'
In 2020, conservative columnist Mona Charen did something that would have shocked her readers back in the 1980s, 1990s or 2000s: she voted for a Democratic presidential nominee. Charen is among the veteran conservatives who — like Washington Post columnists George Will and Max Boot, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and The Bulwark's Bill Kristol — was a blistering critic of Donald Trump's presidency. And in an op-ed published by Haaretz on February 8, the former Nancy Reagan speechwriter lays out some of the reasons why she is glad to see President Joe Biden in the White House and considers pro-Trump Republicans enemies of democracy.
"Like progressives, conservatives believe in reform, but are more likely to stress gradualism, small-scale experimentation and prudence," Charen, now 63, explains in her op-ed. "From the very outset of his run for the presidency, Donald Trump smashed those understandings of what conservatism was. His lies alone were enough to signal his unfitness. Flagrant lying is a key feature of authoritarianism."
Charen, contrary to what many Trumpistas claim, hasn't turned into a liberal or a progressive — her views are still decidedly right-wing. But Charen views Trumpism as a radical departure from the Reagan conservatism she embraced during the 1980s and 1990s. And although Charen has some policy differences with Biden, she applauds him for believing in the rule of law.
The word "conservative," Charen laments, has come to be "associated with White/Christian identity movements, hostility to immigrants, a personality cult, and openness to conspiracies."
"Since the attempted coup of January 6, many conservatives, along with high percentages of Republicans, have shown themselves to be enemies of the American constitutional order," Charen warns. "In opposing Trump and working for a Biden victory, many of us in the Never Trump camp have been happy to make alliances with progressives and others who are committed to decency and the rule of law."
I was a Republican from 1980 until 2016. But I've never been happier about an election victory than I am today.— Mona Charen (@Mona Charen)1604767466.0
A wide range of Trump critics supported Biden in 2020, from right-wing conservatives like Cindy McCain (widow of the late GOP Sen. John McCain), former Sen. Jeff Flake, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to centrist Blue Dog Democrats to progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City. Charen wraps up her op-ed by saying that it remains to be seen where the right/center/left coalition that supported Biden last year will "go from here."
"Some will become Democrats," Charen writes. "Others will work to reform the Republican Party. Still others will consider forming a new party. America desperately needs a sane center-right party. The matter is urgent because as things now stand, every general election between Democrats and the current Republican Party will be a contest between democracy and its enemies."
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