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    George Will: Purge Trump and His Supporters from GOP

    George Will: Purge Trump and His Supporters from GOP

    “Trumpites” are only “lightly attached to the political process”

    George Will has written a thought-provoking piece over at WaPo in which he argues that the GOP should purge itself of Trump and Trump’s supporters.

    Will explains:

    When, however, Trump decided that his next acquisition would be not another casino but the Republican presidential nomination, he tactically and quickly underwent many conversions of convenience (concerning abortion, health care, funding Democrats, etc.). His makeover demonstrates that he is a counterfeit Republican and no conservative.

    He is an affront to anyone devoted to the project William F. Buckley began six decades ago with the founding in 1955 of the National Review — making conservatism intellectually respectable and politically palatable. Buckley’s legacy is being betrayed by invertebrate conservatives now saying that although Trump “goes too far,” he has “tapped into something,” and therefore . . . .

    Therefore what? This stance — if a semi-grovel can be dignified as a stance — is a recipe for deserved disaster. Remember, Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond “tapped into” things.

    George Will Washington Post headshot

    Unlike Ted Cruz who embraces Trump supporters, Will wonders who Trump’s supporters are:

    Conservatives who flinch from forthrightly marginalizing Trump mistakenly fear alienating a substantial Republican cohort. But the assumption that today’s Trumpites are Republicans is unsubstantiated and implausible. Many are no doubt lightly attached to the political process, preferring entertainment to affiliation. They relish their candidate’s vituperation and share his aversion to facts. From what GOP faction might Trumpites come? The establishment? Social conservatives? Unlikely.

    They certainly are not tea partyers, those earnest, issue-oriented, book-club organizing activists who are passionate about policy. Trump’s aversion to reality was displayed during the Cleveland debate when Chris Wallace asked him for “evidence” to support his claim that Mexico’s government is sending rapists and drug dealers to the United States. Trump, as usual, offered apoplexy as an argument.

    Will concludes his piece calling for “excommunicating” Trump and his supporters from the GOP:

    So, conservatives today should deal with Trump with the firmness Buckley dealt with the John Birch Society in 1962. The society was an extension of a loony businessman who said Dwight Eisenhower was “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.” In a 5,000-word National Review “excoriation” (Buckley’s word), he excommunicated the society from the conservative movement.

    Peter Whener, writing at Commentary, agrees with Will:

    Fortunately there are conservative commentators who are doing just that [“excommunicating” Trump and his supporters], including Bill Bennett, David Brooks, Mona Charen, Charles C.W. Cooke, Michael Gerson, Jonah Goldberg, Victor Davis Hanson, Charles Krauthammer, Matt Lewis, Rich Lowry, Michael Medved, Paul Mirengoff, Dana Perino, John Podhoretz, Karl Rove, Jennifer Rubin, Kevin Williamson, regular contributors to this web site (among them Max Boot, Noah Rothman and Jonathan Tobin), editorial page writers for the Wall Street Journal and others.

    These individuals, while differing on various matters, understand the difference between angry populism and conservatism. They don’t believe crudity is a conservative virtue. And they don’t want conservatism stained by an unprincipled interloper and cynical opportunist, which is what Mr. Trump is. (It’s been well documented that until a few years ago, Trump was a registered Democrat, a large financial contributor to leading liberal politicians, and held liberal positions on a wide range of issues.)

    In that sense, this is a clarifying moment for conservatism. Those on the right who have become Trump defenders have, I think, made a serious error in judgment that is the result of a rather profound misunderstanding of conservatism (for more, see here). You can cherish and champion conservative principles, or you can support and praise Donald Trump. But you can’t do both.

    Writing at Townhall, Pat Buchanan offers a different viewpoint:

    For there is a plot afoot in The Washington Post Conservative Club to purge Trump from the Republican Party before the primaries begin.

    “A political party has a right to … secure its borders,” asserts the Post’s George Will, “a duty to exclude interlopers.” Will wants The Donald “excommunicated” and locked out of all GOP debates until he kneels and takes a loyalty oath to the nominee.

    “Marginalizing Trump” carries no risk of “alienating a substantial Republican cohort,” Will assures us, for these “Trumpites” are neither Republicans nor conservatives. Better off without such trash.

    The Post’s Michael Gerson says “establishment Republicans” must “make clear that [Trump] has moved beyond the boundaries of serious and civil discourse.” He loathes the Trumpites as much as Will.

    Trump’s followers are “xenophobic,” Gerson tells CNN. They have a “resentment of outsiders, of Mexico, of China, and immigrants. That’s more like a European right-wing party, a UKIP or a National Front in France. Republicans can’t incorporate that.”

    But if the GOP has no room for Trump’s followers, it has no future. For there simply aren’t that many chamber-of-commerce and country-club Republicans.

    I’m sure that this is a debate that will continue for some time, but I wonder if it will end as the GOP establishment seems to think it will?


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    dorsaighost | August 17, 2015 at 1:08 am

    so George Wills idea is to act like a Stalinist and “purge” the GOP of Trump and his supporters ? really ? somehow he managed to say something more ignorant and stupid than Trump has ever said by a factor of 10 …

    davidfarrar | August 17, 2015 at 1:40 am

    George, the U.S. Chamber of Crpto-Fascist, Crony Capitalists threw William F. Buckley project of making conservatism intellectually respectable and politically palatable over the cliff as soon as it got in their way of making an extra buck off the taxpayer.

    777m777 | August 17, 2015 at 2:59 am

    Sorry George W. we are tired of biz as usual with the do nothing RINO’s. I don’t care if he is Demo / Rep ……or Independent whatever. Time to purge Fox and you ….. and get some real news …….

    George Will, is only preaching to the converted, anyway. Even those of us, who are not in love with Trump, had already tuned out the Beltway Establishment GOP talking heads, they have looked down on us for years now.

    If Trump did not exist, the likes of Will would probably be trashing Cruz and HIS supporters. He would probably like to “purge” anyone whose not in love with Jeb or Christie or whatever Milktoast Moderate is patsy of the month.

    Ragspierre | August 17, 2015 at 7:33 am

    Let’s be absolutely clear – Donald Trump is entirely the fault of a GOP establishment that lied to conservatives and refused to do what it promised it would do. Trump is no secret Machiavellian genius cunningly outmaneuvering his enemies from his super-classy Atlantic City volcano lair. He’s a finger-to-the-wind charlatan who will say whatever he needs to say to maximize his own personal adulation. And he would still be merely a tiresome reality TV catch-phrase generator if the GOP establishment had not treated the rest of us like dirt.

    Donald Trump will be beaten, but it sure as hell is not going to be the establishment that does it. Instead, it is hard-core conservatives like me and you who are getting out there and making the case that serious conservative renewal requires actual serious conservative candidates. You know, ones who never voted for Obama or gave money to Hillary – conservatives who were conservative before conservatism was cool.
    —Kurt Schlicter

    …and me.

      V.Lombardi in reply to Ragspierre. | August 17, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      It’s entirely the fault of the GOP, and that is the real issue. Of course, they wish to portray this as a Trump controversy, rather than a problem with the basic betrayal by and dishonesty of the republican leadership. That betrayal and dishonesty is something Will has been making excuses for. Then there’s Will’s dishonesty, which reveals how tied in he is with the establishment. He is not an independent person.

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