Have the NeverTrumps found their candidate?

Forgive me, dear reader, for being late to the pooh-pooh party.

Commentators of a certain Numquam Trumpus disposition are apparently hitching their wagon to another lost cause two falls from now.  After searching far and wide, in hills and in hollers, for a respectable challenger to the president's domination of the Republican Party, it appears some perfervid anti-Trumpers have found their man.

Justin Amash, the von Mises–quoting congressman from Michigan, is the NeverTrump candidate for the next election.  At least, that's columnist Matt Lewis's supposition.  Writing in The Daily Beast, Lewis endorses a nonexistent Amash bid, lauding his "moral courage" for joining Democrats in calling for Trump's impeachment.


Justin Amash.  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.)

 

Right off the bat, Lewis admits he's "not naïve enough to think [Amash] can win."  Well, OK, then.  End the column.  Cancel the streamers.  Can we still get a refund for the Hudson River fireworks show?  See you all in 2024, when the Democrats excavate Lenin's corpse to run.

Hold up: Lewis is still serious, in spite of his misgivings about Amash's chances.  He knows the rogue congressman would be a protest candidate, failing to sway the election in either direction.

Say, isn't this fail-first campaign redolent of the last sorry attempt conservative Trump opponents made to soothe their egos?  In 2016, they rallied around a cue ball–headed Mormon whose vaunted conservative principles turned out to be made out of whole cloth.  And he still gets an NBC byline.

Justin Amash will never be president.  Lewis knows that but wants voting for Trump to be beyond the pale.  Why?  Well, because he's a brutish bore who undermines the institutional integrity of the republic, and something something something...*loud snores*

No, really.  Here's why Lewis finds the president so detestable: "Trump's authoritarian tendencies, disrespect for the rule of law, and lack of civility and temperament make it impossible to back him."

You still awake, attentive reader?  Good, I thought I lost you there, among the preening prating about Trump disassembling a two-century-old government from within.  Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court, Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, Andrew Jackson filled his administration with toadies, but Trump's tweets are a unique threat to our constitutional order and the metaphysical propriety of American politics that exists only inside Lewis's head.

It is remarkable what little purchase Beltway conservative attacks on Trump have among salt-of-the-earth Republican voters.  During the 2016 primaries, he sustained sorties from the intellectual doyens of the conservative movement, including a full-blown National Review issue dedicated to his destruction, with nary a scratch.  Trump was labeled a Democratic intrigant, a louse, a blackguard, a no-count carnival barker.  His straight-from-the-shoulder demeanor was seen as inimical to the conservative world-weary brand of Kirk-quoting pseuds adorned with tweed jackets and crêpe-de-chine pocket squares.

Yet he remains unchallenged heading into the 2020 election, absent a bibulous former blue-state governor nobody outside Reason's subscription list has heard of.  Hence Lewis's entreating Amash to run.  The libertarian-ish congressman isn't about to throw his Adam Smith tie into the ring, though.

It's ironic that Lewis, an establishment scribbler, has been reduced to courting Amash, who has long been a pill to Republican leadership for his obsessive philosophical hewing to the plain language of the Constitution.  He refused to vote for bills defunding National Public Radio and Planned Parenthood, one a longtime liberal punching bag, the other a baby-maiming factory, because he considers it unconstitutional to target specific entities for the stripping of public funds.

Lewis really just wants someone to vote for "in good conscience."  It's a fair, if fatuous, request.  Most voters don't want to feel as though they need a scalding shower after emerging from the voter booth.  But politics isn't a cleanly game with easy, spick-and-span results.  It's dirty, it's compromising, and it's mostly unsatisfactory.  You make a choice between imperfect options.

Rather than see Trump for what he is — a flaxen straw in the wind signaling a new political alignment — the rarefied conservative class still views him as an existential threat to their popularity industry that's bolstered by occasional Fox News appearances and artificially inflated book sales.  Trump, in his own inchoate manner, peels back the respectable veneer of politics, revealing it as a naked power struggle.  It's refreshingly honest, for the outside observer.

For insiders like Lewis, it's disconcerting, because they are forced to see themselves in the mirror for what they truly are: hacks and apparatchiks.

Justin Amash's animus toward the president isn't a redoubt for conservatives trying to weather Hurricane Donald.  It's an anomalous blip in the partisan war of sound bites that constitutes our jejune politics.

Lewis should consult the Gospels if he's looking for a savior.

Forgive me, dear reader, for being late to the pooh-pooh party.

Commentators of a certain Numquam Trumpus disposition are apparently hitching their wagon to another lost cause two falls from now.  After searching far and wide, in hills and in hollers, for a respectable challenger to the president's domination of the Republican Party, it appears some perfervid anti-Trumpers have found their man.

Justin Amash, the von Mises–quoting congressman from Michigan, is the NeverTrump candidate for the next election.  At least, that's columnist Matt Lewis's supposition.  Writing in The Daily Beast, Lewis endorses a nonexistent Amash bid, lauding his "moral courage" for joining Democrats in calling for Trump's impeachment.


Justin Amash.  (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.)

 

Right off the bat, Lewis admits he's "not naïve enough to think [Amash] can win."  Well, OK, then.  End the column.  Cancel the streamers.  Can we still get a refund for the Hudson River fireworks show?  See you all in 2024, when the Democrats excavate Lenin's corpse to run.

Hold up: Lewis is still serious, in spite of his misgivings about Amash's chances.  He knows the rogue congressman would be a protest candidate, failing to sway the election in either direction.

Say, isn't this fail-first campaign redolent of the last sorry attempt conservative Trump opponents made to soothe their egos?  In 2016, they rallied around a cue ball–headed Mormon whose vaunted conservative principles turned out to be made out of whole cloth.  And he still gets an NBC byline.

Justin Amash will never be president.  Lewis knows that but wants voting for Trump to be beyond the pale.  Why?  Well, because he's a brutish bore who undermines the institutional integrity of the republic, and something something something...*loud snores*

No, really.  Here's why Lewis finds the president so detestable: "Trump's authoritarian tendencies, disrespect for the rule of law, and lack of civility and temperament make it impossible to back him."

You still awake, attentive reader?  Good, I thought I lost you there, among the preening prating about Trump disassembling a two-century-old government from within.  Franklin Roosevelt tried to pack the Supreme Court, Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, Andrew Jackson filled his administration with toadies, but Trump's tweets are a unique threat to our constitutional order and the metaphysical propriety of American politics that exists only inside Lewis's head.

It is remarkable what little purchase Beltway conservative attacks on Trump have among salt-of-the-earth Republican voters.  During the 2016 primaries, he sustained sorties from the intellectual doyens of the conservative movement, including a full-blown National Review issue dedicated to his destruction, with nary a scratch.  Trump was labeled a Democratic intrigant, a louse, a blackguard, a no-count carnival barker.  His straight-from-the-shoulder demeanor was seen as inimical to the conservative world-weary brand of Kirk-quoting pseuds adorned with tweed jackets and crêpe-de-chine pocket squares.

Yet he remains unchallenged heading into the 2020 election, absent a bibulous former blue-state governor nobody outside Reason's subscription list has heard of.  Hence Lewis's entreating Amash to run.  The libertarian-ish congressman isn't about to throw his Adam Smith tie into the ring, though.

It's ironic that Lewis, an establishment scribbler, has been reduced to courting Amash, who has long been a pill to Republican leadership for his obsessive philosophical hewing to the plain language of the Constitution.  He refused to vote for bills defunding National Public Radio and Planned Parenthood, one a longtime liberal punching bag, the other a baby-maiming factory, because he considers it unconstitutional to target specific entities for the stripping of public funds.

Lewis really just wants someone to vote for "in good conscience."  It's a fair, if fatuous, request.  Most voters don't want to feel as though they need a scalding shower after emerging from the voter booth.  But politics isn't a cleanly game with easy, spick-and-span results.  It's dirty, it's compromising, and it's mostly unsatisfactory.  You make a choice between imperfect options.

Rather than see Trump for what he is — a flaxen straw in the wind signaling a new political alignment — the rarefied conservative class still views him as an existential threat to their popularity industry that's bolstered by occasional Fox News appearances and artificially inflated book sales.  Trump, in his own inchoate manner, peels back the respectable veneer of politics, revealing it as a naked power struggle.  It's refreshingly honest, for the outside observer.

For insiders like Lewis, it's disconcerting, because they are forced to see themselves in the mirror for what they truly are: hacks and apparatchiks.

Justin Amash's animus toward the president isn't a redoubt for conservatives trying to weather Hurricane Donald.  It's an anomalous blip in the partisan war of sound bites that constitutes our jejune politics.

Lewis should consult the Gospels if he's looking for a savior.