So let me get this straight: the “conservatives” learned on Friday, via an old tape, that Donald Trump can sometimes say lecherous things. This has them jumping up and down for joy. Finally, a smoking gun that will slay the dragon! They’re happier than they’d have been if Hillary Clinton were caught red-handed deleting 30,000 emails, making a corrupt deal with the corrupt Justice Department and FBI, and lying to the people’s face about it.
Let another layer of irony sink in. One of the reasons Hillary is in the position she’s in now is that over the decades she intimidated victims and helped cover up Bill’s sex crimes. Trump by all accounts is a player. We knew that before this election cycle even started. Indeed, that was one of the initial reasons for the “conservative” opposition. But no one has ever accused him of rape. Yet our conservatives are positively giddy over a tape that shows Trump talking like a player, so their solution is to hand the government over to … a rape apologist and wife of a rapist.
This is typical of the “Right”: whine ineffectually about real criminality while the Left defends the indefensible. But if someone on our side gets a parking ticket, immediately throw him to the wolves to show the Left how “virtuous” you are. These people could not do us more harm if they were in active collaboration with the enemy.
I take back what I said about “reconciliation.” There will be no reconciliation with these quislings. I speak of course only for myself. I no longer have anything in common with any of them. The palpable joy they feel over what they assume to be the destruction of “their” party’s nominee is, for me, final proof that these people are not in any way my friends, compatriots, or even fellow travelers.
Finally, let me acknowledge that yesterday, as the story broke, several “conservatives” began mocking me on Twitter. So what does this do to your thesis now?
This is worth mentioning only as further evidence of the intellectual rot on what today counts for “the Right.” All the taunters took (and take) for granted that the tape is the final nail in Trump’s electoral coffin. And maybe it is, I don’t know.
But if it is, that in no way obviates my thesis—rather, it makes more certain the testing of my thesis. What I said was that if the Left wins this election, they will gain quasi-permanent control of the government. I say “quasi” only because I don’t rule out the possibility of a “reformed” left-wing Republican Party (or some other alternative party) eventually, and occasionally, winning against exhausted Democrats. I just can’t get excited about it the way the “conservatives” do.
I do expect, however, that if Hillary wins and what I predicted begins to come to pass, those “conservatives” will point to every micro-victory as “proof” that my thesis was wrong all along. Two counties in suburban St. Louis eased parking restrictions on recycling trucks? Deregulation! A conservative policy success! The doom-and-gloomers are fools, just like we said!
Which is to say, the gaslighting from the “Right” will start to be as intense and relentless as that from the Left.
The only consolation I will take is that those “conservatives” crowing the loudest about this are hastening their own doom. Trump’s nomination proved their irrelevance. Their role in Trump’s defeat will cut them off from whatever base of support they have left. I don’t know if they will retain (or regain) control of the Republican Party, though I expect they won’t. They’ll have enough on their plates just to keep Conservatism, Inc. solvent. Whether they can or can’t, they won’t be relevant to the conversation that the rest of us will need to have about what to do next.