We are now six years into the Trump era.
Allahpundit has left Hot Air. Kevin Williamson has left National Review. Both have ended up at The Dispatch which was founded by Jonah Goldberg and David French and other luminaries from The Weekly Standard. The True Cons who were the dominant wing on the Right a decade ago have been vanquished. They have been driven into exile on the fringes of Republican politics.
Donald Trump isn’t the president anymore, but these people have hardly been restored to power. On the contrary, they have only been further diminished in power and influence over the past two years. You could say that things have gotten a lot worse for their faction since nearly all the haters and losers in Congress like Liz Cheney who voted to impeach Trump and serve on the 1/6 Committee have retired or lost their primaries. These people have also been losing races to MAGA candidates at the state and local level.
Allahpundit is raging about this state of affairs.
“Ask a Dispatch reader to name an honorable politician and most would say Liz Cheney. Cheney has devoted herself single-mindedly to holding Trump accountable for plotting against the constitutional order. She did so knowing it would cost her the support of her party and her constituents, ending her career. She now travels with a security detail, a predictable consequence of making herself a prominent enemy of the leader of a personality cult. In those facts lie the essential ingredients in honor—selflessness and self-discipline in service of virtue.
Yet, among GOP voters, Liz Cheney may be the least popular politician in the country. Why?
Some anti-Trump conservatives speculate that Trump’s sycophants in Congress despise Cheney out of jealousy. Their own vestigial sense of honor is irritated by her example, the theory goes: They resent her because they lack the character to behave as virtuously as she has. I think that gives them entirely too much credit. Not for a moment do I believe that Elise Stefanik, say, lies awake at night tortured by her conscience, wondering why she can’t be more like the woman she elbowed aside to join the House GOP leadership.
To the extent Stefanik gives Cheney any thought at all, I suspect she feels contempt for her perceived personal weakness. Imagine giving up a path to the speakership over something as frivolous as a crisis of conscience. The opportunists in the party don’t disdain Cheney because they envy her or even because she’s aligned with Democrats against Trump. They disdain her because she’s a sucker, too soft-headed about gassy intangibles like duty to do what’s needed to claim power.
They think she’s a chump. A Boy Scout. …”
Back in 2015, we coined the term cuckservative to describe people like David French. The critique resonated to such an extent that these people are now universally seen and dismissed in that light. French himself has been transformed into a symbol of everything that was wrong with the pre-Trump GOP.
“To the contrary. DeSantis and Youngkin have forged a sort of devil’s bargain with her: They lend her establishment legitimacy in the form of an official endorsement, and Lake lends them populist legitimacy by accepting it. Lake gets to point to their support to reassure swing voters in Arizona that she’s not as much of a crank as she’s cracked up to be. If she were, would mild-mannered Glenn Youngkin be campaigning for her? In turn, DeSantis and Youngkin get to reassure populist primary voters that their unwillingness to claim the 2020 election was rigged doesn’t mean they aren’t quietly pro-coup. If they weren’t, would fire-breathing Kari Lake be so eager for their endorsements?
The kooks and the normies are engaged in a sort of credibility swap, each leveraging their authority over their respective wing of the party to benefit the other. Which raises the question: If you’re one of the 58 percent who consider yourself more a supporter of the Republican Party than of Donald Trump, which Republican Party do you mean? The one in which Kari Lake is endorsed by Glenn Youngkin or the one in which Glenn Youngkin is endorsed by Kari Lake? How meaningful is that distinction? …”
This is an interesting development.
MAGA has become the new GOP establishment. A successful moderate Republican is now someone like Ron DeSantis or Glenn Youngkin. The True Cons are furious that DeSantis and Youngkin are campaigning for Kari Lake in Arizona and trying to win instead of virtue signaling on MSNBC.
Year Seven of the Trump era begins in 2023. The True Cons will continue to fade into the night at the federal and state level with only burning embers of their formerly dominant presence lingering on at The Bulwark and The Dispatch. The third national election since 2016 is going to bring to power more Trumpists at all levels of government. A generation is also coming up which has known nothing but Trumpism on the Right. They don’t remember what it was like when people like Bill Kristol were in power in the George W. Bush era. They don’t remember the likes of Kevin Williamson and Allahpundit.
When Donald Trump first came to power in Year One and Year Two, he was like an island inside his own administration inside the wider federal government. Lindsey Graham was considered a key Trump ally in Congress. Five years later, the political landscape doesn’t look the same. The issues have changed. The politicians have changed. There are more people in the mold of Trump everywhere.
Note: Just as Reaganism played out over the course of about 35 years, the same appears to be true of Trumpism. It is clear now that we haven’t seen the full impact of Trumpism yet.