During his radio program today, Rush Limbaugh fielded a question from a listener who pointed out that Donald’ Trump’s behavior throughout the campaign proved the “conspiracy theory” that he was intentionally losing the election to Hillary Clinton at Clinton’s behest.
As a loyal Trump supporter, Limbaugh batted down the theory immediately. However, there is a nagging sense of dread among conservatives that the dumpster fire known as the Trump campaign is imploding — by design — and the intent as Limbaugh’s listener claimed was not just to lose the election, but to permanently destroy the Republican party. As with any arson fire, the victims have little time to grieve over their loss. They have to begin the recovery process right away.
In an article on RedState, Joe Cunningham asks, “what will happen to the good guys who supported Trump?” If this campaign were compared to an actual arson fire, investigators would have to take action not only against the person who set the fire, but to anyone who put combustible materials or accelerants on top of the fire, causing more damage. Such is the case with the “good guys who supported Trump.” Cunningham posits it this way:
This election is already tearing us as a movement apart. If we continue to let it divide us after it’s all over, we could lose any chance to recover in the near future. But, if we reward their bad behavior with continued support, what happens when the next Donald Trump comes through?
Using our dumpster fire analogy, some of the conservatives who turned against us may have been doing something that was otherwise innocent, like tossing a cardboard box into the burning dumpster while others were willfully pouring gasoline on the fire in hopes it would burn out faster. As we begin planning for recovery, the conservative movement needs to seriously consider which category a given officeholder, pundit or opinion leader falls into.
Forgiveness, Yes… But.
We don’t have an easy way to determine whether those who abandoned their principles did so because they genuinely thought Trump was a legitimate candidate or because they were blackmailed or bribed. We can look at how their part in the demise of the GOP and damage to the conservative movement played out. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus? Gasoline. Senator Marco Rubio? Cardboard box. Good Christian morals and political decorum call for forgiveness in both cases. However, given that people like Priebus knowingly caused harm to their party and actively worked against conservatives should never be trusted with any role in the movement again. Others like Marco Rubio, deserve to be given some consideration based on their post-Trump record.
Recovery from the Trump dumpster fire will not be easy, and the damage may be so severe that it will take several elections and a new political party to come out stronger in the end. Given the depth of betrayal by the GOP establishment, a new party for conservatives is clearly a necessity. There are many reasons conservatives need to create a new party rather than simply taking over an existing party with ballot access. These are highlighted in J.D. Rucker’s excellent article at The New Americana explaining his efforts to form a conservative party.
Even as the Trump campaign continues to implode and the reality of a Clinton presidency begins to soak in, conservatives need to plan for recovery now. Not a recovery of the GOP. They must own whatever happens. Instead, we need to begin now to plan for a strong showing of conservative candidates in 2018 and building a new party capable of bringing in conservative officeholders before the 2020 presidential cycle. We cannot wait until November or Inauguration Day. The time to plan for recovery has already past. If this matters to you, take the time to read Rucker’s article and join the conservative recovery movement as soon as you see the period at the end of this sentence.
Photo credit: Peretz Partensky (Creative Commons License)