David Corn recently had a pretty incredible interview with conservative Max Boot.
The never-Trump conservatives really reach across a wide spectrum. There are those who have reached the point where they realize that the attack on our democracy isn’t just from Trump, it’s the entire Republican fascist cult, and it’s been happening for a long time. In this category, I put people like Steve Schmidt, Nicole Wallace, and Max Boot. Then there are others who really agree with most of what Trump is doing, they simply don’t like the public face of Trump and wish he would hide the attack on our democracy like GWB did. In this category, I put Charlie Sykes and maybe Bill Kristol.
Now none of us should expect any of these never-Trumpers to agree with us much on policy. But most of them recognize the danger Trump presents to our democracy, and a few of them now recognize that Trump didn’t change the Republican party, the Republican party finally found the person that perfectly represents their anti-democracy views.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
David Corn: You were a golden boy of conservative punditry. You joined the Wall Street Journal editorial page in 1994 at 24. You were the op-ed editor four years later. You became a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard and a blogger for Commentary. You were in neocon heaven—a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, an adviser to John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.
MB: I can talk about my own blindness. I thought, “I’m not racist. And I’m a Republican. So it seems like a gross libel to accuse Republicans and conservatives of being racist if I personally am not racist.” And what I’ve realized is there are a lot of racists that the Republican Party is appealing to. … But when you look at the actual Republican presidents and leaders, I think they were actually decent people who weren’t delivering on this white-power agenda that a lot of their supporters might have been led to think they would deliver on.
MB: There is a small group of “Never Trump” conservatives. But it is a small group, and I’ve actually been surprised that there are not more of us. There’s enough of us for a dinner party, not a political party.
MB: It makes me realize how much of American politics is tribal and how little of it has to do with principles or ideas. The reason why so many people are Republicans is because they hate Democrats; the actual substance of what Republicans stand for almost doesn’t matter. And that’s been a shocking realization. … Or when Republicans deny climate change, which is a scientific fact, I didn’t deal with it. I just stayed in my lane, foreign policy and national security policy, and ignored the craziness all around me. I went with the tribe. I took the path of least resistance, and now it’s making me realize, no, I’ve got to think for myself, and that’s something very few people do, because being part of one of these political tribes, as much as anything, is a substitute for thought. So it’s been both chastening and liberating to escape from that stifling orthodoxy.
DC: In the book, you write, “Only if the GOP as currently constituted is burned to the ground will there be any chance to build a reasonable center-right political party out of the ashes.”
MB: I respect some of my friends trying to work on reforming the Republican Party, but at least for the time being, I think it’s a lost cause. So my hope is that the Republican Party will suffer massive and repeated drubbings at the ballot box. That’s why I urge everybody to vote straight-ticket Democratic even though I have a lot of disagreements with Democrats. I’m not a Democrat; I’m an independent. But for the health of our republic, I think we need to destroy the Republican Party.
I picked my choice quotes out of the longer interview because I think here’s a conservative who’s on the verge of really getting it.
There’s a VERY BIG point that he almost understands and that I firmly believe.
The Republican party is NOT a conservative party! In fact, the “conservative political philosophy” is held by so few people that there never can be a legitimate political party that really believes in the principles of “conservatism”! The Republican party, in reality, is a broad coalition of White Supremacists, anti-democracy authoritarian fascists, and religious fanatics that can only be described as a cult. The conservatives made a deal with the devil in the 1960’s with the Nixon “southern strategy” to bring in the racists, and then Reagan grabbed the anti-choice people in the 80’s, and finally, Gingrich brought in the anti-democracy fascists where power became the goal at any costs.
These conservatives used their “conservative political philosophy” as a disguise, as a delusion, as a cover, to give legitimacy to the collection of the most deplorable people they could bring together to form the modern Republican party. “Conservatism” was the excuse they used to manipulate most of the people in the Republican party. It was so easy for the conservatives to manipulate the cult they formed, they actually believed the people in the Republican party were part of a conservative movement.
And then Trump came along. The few real conservatives knew that Trump was not a conservative, in fact, he has no core beliefs at all. What shocked them, was how easily he was able to appeal to the most awful failings of humanity to turn “their” conservative party into the fascist cult we see today. In a second conservative beliefs like free trade, anti-deficits, opposition to Russian tyrants, standing up for the principles of democracy… were abandoned and in many cases turned upside down by their coalition of deplorables.
To be sure, there are many many Republicans, but I’m not sure it’s most, that are not racists and fascists. They are simply people who have no ability to think critically and are EASILY manipulated by right-wing propaganda. Unfortunately, these type of people are more easily manipulated with fear and hate, than with love and thought.
The bottom line is, even the real conservatives are on the verge of an epiphany. The United States of America is a liberal country and that real “conservatism” never existed. The battle for the soul of America is not between conservatives and liberals, it’s between ACTIVE liberals and MANIPULATED fascism. The future will be entirely determined by progressive America. It is our choice. We can march to the polls and make this the country we know we can be, or we can sit home again and hand the future over to a manipulated fascist dark ages.
VOTE like our democracy depends on it!
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.