Conservative John Ziegler can still be shocked that others who identify with his ideology remain supportive of President Donald Trump.
In a new column for Mediaite, Ziegler tore into the defenses conservatives give of the president. He argues, in contrast with many on the right wing, that Hillary Clinton’s presidency wouldn’t have been the end of the country; that the economy under Trump shows no more progress than it did under President Barack Obama; that the GOP tax law is not nearly as impressive as its supporters argue. He also admits that there have been conservative judges appointed and perhaps some deregulation — two major priorities for the Republican Party — but the benefits and extent of these results are unclear.
So he admitted that Trump has “provided some real wins” for the GOP, but said that they have come at “enormous cost.”
What are the costs in his eyes? They’re myriad.
There’s the destruction of “conservatism” as a brand — Ziegler argued that “younger people now equate ‘conservatism’ with racism, science-denial, and crony capitalism.” (As a conservative, of course, Ziegler doesn’t acknowledge that Trump has allowed young people to see the reality of conservatism, rather than the intellectual fantasy of what it means.)
He also said that the conservatives themselves who have defended Trump will personally lose their credibility, given the president’s endless lies. We can only hope Ziegler is right on this front.
Perhaps most troubling to the GOP, Ziegler also pointed out the potentially devastating electoral damage Trump has done to the GOP:
Politically, Trump has not just lost the House majority, but, because of his extreme unpopularity here in California, has provided Democrats with a huge structural advantage there going forward which may be impossible for Republicans to overcome. On the presidential side, once Republican states like Virginia, Colorado, and Nevada are now likely gone forever, with even Texas soon moving into that column.
He also argued that Trump violates the Constitution, sucks up to dictators, abuses his office’s power, diminished the cost of being a political liar, and embraced a dangerous tariff policy — all trends that conservatives would abhor if started by a Democrat.
Humorously, Ziegler noted that all of this should be insulting to Vice President Mike Pence. Since Republicans could join with Democrats to impeach and remove Trump if they wanted, thus getting Pence in his place, the party must really hate the vice president to put up with all of the damage Trump is doing.
George Conway, the husband of Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway and an outspoken critic of the president, was a fan of the essay.
“Anyone who considers himself or herself a conservative should read this piece from beginning to end and reflect,” he tweeted.