Rightist Autophagy

Monday, March 18, 2024

Ed Driscoll, one of the bloggers at Instapundit, is fond enough of pointing out times when the left is at cross-purposes that he frequently starts off such posts with "Annals of Leftist Autophagy." There are now dozens of these, and it is conventional wisdom on the right that the left is a mess.

The American right, having fallen under Donald Trump's sway, has -- from praising Trump as an Alinskyite and blaming "society" for bad behavior, all the way to embracing central planning -- increasingly been aping the left. And, like progressives were doing for a time to centrist Democrats, MAGA Republicans have been primarying traditional Republicans.

This last has reached the point that even some MAGA Republicans can see a problem: The Speaker of the House is asking members of his party to stop primarying each other:

The more they purge or alienate normal people, the more trouble the GOP is going to have winning elections. (Image by odder, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.)
"I've asked them all to cool it," Johnson told CNN at the House GOP retreat in West Virginia last week. "I am vehemently opposed to member-on-member action in primaries because it's not productive. And it causes division for obvious reasons, and we should not be engaging in that."

"So I'm telling everyone who's doing that to knock it off," Johnson added. "And both sides, they'll say, 'Well, we didn't start it, they started it.'"
This is rich, coming as it does from someone selected for his blind loyalty to Trump, because the behavior is motivated by blind loyalty to Trump:
"I would love nothing more than to just go after Democrats," [Matt] Gaetz, who led the charge to oust McCarthy, told CNN. "But if Republicans are going to dress up like Democrats in drag, I'm going to go after them too. Because at the end of the day, we're not judged by how many Republicans we have in Congress. We're judged on whether or not we save the country."
Gaetz is one of the most slavishly loyal Trumpists there is, and remember that, in the minds of his faction of the Republican Trump Organization Party, if you aren't one of them, you're a RINO or worse -- a Democrat in drag.

Thanks, Matt.

An election is supposed to be how the people select the best among a variety of choices, and if Republicans weren't numbskulls, they would (a) define a positive agenda to run on besides whatever Donald Trump wants at the moment, and (b) welcome competitive races, even if it means someone who doesn't completely toe the party line gets elected.

But appreciating that point would mean understanding that American political parties are actually coalitions, and that alienating people who might agree with part of what you want to accomplish might impair your ability to do anything you want to accomplish.

One wonders if pointing this out, however indirectly, as Johnson has, will bode ill or well for his future in whatever the Republican Party has become.

If the Democrats were not so awful, it would be easier to cheer on the inevitable result of this kind of attitude -- non-MAGA Republicans and independents who want a decent alternative to Democrats getting fed up and staying home, or voting for the Democrats in disgust.

Perhaps Americans should send the following message to the GOP: If you're going to call me a Democrat for the sin of not worshipping Donald Trump, I guess I'll play the part.

But then again, perhaps that won't be necessary, per the last several election cycles.

-- CAV

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