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“Leaving” Means Leaving

You all know Charlie Sykes from his TV appearances. He was a longtime very conservative talk-show host and journalist. Lately, he has become editor of The Bulwark, which is strongly anti-Trump. Sykes has never really wavered from his policy positions, but has become increasingly angry about what has happened to his Republican Party.

Today he wrote, “I think it’s incredibly naive to think that there is a chance to salvage the party. They wrote a piece in the Washington Post last week saying the ouster of Liz Cheney doesn’t mean the fight is over. The fight for the soul of the Republican Party is just beginning. Well, that’s just wrong.”

Sykes says, “The war is over. The conspiracy theorists, the cranks, the bigots have won. And I just think as a matter of reality, we need to understand that.”

Well, that is good to see him come right out and say that. I hope that more do very soon. Of course, it is just an essay;, who knows what he or any of the Bulwark people will do. It is clear that something has to be actually done.

The Republicans cannot be given the seat of power again. It would be about equivalent to the Germans putting Nazis into government positions. How different is the current Republican leadership from Nazis? There are some differences, but many similarities. These are people who want absolute power, and a complete right to change every law and rule to the way they want it. They do not compromise. They do not want a consensus. They want to win, and to stomp on the head of anyone who stands in their way.

I hope that they have made this abundantly clear to a majority of Americans. Maybe after the Supreme Court strikes a devastating blow against abortion rights, more will finally see it. Maybe some of the people who just couldn’t manage to vote for Hillary Clinton, for some absurd reason or another, might have more cause to greatly regret it. Maybe the media people who delighted in making “emails” their primary subject for a year, might slightly realize what they did. Not that this helps us, except that maybe they will not do it again? With regard to the Supreme Court, it might be too late, for fifty years, or maybe forever, in terms of saving this democracy. Maybe if they have a free hour, they could think of that.

Democrats have some political power now, but can they keep it? What is the alternative to that? If right wing conservative Charlie Sykes thinks that there is no hope for the Republican Party, then he has to be saying that he and other Republicans who agree with him, cannot vote for Republicans. Otherwise, it is just some kind of philosophical musing, with no concrete value.

And if the Party is hopelessly turned into an evil force, then no Republican candidate should win. So many people have deluded themselves into thinking that they could vote for this or that Republican, just not the ones they don’t like. That is foolish at the best of times, and idiotic at a time when Republicans are a bloc which marches in lockstep to what the donors and the party leaders tell them. Okay, there are maybe a very few Congresspeople who will once in a hundred times vote a different way, but never on policy. Every single one of them voted against the Covid Relief Bill, and they are all going to vote against HR 1. No Republican Senator has voted on the Democratic side with regard to any bill.

The point is, that if you vote for one Republican, you are essentially voting for them all. Vote for Susan Collins, and you are voting for Mitch McConnell. Actually, Collins lied when she said that neither Kavanaugh or Barrett would overturn Roe v. Wade, so she is ultimately just McConnell in a different wardrobe. Vote for Ernst or Toomey or Tillis, and you get Hawley, Blackburn and Tuberville; the votes are the same when it comes to making laws. To paraphrase a line from a couple of movies, “Their faces are only different so you can tell them apart.”

So if Sykes is as good as his words, his “leaving the Party” must not be a useless statement of position. He has to vote for the Democrats. And so do all of the Republicans of the various Never Trump sites and groups that we see listed on our TV screen when one of them comes on as a pundit. If you don’t vote for Democrats, you have accomplished nothing, and will actually be a worthy subject of mockery.

If you are convinced that of two sides in a war, one is wholly evil and run by bigots and conspiracy nuts, you have to fight for the other side, or at least give all of your support to them, even if it goes against your past and your nature. What is the other alternative for Sykes? To help start a third party which will never win, and actually keep the Democrats whom you should have voted for, from winning? Pragmatic philosophical Republicans surely know that third parties can’t win, which is why they always wanted Democrats to fall into the trap of voting for them. And a third party may actually help Republicans, to give the Never Trumpers a comfortable haven to act virtuous yet still not vote for Democrats.

I am waiting to see if we actually witness longtime Republicans stand up and speak up, and say that they are going to be voting for Democrats up and down the ticket. Actually, the only possible way to have a barely decent Republican Party is to get rid of those who now control and own it. That would probably be impossible, but they can hope for that, while they are electing Democrats.

If Democrats controlled large majorities in both chambers of Congress, and the Presidency, the tens of millions of Wingnuts would have no political power. They very possibly would try to overthrow the government by violent force, which is very unsettling to contemplate, but would have to be dealt with. Allowing them to have any political power is death for the democracy. That is what Von Hindenburg did in Germany, accepting the idea of a coalition government with Hitler in 1933. It is death. You can’t stop Far Right Republicans from winning this or that seat, but you can do everything you can to stop enough of them so that they are a distinct minority.

We hear people on TV say, “The Republican Party is shrinking.” By registration, yes. But in pragmatic reality, it only matters who wins the elections and who holds the power. If people leave the party as a symbol, or to feel moral, but do not actually vote for Democrats, they will have accomplished nothing meaningful.

As a Democrat, I never understood why they could not bring themselves to like a Clinton or Biden, and support their policies. But “principled conservatism,” whatever that means, is nowhere to be found, so you have to vote for the Democrats, and not just write lofty essays about it. I’m looking at you, Mr. Sykes, and Mr. Frum, Mr. Kristol, Ms. Carpenter, Ms. Rubin, Ms. Longwell, Mr. Tim Miller, Mr. Nichols, Mr. Michael Steele, and all of the rest of you. Otherwise, unless you come out verbally and support voting for Democrats, I don’t want to hear from any of you again, as you enjoy your well-paying guest spots on the cable news shows.

And again, all the people who said, “I am going to cast a conscience vote for Stein,” whatever that was supposed to mean; or who wanted any excuse to feel important and not support Hillary; or like the infamous Eddie Glaude, who called her “the devil you know,’ in 2016, you have my eternal contempt. Glaude is never going to need an abortion, but there were also many women who voted for Stein, Johnson and even Trump, and this is what you all have wrought. How hard was that to figure out in advance? The media didn’t want you to, they wanted you only to think about emails.