There were a bunch of town hall meetings with Democratic presidential candidates last night. I didn’t watch a single one of them, instead retiring to my bed with a book. My wife tuned in to all of them, I think, because I don’t believe she came to bed at all (she’s the fiercely political one in the family nowadays, and I can’t blame her.) I look at the swarm of Democrats that are buzzing around during this premature election cycle, and I’m just tired. All I want is sound policy and coherence at this point. So I detest the young, brash ones like Mayor Pete who has no policy and openly says he’s avoiding it because he’s all about “values” (but what if your values are all about having a rational, sane, competent government?) I detest the old neo-liberal party hacks — I can’t believe that Uncle Joe is going to be running. Do you think he’ll get Anita Hill’s vote?
But worst of all, I detest the Republican party. They’re doing nothing. At a time when eleventy-seven thousand Democrats are plunging madly to the starting gate because they see our current president as weak and hateful and a necessary target for removal, the Republicans cower in fear and none are suggesting that they’ll run against him. Why? Because even the ones who express reservations about the Deplorable-In-Chief know that he is the current apotheosis of Republican policy, and they can’t run against him without repudiating everything the Rethuglican machine and Fox News has built since Reagan. Charles Pierce puts it well.
That there are not at least five Republican candidates challenging El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago not only is a fine metric for judging the deep internal rot in that political party, but also a good measure of the limits of the Never Trumpers as allies in an election year. Let us stipulate the following two points: 1) It is the responsibility of the Democratic Party to do everything in its power to protect the institutions of our republic, and 2) it is distinctly not the Democratic Party’s responsibility to save the Republican Party from itself, and from the political monster it has created over the past 40 years. For four decades, the party has flattered, and begged, and truckled to the very forces of which it is now terrified. Save yourselves, gang.
But that isn’t happening because, for all their brave talk, the Never Trumpers want to keep the political power that base gave them while distancing themselves from its obvious and inevitable product. So, instead of gathering forces behind a primary challenge, many of the Never Trumpers seem to be content with advising the Democratic Party on who it should nominate and what policies it should pursue. This, I believe, in preparation for a campaign to blame the Democratic nominee if the country determines that it wants to live six more years in the current gale-force dungwind.
Let us be clear: if the country re-elects this president*, it’s because modern movement conservatism prepared the ground for it and used the Republican Party to do it. It hangs on all of them like a historical deadweight. They should disenthrall themselves from the policies and tactics that hung it from their necks before presuming to beg the other political party save them from their own monster.
So here I am, disgusted. I am going to vote for whoever wins the Democratic party nomination, and I will say it loud and clear ahead of time, even if it’s a Mayor Pete or an Uncle Joe, because the number one priority for the country is to first get rid of that asshole in the White House, and number two priority is to bury the Republican party. Yet I hate that I’m trapped in this two-party system, and I do not trust the Democratic party to fight for anything other than corporate sponsorship. That means I cannot bear to pay attention to the process, because the process is the problem.
I’ll walk into the primaries and vote my conscience (which at this point whispers “Warren” in my brain; could change), and then when the actual election roles around after a goddamn year and a half of misery, I’ll mark the ballot for whoever is opposite Trump, which means the Democrats could nominate a chimpanzee and they’ll get my vote. Which does not make me happy.