A plea to conservative voices
There seems to be a certain weariness in the formerly mainstream media when it comes to reporting on the Trump campaign. He's had them so many times they're behaving like those trout in popular catch-'n'-release western streams that have been hooked so often that they come out of the water dragging along like an old boot.
Instead, most negative energy now emanates from the right. This is because conservatives, and I include myself, are wedded to what we could call a conservative victory script – i.e., elect a strict constitutionalist president, Tea Party majorities in both houses, the right Supreme Court appointees, and so on down our flower-strewn imaginary road back to the former Republic.
And Trump doesn't fit into that scenario.
Well, so what? Isn't that cherished victory script only an illusion? As proof, we might look at what has happened with our state governments – in a word, nothing. Because despite all the hoopla about how many governorships and state legislatures Republicans now firmly control, those victories are essentially meaningless. None of these Republican governments has moved against the extreme left-wing taxpayer-funded mental health establishment or welfare establishment; curbed the absurd explosion of damaging zoning laws, tree commissions, and ridiculous environmental regulation at the local government level; dug out the Democrat endemic voter fraud in their big cities; or squashed taxpayer funded sexual propaganda – a list of conservative reforms that goes on and on, un-attempted, even unmentioned in our Republican-controlled state deliberative bodies.
Let's make this point with a hammer. In every Republican-controlled state I know something about, there is a state university sometimes absorbing hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that has a significant plurality of professors doing their best to teach our young to despise America, its history, and the majority of its people. We all know this, yet the Republican state governments still provide them with an unbelievable level of job security, generous salaries, ridiculously brief working hours, enviable pensions, gold-plated medical plans, and paid travel both domestically and overseas so that they can conference with the like-minded.
Do Republican leaders come down on the side of the angels from time to time? Yes. Do they throw up the occasional great local like Scott Walker? Yes. But overall, the Republican Party at any and every level has shown it does not provide fertile soil for any return to republican values as much as it does a steady harvest of go-along-to-get-along Paul Ryans, John Kasichs, and Jeb Bushes.
And it's this template for governing imposed at the federal level that conservatives expect to lead us back to the promised land?
Wishful thinking, folks.
Enter Trump. I do not know if he is going to be the Republican nominee. I do not even know if I want such a thing. But what is evident is that a lot of voters are sensing, as I do, that there has to be some other path back home to America. Therefore they're willing, even eager to take a roll of the dice with Trump, bust things up, get some new thinking going, some fresh juice.
And humans being human, they enjoy the theater.
Just take solace in the fact that while we conservatives are going all angst and anger about this that or the other remark Trump is making in the midst of a campaign, the Democrats for the first time in memory are losing whatever slim grip they had on reality. Dazed and stupid with dread, they have to watch the formerly mainstream media begin to turn on Hillary – a development Fritz Pettyjohn wonderfully described as "the hive breaking up." They also can't come to terms with the idea that some great number of blacks might vote for Trump in the general election out of sympathy with his stand on immigration; that Reagan Democrats are likely to do a 2016 redux; or the fact that Trump has snatched Hillary's "War on Women" right out of her sweaty little paw and, turnabout being fair play, driven that stiletto deep into her own liver.
Something different is going on in America, and while your love interest might be getting unfairly gored, it's not as if candidates Cruz and Rubio themselves have their mouths wired shut. And so prudence demands that not only our candidates, but we conservatives ourselves think a little deeper about why this election year is unfolding the way it is and how we should position ourselves in order to best advance our cause.
Start thinking about a new victory script.
Before we inflict any Revenant-level wounds on each other.
Richard F. Miniter is the author of The Things I Want Most, Random House, BDD. See it here. He lives and writes in the colonial-era hamlet of Stone Ridge, New York; blogs here; and can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.