Some progressive Democrats forget that ‘Never Trump conservatives’ are 'actually conservative'
Centrist Democrat Joe Biden enjoyed a broad range of support during his 2020 presidential campaign, from right-wing Never Trump conservatives like Cindy McCain, former Sen. Jeff Flake, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough (a former GOP congressman) and Washington Post columnist George Will to self-described "democratic socialists" like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City. One of the Never Trumpers who endorsed Biden was journalist Charlie Sykes, who continues to rail against former President Donald Trump with a vengeance. But in an October 15 column for The Bulwark, Sykes argues that progressive Democrats sometimes forget that anti-Trump conservatives who joined the Biden coalition are still conservatives.
"The spending, the wokeness, the repeal of the Hyde Amendment — I could go on," Sykes writes. "These are difficult times for folks on the center-right, who've tried to join Democrats in a loose alliance to protect the republic from Trumpism. In fact, this odd coupling has proven to be more than a little awkward at times. Some on the left are willing to embrace Never Trump conservatives as allies, until they realize that some of them are actually conservative."
Sykes has made it clear that he wants Biden to do well as president, as he considers Trump and the MAGA movement to be dangerously authoritarian. Like others at The Bulwark, Sykes regards Trumpism not as a traditional conservative movement, but as a far-right White nationalist movement. But opposing Trumpism, Sykes stresses in his column, doesn't mean he has quit being conservative.
"There is also a pretty consistent drumbeat insisting that we all actually become Democrats — or at least vote straight ticket," Sykes explains. "Litmus tests are applied: it's not enough to be pro-democracy, NTers are also expected to embrace the elements of the progressive agenda — from free community college, to abortion, rent moratoriums, police funding, transgenderism, CRT, social spending, and the candidacy of Greta Thunberg for sainthood."
Conservative CNN pundit Amanda Carpenter, another Never Trumper who writes for The Bulwark, recently tweeted:
This idea that Republicans who stand up for democracy, somehow, ought to become full-blown Democrats or else none o… https://t.co/FwBnM1MvN6— Amanda Carpenter (@Amanda Carpenter) 1634218781.0
@amandacarpenter Hold on, voting to throw the economy of America and the world in the ditch and not pay for bills a… https://t.co/Z0IDxNrRdN— Mehdi Hasan (@Mehdi Hasan) 1634240265.0
In his column, Sykes also takes aim at MAGA Republicans who falsely claim he has turned into a progressive.
"There's an urban myth popular among the MAGA and anti-anti-Trump crowds that Never Trumpers enjoy a mad social whirl of wokist cocktails parties and revel in the strange new respect and embrace of our former political foes," Sykes observes. "Eh, no."
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