To Save the Country, Just ‘Vote Republican’? Not Even Close

In 2020, during Donald Trump’s final year in office, supporters of the 45th president and the Republican Party had never been so demoralized.

In 2022, during Joe Biden’s second year in office and at a time when his party holds majorities in Congress, Democratic voters are demoralized—while the spirit of Republican voters is finding new life.

It’s a fascinating phenomenon to behold, for it lends force to the thesis that elections, while not devoid of all significance, are nowhere close to being the ticket to salvation that many politicians and pundits would have us believe. 

Until and unless those who reject, not the progressive Left, but the excessive Left wrestle control of the very cultural institutions (especially corporate media) that these ideologues spent the last century or so co-opting, it matters little who Republicans elect at the national level.

Elon Musk, no conservative or right-winger, did more to thwart the machinations of the “woke” Left practically overnight than any and all affiliated with “the conservative movement” have done in decades. Who knows exactly what Musk will do with Twitter once he takes full control of the company? The point is, at the very least, some voices that otherwise would have remained silenced in the national dialogue (such as it is) will be heard. 

And unlike most GOP politicians, the billionaire Musk did all of this without any of the shit-talking, tireless tweeting, empty threatening, or the grandstanding so common at meaningless congressional hearings where opportunistic GOP politicians dress down Silicon Valley titans in front of the cameras. 

He just did it. 

Musk identifies as a “liberal.” Yet he has already made more of a substantive impact upon the larger political culture, and in a way that moves it in the direction GOP politicians and Conservatism, Inc. say they want it to move, than any “conservative influencer” has ever managed. 

Even though the 2016 election of Donald Trump caused a similar apoplectic meltdown among America’s political and media elites, it is not exactly comparable. Trump’s persona—not his policies, so much, but his persona—mobilized Democrats and the Left to an extent that they hadn’t been galvanized in ages. It’s not a stretch to say that self-styled “progressives” had never been so emboldened. Media outlets that were failing in the pre-Trump (and, now, post-Trump) era flourished under Trump by indulging in pathological dishonesty, tireless propaganda, and unadulterated sensationalism. For Trump’s enemies, i.e. the very people who claim Musk’s purchase of Twitter threatens the very foundations of democracy, these proved to be the necessary ingredients of a winning formula for taking down the 45th president.

Such was the ferocity of Trump’s enemies that a new coronavirus was exploited beyond all proportion to the threat it posed in order to sabotage his presidency and reelection. Don’t forget, Trump himself initially encouraged the COVID Derangement Syndrome and all of the economic, psychological, familial, and social destruction that came in its wake. 

Even to this day, Trump continues to further the COVID narrative that was shaped to take him out by taking credit at every turn for the COVID vaccine—a “vaccine” that prevents neither the transmission nor the contraction of the virus, has been shown (according to the CDC’s own VAERS system) to result in an alarming number of injuries and even deaths, and which has been used as a pretext to discriminate against and vilify those who refuse to take it. 

In the summer of 2020, Black Lives Matter and Antifa mobs visited a reign of terror upon more than 500 American cities, leaving more than two dozen dead, thousands injured, and inflicting $2 billion in property damages and losses. Vandals destroyed statues and monuments to historical figures long recognized as American heroes, and the historic St. John’s Church across from the White House was torched while the White House itself came under attack. 

Democratic politicians and their boosters in the media and in the corporate world actively encouraged the violence by legitimizing it. Republicans passively encouraged rioting, too, by refusing to condemn it with the harshness that it deserved. And the “law and order” president did little other than bluster. 

In fact, not all that long before the events of 2020, Trump signed his long-desired criminal justice reform, “The First Step Act,” a set of policies in the same spirit as those that have fostered alarming increases in murder, assault, burglary, robbery, and rape in blue cities across the nation. Yet none of today’s critics of the likes of, say, Lori Lightfoot’s and Eric Adams’ crime policies in Chicago and New York City,so much as consider the possibility that Trump’s First Step Act was indeed a critical first step in paving the way for the mayhem that has followed. 

Then, in November, Trump and the Republicans—who should’ve been planning since 2016 to ensure the integrity of the election in 2020—allowed systematic mail-in voting and, naturally, questionable results ensued. 

When Trump in January 2021 encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol building to protest the certification of the election, he led them into a trap from which he has yet to lift a finger to extricate them. The narrative that an “insurrection” or the worst act of “terror” since 9/11 occurred on that day is but another of the countless lies—a glaring lie, an outrageous lie—that his nemeses in Washington, D.C. and their comrades in the corporate left-wing media wasted not a moment to concoct. Trump handed them this opportunity to further delegitimize him and the tens of millions of decent Americans who voted for him.

And yet this is the man who those same Americans want back in the White House? This is the man on whom the salvation of the country is thought to depend? 

Been there, done that—and it didn’t turn out well.

If Trump throws his hat back into the ring, why should we think things would turn out differently the second time around? Presumably, the goal should be to weaken the Left, not strengthen it—but Trump has had the latter effect.

The obvious objection is that Trump did some very good things in office and so deserves a chance to further advance his unfinished agenda. That doesn’t matter. Virtually all of those good things were accomplished through executive orders, which Biden effortlessly reversed on his first day in the White House. Executive orders are the equivalent of placebos, hypnotic devices to entrance a politician’s constituents into thinking that matters have really changed when, in fact, they have only temporarily been concealed. Politicians who attempt to elicit votes should do so by promising authentic and permanent changes of the kind that the voters desire, not illusory and transient ones.  

Another counter-objection is more critical: Even if Trump (or any other Republican) achieves notable victories for the country, those achievements will never be recognized as long as the press is under the control of partisan hatchet men and women who lie shamelessly about their political rivals. As the 17th century Japanese Samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi memorably remarked: “Perceive with the mind what you can’t perceive with the eye.” Perception and sight are different but related. The point has been put this way: If you cannot perceive it with your mind, then even if it is right in front of you, you won’t be able to see it, because for you, it doesn’t exist.

The media determines the public’s perception. So, contrary to the conventional dogma of Republican politicians and Conservatism, Inc. media figures, the answer is not just “vote GOP.” If it is ultimately the vast establishment media more than any other thing that accounts for why Americans have the perceptions they do. If Big Media, as it is currently constituted, lies tirelessly and manipulates the public to shape their perceptions, the answer is for those who value truth to follow Musk’s example and co-opt corporate media from the liars who populate its ranks. 

Plenty of people with deep pockets recognize the destructiveness of the woke Left and their enablers. They could make what I’m saying more than some abstract proposal. Musk has already started what should be the beginning of a trend: the gradual inauguration of a future on whose cutting edge stand, not “conservatives” or “the Right,” but the lovers of civility, freedom, and truth.

About Jack Kerwick

Jack Kerwick earned his doctorate degree in philosophy from Temple University. His areas of specialization are ethics and political philosophy, with a particular interest in classical conservatism. His work has appeared in both scholarly journals and popular publications, and he recently authored, The American Offensive: Dispatches from the Front. Kerwick has been teaching philosophy for nearly 17 years at a variety of institutions, from Baylor to Temple, Penn State University, the College of New Jersey and elsewhere. His next book, Misguided Guardians: The Conservative Case Against Neoconservatism is pending publication. He is currently an instructor of philosophy at Rowan College at Burlington County.

Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

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