Predictabler and Predictabler

Yesterday, I noted that there is a discernible movement afoot among some factions within the American “conservative media” to encourage their readers or listeners to detach themselves from Donald Trump, as he begins to seem like a liability going into the midterm elections. As I explained, this trend does not represent a serious attempt to reassert conservative or constitutionalist principles in defiance of the Trump cult’s populist authoritarian tendencies, but rather follows the predictable pattern, right on cue, of Republican Party shills looking for the smoothest path to electoral victory, goals and principles be damned.

And so today I note that Ann Coulter has joined teenage “debate champion” Ben Shapiro in urging the rejection of Trump in advance of the midterms. I also note that Shapiro, in his mock-sober, “good Trump, bad Trump” way, and Coulter, in her fire-spewing harpy way, were important backers and legitimizers of Trump’s presidential campaigns in both 2016 and 2020. As early as the first GOP primaries in 2016, I was writing publicly to warn the naive about Trump’s most prominent “conservative media” supporters, including Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, and the like, explaining that these very same self-described outsiders and hardline principled conservatives were the group that had uniformly abandoned Tea Party voters in favor of the GOP establishment’s pick, Mitt Romney, during the 2012 primary season. I argued in depth and repeatedly that their turn to Trump in 2016 was hard proof that Trump, for all the pretense of being a rabble-rouser, was in fact the establishment’s pick, and for exactly the same reason the old boys had picked Romney: They saw him as their best chance to defeat and “crush” (Mitch McConnell’s word) the Tea Party constitutionalist movement. The biggest names in the “conservative media” were merely on board with the establishment’s scheme as usual, as their profiteering career goals demanded of them.

After pimping for Trump in the most vulgar and absurd ways for years, Coulter has turned anti-Trump, not because she has seen the light about him at last (as she claims), but because the GOP establishment — Mitch McConnell’s establishment — has made the decision that it is time to dump Trump’s unsavory baggage once and for all and find a new mouthpiece for the status quo who will nevertheless, like Trump (and Romney before him), be acceptable enough to the grassroots to draw them out of their holes on Election Day, but without really representing any substantial change from binary-choice business as usual. And so, like Shapiro the day before, Coulter takes her shot at rationalizing the Dump Trump position, only to follow it up, not with a serious rejection of the endless bait-and-switch routine that is the GOP electoral machine, but with a rallying cry for the establishment, yet again.

Coulter also pointed to a recent FiveThirtyEight poll that showed most Republicans supporting Trump but indicated that broken down into individual demographic groups, many had negative views of Trump, including those from groups who might otherwise be inclined to vote Republican.

“They’re thinking to themselves, ‘Wow, I always thought of myself as a Republican, but if Trump is the Republican Party, maybe I’m an independent — that’s not quite me, bombast, insults, and no results.’”

“Republicans, it’s not the party of Trump, it’s safe to come back,” she added. “And it’s safe for Republicans to stand up and run without Donald Trump. Look at [Virginia Gov. Glenn] Youngkin.”

You see? The aim of all this supposed change of heart on Trump is clear: To help the Republicans win elections, regardless of who they are or whether they seem to represent anything that the people who are being coaxed to vote for them actually believe in or care about. As always, it is about serving the pragmatic and material interests of the GOP establishment. Not blaming that establishment for foisting Trump on the world in 2016. Not condemning that establishment for standing by Trump in 2020, and then trying to downplay his anti-constitutional behavior and rhetoric after his defeat. Not rejecting that establishment’s perpetual presumption of the eternal right to own the vote of anyone who is not a Democrat. 

No, Coulter, Shapiro, and the rest of the turncoats of convenience frame their rejection of Trump — the GOP establishment’s own monster, as they know perfectly well — as a necessary move in the name of winning the midterms…for the GOP establishment, of course.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

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