I don’t put all my faith into political action. It seems like the free market, education, and our political system are what will influence the future, probably in that order, although they are interrelated.
Right now, the free market seems to be contributing technology as well as increased jobs and affluence through global business interactions. On the dark side, corporations (as well as non-profits, unions, and government entities) spend money to influence government to do what they think will favor them in the short term.
More children have access to education, but results indicate that they do not learn enough about math, history, economics, or cultural heritage. Science is stressed in schools, but those who do not learn to read, think, and do math have limited opportunities in science and technology.
Maybe now more than ever, and maybe due to the failure of schools, many citizens vote based on emotions, on who they are encouraged to think of as enemies, and on what they hope to profit by in the short term. Maintaining our constitutional order and freedom do not seem to be high on most people’s lists.
I say all this to put in perspective what I am glad to have learned from the book Never Trump by Robert P. Saladin and Steven M. Teles. This book reviews in great detail what conservatism has been through--during the last decade, really—and suggests what the two major parties may become in the future. It is a valuable book, and I feel better after having read it.
The authors review the emergence of #nevertrump individuals according to the sectors of the political world the individuals have as their milieus.
To oversimplify, the foreign policy experts already were not very partisan, they had worked to maintain our country’s role in a beneficial world order, and they were horrified not only by Donald Trump’s crudely stated positions but also by his character as a leader. They stated their objections early in letters signed on by many, and as a result, many would not be invited or wish to be invited to play a role in Trump administration.
The political operatives ultimately were separated into two categories, the ones who could make a living and be #nevertrump, and those who eventually realized they couldn’t. However, what I experienced personally during the 2016 campaign and, really, have experienced ever since, could not have happened without these political operatives. I actually met Joel Searby, who risked his career and business to form a plan to try to win in the electoral college by putting forward an independent candidate. To make a long story short, Evan McMullin ended up being that candidate. I had campaigned locally for Rubio who lost (and who disappointed me by lowering himself to Trump’s level during later debates); then I had been on phone calls with Kendall Unrah and a large number of others who were trying to get a voice vote on the floor of the Republican convention to stop Trump; and then I joined with others, like Vicki Hensel and Elaine Stephen, who since have become my dear Facebook friends, to support Evan McMullin. I met Evan, Joel, and John Claybrook in Atlanta, and later McKay Ah Ping. I wrote articles and blogs supporting McMullin for online newsletters and in Medium. I am in Facebook groups formed by Evan supporters: American Pursuit, Americans for the New Conservative Movement, Independent Nation, and Standup Republic. I even joined Unite America, which is bipartisan.
Reading Never Trump helped me get a more complete view and a better understanding of the movement I have been involved in (though I have been playing a very, very minor part).
Another sector the authors of Never Trump report on is the media, which is pretty well broken down into the print and the broadcasting sub-parts. The authors theorize that the intellectuals writing for the print media had the goal of keeping conservatism decent—expunging racist and xenophobic ideas, for example, and of presenting the movement in a positive light, such as by showing how free enterprise helps eliminate poverty. The broadcasters, on the other hand, wanted to whip up viewers at any cost. Two broadcasters, Charlie Sykes and Erik Erickson, were alarmed by Trump. Ultimately, Sykes became a writer and podcaster. Erickson, who writes a column as well as having a radio show, eventually gave up his rigid opposition to Trump. This section of the book helped me to realize that my thinking has been heavily influenced in recent years by the intellectual conservatives. I don’t agree with every point they make, but I consider them to be serious and decent. The trouble is that only a small segment of America reads The National Review, the (now defunct) Weekly Standard, the Bulwark, the Dispatch, and other intellectual conservative publications or the columns by Bret Stephens, Mona Charen, Linda Chavez, and Jennifer Rubin, to name a few. Broadcasters on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets form the opinions of the majority of Americans—those who don’t simply rely on dubious social media posts for their ideas and “information.” So, politically, I was living in an imaginary world, thinking it represented the larger world of conservatives. It didn’t, and it doesn’t.
The book also discusses lawyers and economists and essentially says that most of them try to stay away from taking positions for or against Trump, although there are exceptions.
Never Trump concludes by putting forth two possibilities. One is that Never Trumpers will have little or no influence on the future of our country as socialists and populists continue to fight for control with weaker centrists having less and less sway. The other is that a new wing of the Republican Party will grow and come into power in some states and areas that do not agree with populism and racism and xenophobia but do support free enterprise, the constitution, and equal rights for all, regardless of race, national origin or gender. Then the Democratic Party would have two wings, the socialist one and the more moderate, traditional one. And the Republican Party would have two wings, the liberal-conservative one and the populist one. I am not sure where the various wings would stand on use of military force, but the moderate Democrats and liberal-conservative Republicans would favor free trade. Then Congress would make laws based on compromises that could be achieved among the groups, and, hopefully, have more strength to stand up against the president, whoever he or she might be.
Observations on the subjects of friends, family, country, cultures and nature.