The Republican Party has always prided itself on being a “big tent,” but a large portion of MAGA world seems determined to make that tent as small as possible. Much of the Left also seems determined to push away people who do not totally reject Donald Trump and everything he does. For way too many people on both sides, Trump is an “all or nothing” proposition. You must totally support him or totally oppose him, with no room for nuance or independent thought. But here is the reality: There are many more shades of gray in life and in politics than we care to admit.
One thing that both liberals and #NeverTrump conservatives often fail to understand is that support for Donald Trump as a political figure does not mean support for everything he says and does, or even that we like him as a person. The thing that MAGA world does not understand is that criticism of some of Trump’s words and actions does not mean we are a “never Trumper” or Deep State. (Or for some of the less mature people, that we are a traitor, a faggot or a cuck.)
Ideally, politics should be about policy: What actions by government make sense to benefit the most people and secure the nation as a whole? But we should not pretend identity politics has not existed since the founding of our nation: We identified with our state, city, religion, and yes we identified by race, class, sex and ethnicity. Democrats’ embrace of “identity politics” is nothing new. It often is overly broad, though, and E.J. Dionne Jr. had an interesting piece last month. This particular quote stuck out for me:
For example, calls for an end to identity politics are frequently (and reasonably) interpreted by African Americans, Latinos, women and LGBTQ people as not-so-veiled attempts to make politics about straight white men again.
Source: The Washington Post.
Here is a belated New Year’s resolution for my fellow Republicans: In 2019, Republicans need to SHUT UP about Hillary Clinton. To this day, when conservatives criticize Donald Trump for things such as not making enough progress on building the border wall, Trumpites whine “Would Killary have given us one?” It is a truly pathetic display.
Come on guys, you need a new line. The 2016 election is over. Hillary Clinton’s political career is dead. She will never be elected to anything. The binary choice meme is dead and has been dead since November 9, 2016. It is long past time to hold Trump responsible for his actions and inaction, and his success and failures. It is time for Trump loyalists to put their big boy pants on and actually engage in the messy business of policy, rather than fawning over the President as a personality and reflexively defending everything he does.
One thing conservatives love about President Trump is that when someone hits him, he fights back. We have spent too many decades watching Republicans take it on the chin and not defend themselves. But Trump is a hammer, and he thinks everything is a nail that needs to be pounded. This is why he got into a silly Twitter fight with Republican-appointed Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
Now, let’s be clear. On the substance of the argument, Trump is right and Roberts is wrong. Obviously there are “Obama judges” in our federal court system. Roberts is holding to the ideal of what a judge should be – someone who looks at the law and the Constitution and makes decisions based on that, and he does have a vested interest in that image. Trump is saying what everyone knows about human nature. People are biased and carry their bias with them. We should not let idealism blind us to reality.