The Conservative Resistance and 2020

American Conservative correspondent Curt Mills’ latest dispatch takes account of a leading indicator of President Trump’s 2020 chances.  While some prognosticators look to betting markets or polls to predict likely electoral outcomes, Mills casts his eyes to a more inside source: long-term lobbying.  When big Washington players start prepping a year out from Election Day, spending large sums to expand operations in the hope their man remains in the Oval Office, watch out.  This isn’t penny-ante gambling on Bernie winning Iowa.  It’s leases and contracts and debt accumulation, all based on potential influence.

“Come next autumn, the music may, finally, stop on the Trump show,” Mills writes.  “But Washington is teeming with savvy operators that are quietly betting otherwise.”

Among those putting in their chips on Trump’s reelection are the hawkish Center for Security Policy, the regime-change operatives at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, upstart center-right broadcaster Newsmax, and a few ventures hatched out of Steve Bannon’s mottled pate.

Beltway bandits investing in a Trump Administration’s second term bodes well for the President, despite his “drain the swamp” pledge.  But, consider the obverse: what does it mean for the anti-Trump industry that formed from the tailing of the billionaire real-estate tycoon dynamiting the GOP and ascending to the White House?

I’m not referring to the long-established constellation of left-wing think tanks, donor networks, and elected Democrats who have an obvious benefit in besting Trump next November.  I’m talking about the small band of intransigents who once referred to themselves as “#NeverTrump.” Though they profess to be conservative, even Republicans, these self-styled apostates have fallen foul of their former party.

To name but a few of the players in the right-wing anti-Trump industry: Matt Lewis, David French, Jonah Goldberg, Steve Hayes, Jennifer Rubin, Bill Kristol, Charlie Sykes, Tom Nichols.  There’s the delusional duo of Bill Weld and Joe Walsh, former lawmakers challenging Trump for the Republican presidential nomination.  Then there’s Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who ditched his G.O.P. membership because it was clearer than winter air he couldn’t win a pro-Trump primary challenge.

The former occupy sinecure scribbler positions, while occasionally serving as the token conservative on CNN or MSNBC roundtables, briefing against Trump “from the right,” but really just repeating the leftie talking points wrapped in conservative jargon.  The others, as former and current elected officials, serve as Democrats’ useful idiots, attempting to sow discord in the Republican ranks, while being rewarded with few minutes each week on CNN to badmouth Trump.

Will these figures have a financial future once Trump is out of office, be it in one year or four?  Should Trump retire to Mar-a-Lago, will they come crawling back to the Republican Party, resuming their perches from which to toss invective at the liberal opposition?

Dante judged treason to be the harshest sin, placing traitors in the lowest depths of damnation.  Likewise, if social-media reaction is any indication, Republican voters aren’t about to let these heretics back into the fold.  They’ll remember: when the President was buffeted with criticism from all sides, the anti-Trumpers took the easy way out and joined the revilement.

With their former party no longer a welcome redoubt, will these Trump critics find a permanent home with the Democrats?  Fat chance.  Even if the likes of Lewis or Kristol or Nichols renounced their conservative beliefs and fully adopted the whole liberal exposition, they’d have the same problem. Their former allegiance to the right makes them untrustworthy to the left.

Some conservative Trump opponents are trying to get ahead of being out of demand.  Hayes, Goldberg, and French recently launched a center-right hard-news outfit, with a premium package that retails for the Potomac-adjacent price of $1,500.  The problem is, the journalistic chops of reactionary Trump haters is in question.  Many, including the aspiring publishers, entertained the now-disproven narrative that Trump colluded with Russia to trounce Hillary.  They also denounced the Republican lead on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, for suggesting malfeasance was involved in the F.B.I.’s surveillance of the Trump campaign.  We now know that Rep. Nunes was accurate in his depiction of the James Comey-led F.B.I. as a bunch of malevolent dunderheads.

If this is the new conservative journalism, I’ll stick with the lies and misrepresentations of the classics, like the New York Times.  Botching the biggest story of the last three years -- supposed collusion with a foreign adversary, inappropriate surveillance of a U.S. citizen’s presidential campaign -- isn’t an auspicious sign for the saeculum of anti-Trumpist news publishing.

Just as well, Rep. Amash’s embrace of Trump’s impeachment isn’t helping his reelection effort as an independent, with the public increasingly souring on the process.  And Weld and Walsh have about as much of a chance of knocking off Trump as the Republican nominee as Marianne Williamson has of channeling crystal energy to win the Democratic primary.

Persona non grata within the Republican Party, squeezed dry of their usefulness to the Democrats, and unlikely to sell a serious product in the marketplace, anti-Trumpists may end up as political waifs.

But, minds change easily in politics, especially with livelihoods on the line.  Solzhenitsyn said from good to evil is one quaver.  From anti-Trump to reluctant Trump supporter could only be one paycheck.

American Conservative correspondent Curt Mills’ latest dispatch takes account of a leading indicator of President Trump’s 2020 chances.  While some prognosticators look to betting markets or polls to predict likely electoral outcomes, Mills casts his eyes to a more inside source: long-term lobbying.  When big Washington players start prepping a year out from Election Day, spending large sums to expand operations in the hope their man remains in the Oval Office, watch out.  This isn’t penny-ante gambling on Bernie winning Iowa.  It’s leases and contracts and debt accumulation, all based on potential influence.

“Come next autumn, the music may, finally, stop on the Trump show,” Mills writes.  “But Washington is teeming with savvy operators that are quietly betting otherwise.”

Among those putting in their chips on Trump’s reelection are the hawkish Center for Security Policy, the regime-change operatives at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, upstart center-right broadcaster Newsmax, and a few ventures hatched out of Steve Bannon’s mottled pate.

Beltway bandits investing in a Trump Administration’s second term bodes well for the President, despite his “drain the swamp” pledge.  But, consider the obverse: what does it mean for the anti-Trump industry that formed from the tailing of the billionaire real-estate tycoon dynamiting the GOP and ascending to the White House?

I’m not referring to the long-established constellation of left-wing think tanks, donor networks, and elected Democrats who have an obvious benefit in besting Trump next November.  I’m talking about the small band of intransigents who once referred to themselves as “#NeverTrump.” Though they profess to be conservative, even Republicans, these self-styled apostates have fallen foul of their former party.

To name but a few of the players in the right-wing anti-Trump industry: Matt Lewis, David French, Jonah Goldberg, Steve Hayes, Jennifer Rubin, Bill Kristol, Charlie Sykes, Tom Nichols.  There’s the delusional duo of Bill Weld and Joe Walsh, former lawmakers challenging Trump for the Republican presidential nomination.  Then there’s Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who ditched his G.O.P. membership because it was clearer than winter air he couldn’t win a pro-Trump primary challenge.

The former occupy sinecure scribbler positions, while occasionally serving as the token conservative on CNN or MSNBC roundtables, briefing against Trump “from the right,” but really just repeating the leftie talking points wrapped in conservative jargon.  The others, as former and current elected officials, serve as Democrats’ useful idiots, attempting to sow discord in the Republican ranks, while being rewarded with few minutes each week on CNN to badmouth Trump.

Will these figures have a financial future once Trump is out of office, be it in one year or four?  Should Trump retire to Mar-a-Lago, will they come crawling back to the Republican Party, resuming their perches from which to toss invective at the liberal opposition?

Dante judged treason to be the harshest sin, placing traitors in the lowest depths of damnation.  Likewise, if social-media reaction is any indication, Republican voters aren’t about to let these heretics back into the fold.  They’ll remember: when the President was buffeted with criticism from all sides, the anti-Trumpers took the easy way out and joined the revilement.

With their former party no longer a welcome redoubt, will these Trump critics find a permanent home with the Democrats?  Fat chance.  Even if the likes of Lewis or Kristol or Nichols renounced their conservative beliefs and fully adopted the whole liberal exposition, they’d have the same problem. Their former allegiance to the right makes them untrustworthy to the left.

Some conservative Trump opponents are trying to get ahead of being out of demand.  Hayes, Goldberg, and French recently launched a center-right hard-news outfit, with a premium package that retails for the Potomac-adjacent price of $1,500.  The problem is, the journalistic chops of reactionary Trump haters is in question.  Many, including the aspiring publishers, entertained the now-disproven narrative that Trump colluded with Russia to trounce Hillary.  They also denounced the Republican lead on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, for suggesting malfeasance was involved in the F.B.I.’s surveillance of the Trump campaign.  We now know that Rep. Nunes was accurate in his depiction of the James Comey-led F.B.I. as a bunch of malevolent dunderheads.

If this is the new conservative journalism, I’ll stick with the lies and misrepresentations of the classics, like the New York Times.  Botching the biggest story of the last three years -- supposed collusion with a foreign adversary, inappropriate surveillance of a U.S. citizen’s presidential campaign -- isn’t an auspicious sign for the saeculum of anti-Trumpist news publishing.

Just as well, Rep. Amash’s embrace of Trump’s impeachment isn’t helping his reelection effort as an independent, with the public increasingly souring on the process.  And Weld and Walsh have about as much of a chance of knocking off Trump as the Republican nominee as Marianne Williamson has of channeling crystal energy to win the Democratic primary.

Persona non grata within the Republican Party, squeezed dry of their usefulness to the Democrats, and unlikely to sell a serious product in the marketplace, anti-Trumpists may end up as political waifs.

But, minds change easily in politics, especially with livelihoods on the line.  Solzhenitsyn said from good to evil is one quaver.  From anti-Trump to reluctant Trump supporter could only be one paycheck.