Sunday, July 12, 2020

Inside the Never Trumpers - winning a tangle with Trump

Frank Bruni at the NY Times tells us about The Republicans Who Want to Destroy Trump. Their party’s a lost cause. America isn’t.

Should you have any doubt about how passionately George Conway and the other Never Trumpers at the Lincoln Project want to defeat the president, check out their ads.

There are dozens at this point, and the best are minute-long masterpieces of derision, miniature operas of contempt, designed to get into President Trump’s head and deep under his skin. That’s exactly where they’ve burrowed.

After the release of “Mourning in America,” which turned Ronald Reagan’s famous “Morning in America” commercial on its head, Trump had one of his trademark Twitter meltdowns. He shrieked at Conway in particular, mentioning his marriage to one of Trump’s brashest aides.

What motivates the Never Trumpers?

… while they have ideological quibbles with Trump, they’re motivated principally by their belief that he’s something of a monster.

"It’s an unprecedented moment,” said Charlie Sykes, a founder and editor-at-large of The Bulwark, a Trump-bashing publication begun in 2018 by Trump-disgusted Republicans like him. Sykes no longer considers himself a Republican. He described himself to me as “a politically homeless contrarian conservative.”

The Bulwark shares personnel and DNA with Republican Voters Against Trump and Republicans for the Rule of Law, all bastions of Never Trumpers. There’s also a new super PAC called 43 Alumni for Biden, a reference to George W. Bush, the 43rd president. It comprises scores of alumni of his administration who want to see Biden beat Trump, and it intends to release testimonials from former senior Bush administration officials.

… when I look at them, I see patriotism, though John Weaver — who, along with Conway, helped to found the Lincoln Project — emphasized a different idea when we spoke. He stressed atonement.

Trump’s election made him revisit how he and other Republican strategists had paved the way for Trump. For instance, Weaver worked for the man who was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump for president.

“Jeff Sessions wouldn’t have gotten to the Senate had I not overseen his race in 1996,” Weaver told me. “Now I look back at that and say, ‘What kind of goddamn penance do I have to pay for that?’”

Sykes spoke of “a revelation” that he has experienced, courtesy of Trump. “The heart of politics is not about the policy,” he told me. “It’s about the values. I can disagree with you on eight out of 10 issues, but if you’re an honorable, honest, empathetic human being, we can do business.” Trump is none of those things. Biden is most or all of them — and will get Sykes’s vote in November.

In exile he and other Never Trumpers have found clarity. They cut to the heart of the matter. That’s reflected in a Lincoln Project ad from late May that begins with a close-up of body bags and then pulls back until those bags form an American flag. These words appear over it: “100,000 Dead Americans. One Wrong President.”

I don’t know that they’ll tip the election. But they sure as hell tell it like it is.

Thanks to Roving Reporter Sherry for the tip.

No comments:

Post a Comment