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April 25, 2023

Michael Brennan Doherty: The Bulwark Longs For the Days When They Could Lie to Conservatives and Profit From It

Sarah Longwell works for The Bulwark. She often is a source for leftwing media articles which say, for example, that DeSantis is failing.

She is an all-purpose source for Democrat hit-pieces. The leftwing media always refer to her as a "longtime conservative activist," even though she's a lesbian and has always been on the left of the party, and a hater of The Deplorables, to the extent she was part of it at all, and has been being paid by Pierre Omidyar and other Democrats to flack for Democrats for over six years now.

A rare non-horrible piece at National Review, which is like a pre-op The Bulwark, fully transitioned, but without actually cutting any parts off.

At the Bulwark, Sarah Longwell argues that one of the clearest results of her many focus groups of Republican voters is that they don't want to turn the clock back to the time before Donald Trump. She writes, "The Republican party has been irretrievably altered and, as one GOP voter put it succinctly, 'We're never going back.'"

And this basically dooms candidates such as Mike Pence and Nikki Haley who are running as if the pre-Trump world still existed. She quotes voters who identify these candidates as "pre-2016" throwbacks, one voter saying of Haley: "She would just be right back to the Paul Ryan, John Boehner kind of a thing. That's a no-go for me."

Longwell ends ominously with the warning that the next election cycle will dispel any notion of a return to the pre-Trump party. "The question, then, will be what AT [After Trump] Republican politics evolves into once everyone in the Republican party understands that it is the future. The answer isn't likely to be pretty."

It's a piece that interests me because I agree with Longwell that there is no coming back. But, it is also emblematic of a certain strain of rueful NeverTrump commentary. It never ventures beyond what has become the Bulwark's enduring thesis of American politics: Republican voters are deplorables after all.

Longwell never stops to consider one obvious self-interested reason Republicans would not want to go back to the pre-Trump party, which is that Donald Trump, despite driving a historic turnout against himself in 2020, never took the party to the depths it experienced under George W. Bush in 2006 and 2008.


The Bush-era bait-and-switch politics tended to disabuse grassroots conservatives of the idea that the elected GOP leadership cared about the same issues or had the same concerns they had. Of course they don't want to go back to being used and abused. Putting up with all of the baggage Trump brought with him is a testament to how much they wanted a change.

The same high-handed attitude toward Republican voters is continuous in NeverTrumpism, where many of the intellectual luminaries on the right during the Bush era seamlessly defected to repeat liberal accusations and liberal slurs against the voters, Fox viewers, and readers they once courted.

After all, the voters in the Republican Party didn't really change. They remain the more pro-life party. They remain the party more supportive of religious liberty, the party whose members stand to lose more from the moral revolution unleashed by Obergefell and Bostock. They remain opposed to amnesty. They defend the Second Amendment. The big thing that changed is that the Bush administration wised them up to the game being played on them.

Their critics, however, have abandoned even the pretense of social conservatism and have abandoned every political position they once held. They've retained only their fondness for foreign intervention and made explicit what was only hinted at when they were in power and influence: their contempt for the voters that make up the Republican coalition.

You can only Con the Rubes for so long before the Rubes get wise.

digg this
posted by Ace at 04:15 PM

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