The Coming Split

Last week I wrote about Teddy Roosevelt and Donald Trump. My comparison wasn’t between the two men as presidents—though they had some similar personality traits—but between how the two men were treated by the Republican Party. The Republican Party of 1912 decided it would be better off renominating William Howard Taft, even though its voters would have preferred another Roosevelt term. The resulting split ushered in Woodrow Wilson and the first academic globalists, whose bright ideas laid the groundwork for a second world war on the eve of the conclusion of the first.

Of the three men who were candidates in 1912, Taft probably would have made the best president. Though TR took a muscular attitude towards American interests abroad, he eventually decided he had the power to lay claim to gigantic tracts of American land and to regulate the prices of private railroad tickets. His megalomania did substantial damage to individual liberty long before his cousin FDR had similar ideas.

Trump was the first president since Ronald Reagan (or some would argue, since earlier than that) who seemed to appreciate the dangers of unaccountable, unlimited, deep-state government. And I’m willing to bet he’d appreciate those dangers a lot more in a second term, having fallen victim to them himself in the 2020 election.

But, despite the obvious differences, we’re heading for a 1912-repeat, in which the Republican Party ignores its own voters. The Republican machine has no intention of letting us choose Trump again: He is not a uniparty team player. They’d rather lose an election to the Democrats, their brothers in crime, than win with Trump.

That leads us to the inevitable question: What should we do when a majority of Republicans want Trump, but the Republican Party says we can’t have him? Do we knuckle under and vote for Ron DeSantis because he would be vastly better than any Democrat?

I say no, we don’t knuckle under. And I like DeSantis. I’d vote for him after Trump’s second term. But not before.

Here’s the thing: It is precisely the expedient view of “well, this person isn’t my first choice, but he’s the best available option who can win” which has allowed the uniparty to take over and ruin the country. We’re letting the Republicans get away with offering us a false dichotomy: A fake non-choice among candidates who are pre-selected for us. The Democrats did this themselves in 2016 when they stole the primary from Bernie Sanders. 

You could go even further and say that the two-party system, in addition to preserving systemic stability, has prevented us from having any real say in our own government, except to the smallest extent. The Republicans and Democrats appear like the guard rails on either side of the road they’ve decided we should all be traveling on.

I’m sure I’ll be accused of being a shill for the Democrats here, and as far as I’m concerned that’s as credible as being accused of shilling for Russia these days. I’m not suggesting you have to do what I do, either. But I have no intention of supporting a Republican Party that manifestly contravenes the desires of its voters. The RNC can pretend Trump isn’t loved by the base anymore, that he doesn’t have packed rallies everywhere he goes. But I’m not buying it: Talk to Republican voters anywhere outside the Beltway, and it is obvious that he is admired and even loved by those who consider themselves “ordinary” Americans.

Our best talking-heads and pundits have argued for years that it’s better to win with a bad candidate than to lose with a good one. I used to believe it myself. But look at the results: Until Trump became president, it never even occurred to me that an elected politician could actually do what he’d promised. We’ve been acclimatized to failure, fraud, and theft by the politics of expediency. Year after year, our only choices are “Big Government A” (GOP) or “Big Government B” (Democrat). I used to think Republicans were at least a little more restrained in their spending than the Democrats. But now it’s just clear they spend our money on different things: Democrats give our money to welfare infrastructure (and the drug industry). Republicans give our money to the military-industrial complex (and the drug industry).

If you ask me, Trump’s presidency was much more “American” than it was “Republican.” That’s why it was such a success and why so many of us loved it. Now, if the Republican Party thinks it’s not big enough for Trump, it’s not going to be big enough for me either.

Do I think Trump can win as a third-party candidate? No. Would I vote for him as a third-party candidate? Yes. Because I’m not interested in propping up this corrupt gravy-train any longer. Mitch McConnell says that “providing assistance for Ukrainians to defeat the Russians is the number one priority for the United States right now, according to most Republicans.” Most Republicans where? Inside his bank account?

There are not enough unprintable words in the dictionary to say everything that statements like McConnell’s conjure up in my mind. But here are a few he might understand: “I’m fed up. And I’m out.”

About Dan Gelernter

Dan Gelernter is a columnist for American Greatness living in Florida.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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