Treat Conservatism with the Seriousness It Deserves

Supporters of President Donald Trump at a “Stop the Steal” protest in Lansing, Michigan on November 14, 2020. (Emily Elconin / Reuters)

Infantrymen who put their own interests above the truth are harming the cause.

Is American conservatism, a little serious movement? Ned Ryun, the founder and CEO of American Majority, a 501 (c) 3 who “trains, organizes, mobilizes and equips new conservative grassroots leaders”, certainly thinks so. In American Greatness, Ryun blows up the Republican Party for failing to build a functioning national electoral system, and conservative donors for pouring money into institutions like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute – money that Ryun said would have been better spent for the majority American.

It is certainly true that the conservative movement is plagued by crooks who take far more from the cause than they give. National reviewJim Geraghty, in his own right, has written at length about the problem of political action committees which apparently exist to elect Conservatives, but which in reality only enrich their directors. But political workshops, whatever doubts one may have on their effectiveness, are they really the main obstacle to the country’s shift to the right? I do not think so.

A fundamental lack of seriousness is, as Ryun suggests, a big part of what holds Tories back in this country. But the sources of this lack of seriousness are not what he thinks. He writes, for example, that “We [conservatives] obediently subjected to a postal voting system that almost all civilized nations, even those on the left recognize as among the most advanced, rejected decades ago. His alternative to accepting that postal ballots would be used more widely in 2020 than ever before due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has now claimed the lives of more than 250,000 Americans, is unclear. Elections are state-run, and even if the federal government had seen fit to intervene, Republicans would have been embarrassed by President Nancy Pelosi, and most likely by the courts.

In truth, the movement’s lack of seriousness is best illustrated not by its inability to stop the expansion of postal voting, but by its attempts to argue that voter fraud cost President Trump a second term. Ryun, while being careful not to make this argument explicitly, clearly implies it. Elsewhere, the Conservatives have been much less cautious.

In Georgia, where President-elect Joe Biden defeated Trump, Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are claiming the head of a fellow Republican, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, for crimes they are incapable of. articulate. In a Michigan court, Rudy Giuliani, just over a week on the sidelines of a press conference at a Philadelphia landscaping company, asked a judge what “rigorous scrutiny” means. While his boss continues to erroneously claim that more people voted in Detroit than live there. Meanwhile, fundraising emails sent by the Trump campaign – purported to fund Giuliani’s legal efforts – admit in the fine print that most of the contributions will be spent to pay off the campaign’s debt.

Serious conservative voices – Henry olsen at Washington post, Andy McCarthy and the aforementioned Geraghty here at National review – explained that, yes, electoral fraud exists but, no, that did not give Joe Biden the presidency. Noah rothman at Comment rightly criticized the president’s efforts to plead his path to victory as a “tantrum” without “any modern analogue”. For this he was mocked by The FederalistMollie Hemingway, who, like Ryun, is resistant to going all out on #StopTheSteal, but generally seems calm about the conduct of the Trump campaign and the president himself. Rothman’s real sin, says Hemingway, is that in 2017 he dared to criticize Donald Trump Jr. for trying to pick up dirt on Hillary Clinton from a lawyer with ties to the Russian government. This, she writes, “contributed to the hoax of collusion with Russia at a time when conservative readers were desperate to fight the false narrative.”

Perhaps it is the impulse of people like Ryun and Hemingway to pamper “conservative readers”, and not contributions to think tanks or a supposed failure to ensure the integrity of our elections, that is sullying the conservative movement. lack of seriousness. For far too many right-wing pundits and politicians, it has become profitable to outright buy into or at least maintain conspiracy theories like Trump’s stolen election story. Instead of stating the obvious – the president lost the 2020 election because he ran an unruly campaign, mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic, and turned off swing voters with four years of grueling antics – they claim that ‘It’s eminently reasonable to believe that he only lost to a massive multi-state conspiracy to steal the race from Biden. Why? Because that’s what many Republicans want to hear and believe.

There are plenty of arguments to be made and actions to be taken regarding the various issues Ryun refers to in his own article – electoral integrity, “Big Tech”, immigration, education. But it’s hard to imagine much progress being made on these issues as so many members of the conservative ruling class are busy denying the GOP the possibility of an honest postmortem in 2020 by exercising on behaviors that have leads to the loss of Trump. When the infantry of a movement put their own financial and professional interests above the truth, the lack of seriousness – and worse – cannot be far behind.