Change is not on the menu here.
Long before Trump, Republican politicians and their apologists in the establishment conservative media labored indefatigably to convince their constituents that, come what may, the GOP would “save the country” from the ravages of the excessive Left. The “Reagan Revolution,” the “Contract with America,” the “Moral Majority,” “Compassionate Conservatism,” the “Tea Party,” and, now, MAGA—these are the media concoctions, the theatrical props, the bright and shiny things that traditional Republican voters have been manipulated into believing for decades. It’s ultimately the same concept repackaged for a new generation under a different label.
The idea that there is a rock-ribbed, true-blue conservative or patriotic contingent, separate from and opposed to “the establishment,” promising to pull America back from the precipice of destruction on which she stands has been the GOP’s bread and butter for decades. Every election is “the most important election of our lifetime.”
Republican voters should pause and ask themselves a question that never seem to get thoroughly explored: To paraphrase Reagan’s query from 1980:
Is the Left more or less powerful in 2022 than they’ve been in the past?
The Left-Right paradigm within which American politics plays out is itself a function of the collective delusion from which Republican and Democratic voters alike suffer. Still, for present purposes, we’ll speak the conventional language and say that it’s difficult to conceive of a single front on which “the Left” hasn’t made considerable advances.
In some cases, particularly over the last couple of years, during the COVID era, the Left made shockingly, historically unprecedented advances.
So, why exactly is it that those who have always voted Republican should continue doing so?
How, exactly, does voting Republican amount to “fighting the Left?”
Trump tried his best, but had too many powerful forces with which to contend and that ultimately thwarted his plans.
Republicans gain the House, but then tell their supporters that they can’t do the things that they say they were going to do because they don’t have the Senate and the presidency. They gain the Senate, but then tell their supporters that they can’t do what they promised, because they don’t yet have the presidency. They gain the presidency, but then tell their supporters that they can’t really do what they promised because of the recalcitrance of traitorous Republicans, the cynicism and opportunism of Democrats, the partisanship of the media, and/or the subversionary machinations of a massive bureaucracy (the “deep state”).
Republicans—whether Trump or anyone else—will never, can never, “defeat the Left” and “save the country” as they promise. And all GOP politicians must, at some level, know this. At the very least, they must know that they can never affect the kinds of substantive, enduring changes that voters expect from them as long as all of the obstacles to which they invariably appeal in accounting for their failures persist!
In other words, if “RINOs,” Democrats, a hostile media, and deep state apparatchiks have always prevented Republicans in the past from enacting the platform and the agenda on which they campaign, why should voters expect that Republicans will be able to surmount those obstacles now?!
What do Republicans, elected today, plan on doing to ensure that all of the hostile forces that have undermined them since forever will finally be neutralized?
If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result, then voting Republican is insane.
Sometimes our biggest, most insuperable dilemmas are expressed quite handily in bumper-sticker slogans:
- No matter who you vote for, a politician always gets in
- There is no political solution to the problems caused by politics
- There is no voting our way out of this
- If voting could actually change anything, it would be illegal
- If the Founders were around today, they’d already be shooting
And the most telling one of all, more apposite to our present circumstances than any other:
You may vote your way into socialism, but you must shoot your way out.
And so we have. And so we must, or else relinquish our sacred birthright of freedom forever.
In 1964, Ronald Reagan delivered the greatest of his many great speeches at the Republican National Convention, a truly deathless oration whose words will stir the souls and fire the blood of the liberty-minded until the end of days. The speech has come to be known variously as either the “A Time For Choosing” speech, which if I remember right was its official title, or more simply as the “Freedom Speech.” Its best-known and most beloved passage couldn’t be a more perfect closer for this post, I believe.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
Alas, as grim as that final prognostication certainly is, the way things have worked out is far, far worse: we’re spending our sunset years telling ourselves that we are in fact still free, having exchanged our proud heritage for the chains we willingly accepted because it was so much easier, prodding our children and children’s children to likewise take them up themselves. What life was once like in a still-free America has long since been shorn from memory, both collective and personal.
A damned good thing it has been, too; such a proud and noble past piles a burden of shame onto us lesser men who proved to be inadequate to rise to its challenge, to redeem its promise for ourselves and our posterity. Shame so profound can but be a source of genuine anguish deep down inside, amounting as it does to a blistering rebuke which no apology can ever set aright.