Dear fellow conservatives:
Let us now pledge to elect Hillary Clinton as the 45th president of the United States.
Let’s skip the petty dramas of primaries and caucuses, the debate histrionics, the sour spectacle of the convention in Cleveland. Let’s fast-forward past that sinking October feeling when we belatedly realize we’re going to lose—and lose badly. Let’s move straight to that first Tuesday in November, when we grimly pull the lever for the candidate who has passed all the Conservative Purity Tests (CPTs), meaning we’ve upheld the honor of our politically hopeless cause.
We also want to turn the Republican Party into a gated community. So much nicer that way. If the lesson of Mitt Romney’s predictable loss in 2012 was that it’s bad politics to tell America’s fastest-growing ethnic group that some of their relatives should self-deport, or to castigate 47% of the country as a bunch of moochers—well, so what? Now the party of Lincoln has as its front-runner an insult machine whose political business is to tell Mexicans, Muslims, physically impaired journalists, astute Jewish negotiators and others who cross his sullen gaze that he has no use for them or their political correctness.
And while we’re building a wall around our party, let’s also take the opportunity to throw out a few impostors in our midst. Like that hack, George Will. Or John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, Jeb Bush and every other Republican In Name Only. Or Marco Rubio, who didn’t chicken out on immigration reform quite as quickly or convincingly as Ted Cruz did.
As for what the soul of that movement is supposed to be, we can figure that out later. Donald Trump is a candidate of impulses, not ideas. (If you can hire people to write your books you can also hire them to do your thinking.) This doesn’t seem to have perturbed his supporters in the slightest. Mr. Cruz is happy to be on any side of an issue so long as he can paint himself as a “real Republican”—the implicit goal here being the automatic excommunication of anyone who disagrees with him. Naturally, he’s rising.
We’ll convince ourselves that those voting blocs we’ve spent the past decade alienating—not just Hispanics, or Asian-Americans or gays and lesbians, but also moderates turned off by loudmouth vulgarians, oleaginous debate champs or ostentatiously pious Christians—don’t matter either. Deep down, though, we know the political math doesn’t add up for us. We just don’t care. Because we’ve turned even the appearance of moderation, or the amenability to compromise, into a four-letter word.
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