Here’s why traditional non-MAGA conservatives should be cheering for Biden to do well as president: journalist

Here’s why traditional non-MAGA conservatives should be cheering for Biden to do well as president: journalist
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How Trump killed off Reaganism and changed the face of the US right

The list of veteran non-MAGA conservatives who endorsed Joe Biden over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election is a long one. Biden's right-wing voters included, among many others, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, veteran columnists Mona Charen (who worked in the Reagan White House) and Max Boot, former Sen. Jeff Flake, Cindy McCain, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough (a former GOP congressman), former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, former Mike Pence staffer Olivia Troye, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and former Homeland Security official Elizabeth Neumann. None of that is to say that conservatives who voted for Biden in 2020 don't have policy differences with him, and in an op-ed published the Washington Post on August 12, conservative journalist Michael Gerson lays out some reasons why he is rooting for Biden's success as president — policy differences and all.

"Many of us not naturally inclined to support a Democratic president have developed a rooting interest in Joe Biden's political success," Gerson writes. "This is not mainly due to Biden's skills or vision; it's because he is fighting a rear-guard action to save political rationality."

During his decades in the U.S. Senate, Biden — a centrist Democrat — had a reputation for making bipartisan deals with Republicans. And one of his allies was the late Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who he sometimes agreed with and sometimes disagreed with. A hilarious "Saturday Night Live" skit aired during the 2008 presidential election lampooned that fact that Biden, as Barack Obama's running mate, was running against his long-time ally.

Biden, Gerson stresses, still values bipartisanship — even though MAGA Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, don't.

"Biden treats voters as fundamentally rational beings, who calculate what is best for their families and communities," Gerson writes. "His strategy carries the assumption of sanity. It could have been otherwise — if Republican warnings about Biden's intentions had been remotely true. Biden could have tried to pack the Supreme Court, eliminate the Senate filibuster or sided with more radical elements of his party on police reform in the direction of defunding."

Gerson continues, "Biden might have employed dynamite to solve a jigsaw puzzle — blowing up American politics and hoping the political pieces would come down in their proper places. Instead, it is Republicans who have taken that approach."

The conservative journalist goes on to say that the GOP response to the January 6 insurrection and the COVID-19 pandemic show how irrational and unhinged much of the Republican Party has become.

"By what sane strategy would Republicans defend those who attacked the Capitol on January 6 and snub the police officers who stood in their way?" Gerson writes. "By what theory would some demand public release of the name of the officer who defended House members and the House floor, so that he or she could be targeted for harassment or violence? According to what stratagem would many Republicans fight basic health measures to defeat a deadly virus, thrusting the country back into crisis through their own defiant ignorance?"

On August 13, two Never Trump conservatives — Scarborough and attorney George Conway — discussed Gerson's article on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," which Scarborough hosts with liberal Mika Brzezinski. Scarborough and Conway noted their policy differences with Biden; Scarborough argued that Biden is increasing the United States' federal deficit too much. Yet Scarborough and Conway both stressed that despite their policy differences with the president, they are rooting for him to succeed and consider MAGA a toxic and dangerously extremist movement.

Gerson writes, "The master, Donald Trump, did not carefully organize his troops for battle. He lit them on fire and hoped they would run into enemy lines. The collateral damage to our society, norms and institutions means nothing to him. The traumatized police officers, the harassed election officials

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