A Surprise From A Conservative View

I’ve made a few forays into republican/conservative territory in recent months, partly out of curiosity, and partly because I think it’s important that we not confine our worldview to a single ideology.  If we are to ever come to a meeting of the minds, find a middle ground, then it’s important to try to understand how the other side thinks.  I find most conservative ‘news’ sites too filled with … shall we be nice and say falsehoods, half-truths, but there is one that I sometimes find to be factual, fair and relevant.

National Review (NR), founded by William F. Buckley in 1955, did not endorse Donald Trump either in 2016 (they endorsed Ted Cruz) or in 2020, when they did not endorse any candidate.  Respected journalist George Will is on their list of contributors, and the ignoble Dinesh D’Souza was removed after making inflammatory remarks and promoting conspiracy theories.  National Review refused to engage in the ‘birther’ theory promoted by Donald Trump, and in fact urged President Obama early on to release his birth certificate to put the rumours to rest once and for all.

To be sure, there are things I do not like about NR, such as their continuing denial of climate change and the fact that they are supportive of Michael Flynn’s pardon, but today I came across a piece in NR that I applaud, and I was actually quite surprised to see this condemnation of Trump and his antics in such a conservative venue.  Take a look …

Trump’s Disgraceful Endgame

By The Editors

November 30, 2020 6:30 AM

President Trump said the other day that he’d leave office if he loses the vote of the Electoral College on December 14.

This is not the kind of assurance presidents of the United States typically need to make, but it was noteworthy given Trump’s disgraceful conduct since losing his bid for reelection to Joe Biden on November 3.

Behind in almost all the major polls, Trump stormed within a hair’s breadth in the key battlegrounds of winning reelection, and his unexpectedly robust performance helped put Republicans in a strong position for the post-Trump-presidency era. This is not nothing. But the president can’t stand to admit that he lost and so has insisted since the wee hours of Election Night that he really won — and won “by a lot.”

There are legitimate issues to consider after the 2020 vote about the security of mail-in ballots and the process of counting votes (some jurisdictions, bizarrely, take weeks to complete their initial count), but make no mistake: The chief driver of the post-election contention of the past several weeks is the petulant refusal of one man to accept the verdict of the American people. The Trump team (and much of the GOP) is working backwards, desperately trying to find something, anything to support the president’s aggrieved feelings, rather than objectively considering the evidence and reacting as warranted.

Almost nothing that the Trump team has alleged has withstood the slightest scrutiny. In particular, it’s hard to find much that is remotely true in the president’s Twitter feed these days. It is full of already-debunked claims and crackpot conspiracy theories about Dominion voting systems. Over the weekend, he repeated the charge that 1.8 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania were mailed out, yet 2.6 million were ultimately tallied. In a rather elementary error, this compares the number of mail-ballots requested in the primary to the number of ballots counted in the general. A straight apples-to-apples comparison finds that 1.8 million mail-in ballots were requested in the primary and 1.5 million returned, while 3.1 million ballots were requested in the general and 2.6 million returned.

Flawed and dishonest assertions like this pollute the public discourse and mislead good people who make the mistake of believing things said by the president of the United States.

Elected Republicans have generally taken the attitude that the president should be able to have his day in court. It’s his legal right to file suits, of course, but he shouldn’t pursue meritless litigation in Hail Mary attempts to get millions of votes tossed out. This is exactly what he’s been doing, it’s why reputable GOP lawyers have increasingly steered clear, and it’s why Trump has suffered defeat after defeat in court.

In its signature federal suit in Pennsylvania, the Trump team argued that it violated the equal-protection clause of the U.S. Constitution for some Pennsylvania counties to let absentee voters fix or “cure” their ballots if they contained an error while other counties didn’t. It maintained that it was another constitutional violation for Trump election observers not to be allowed in close proximity to the counting of ballots. On this basis, the Trump team sought to disqualify 1.5 million ballots and bar the certification of the Pennsylvania results or have the Pennsylvania General Assembly appoint presidential electors.

By the time the suit reached the Third Circuit, it had been whittled down to a relatively minor procedural issue (whether the Trump complaint could be amended a second time in the district court). The Trump team lost on that question, and the unanimous panel of the Third Circuit (in an opinion written by a Trump appointee) made it clear that the other claims lacked merit as well. It noted that the suit contained no evidence that Trump and Biden ballots or observers were treated differently, let alone evidence of fraud. Within reason, it is permissible for counties to have different procedures for handling ballots, and nothing forced some counties to permit voters to cure flawed absentee ballots and others to decline to do so.

Not that it mattered. The court pointed out that the suit challenged the procedures to fix absentee ballots in seven Democratic counties, which don’t even come close to having enough cured ballots to change the outcome in the state; the counties might have allowed, at most, 10,000 voters to fix their ballots, and even if every single one of them voted for Biden, that’s still far short of Biden’s 80,000-plus margin in the state.

The idea, as the Trump team stalwartly maintains, that the Supreme Court is going to take up this case and issue a game-changing ruling is fantastical. Conservative judges have consistently rejected Trump’s flailing legal appeals, and the justices are unlikely to have a different reaction.

Trump’s most reprehensible tactic has been to attempt, somewhat shamefacedly, to get local Republican officials to block the certification of votes and state legislatures to appoint Trump electors in clear violation of the public will. This has gone nowhere, thanks to the honesty and sense of duty of most of the Republicans involved, but it’s a profoundly undemocratic move that we hope no losing presidential candidate ever even thinks of again.

Getting defeated in a national election is a blow to the ego of even the most thick-skinned politicians and inevitably engenders personal feelings of bitterness and anger. What America has long expected is that losing candidates swallow those feelings and at least pretend to be gracious. If Trump’s not capable of it, he should at least stop waging war on the outcome.

13 thoughts on “A Surprise From A Conservative View

  1. I think that we need to start separating conservatism from Trumpism. Trumpism does not seem conservative, it seems more authoritarian than anything. Actually, conservatism often wants the opposite of Trumpism, which is to have an executive with limited power. Just my two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you 100%, Brendan! I’ve often wondered how conservatives can reconcile their ideology with Trump’s which, as you say, is very much authoritarian. If he thought he could get by with it, he would have cancelled the 2020 election and declared himself king.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I wonder if this will ever go away. I’m more conservative than liberal but in this case I still have a working brain cell, or maybe just half of one and I was still able to read the Turnips rants and raves and realize the man is seriously mentally ill and should immediately be hospitalized in a safe and secure building, possibly with the wall he wants so much built around him to a twenty five foot height to insure he can’t climb out. One of the worst problems this country has is the penchant to vote based on one issue rather than look at the results of that issue and see the danger they are creating for everyone. I know so many people who voted for the turnip because the Republican party gives lip service to Right To Life, anti-abortion and all that implies. I also think everyone has the right to live, and I consider abortion murder of the innocents, but I sure won’t vote for an idiot just because of that. How many abortions has Turnip paid for himself? And we all have the right to live, free of a virus, free from injury by being too close to a riot incited by mobs endorsed by certain people in high places, free of fear of retaliation by a bully who bought his way into the presidency. Personally I think it’s time to retire the Electoral College, let the people choose the man or woman they want by popular vote, and reinstate the constitution as written, not according to one person’s interpretation at any given time. And for heaven’s sake, is there any way to shut all the reporters up for a while? No ads at all during a campaign! Not ads for or against either candidate. No bad mouthing, nothing that isn’t done in person around the country. No TV interviews by anyone politically inclined. No more mud slinging, no attacking the opponents family. None of these people live in a cave protected from view by outsiders, but stop the candidates from the stupid remarks about the opponent and allow them to say only what they will do if they are elected. And then let’s hold them to their promises. If they fail to carry them out give them the boot out of the country.

    Whew, not asking much here, am I?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Amazing that this feast of common sense only seems to be appearing now. Had they come out a lot earlier with editorials like this they might have scuppered his chances to do half the things he’s done which are not in the interest of the country or their party.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Maybe … but I think it is the more intellectual conservatives who read the National Review, while the diehard trumpeters are stuck on Fox, and now NewsMax and OANN, so I’m not sure how much influence they have. The ones who could have stopped him are William Barr, and the republicans in the Senate, but they refused to put country ahead of personal gain. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I know lots of conservatives that DO NOT like Trump! They are out there. But you are right if we can’t find a middle ground our Country will continue to be in chaos as our Forefathers roll in their graves!
    And on another note, I sent you an email. Nothing really important just a little note. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I know a few, but they seem not to be in the majority. If people would remember that we’re all on this planet together and we must work together to preserve it … sigh.

      I did get your email, read it, and intended to respond a bit later, but then … AAAARRRGGGHH … I forgot! I just remedied that oversight … I’m so sorry!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jill, it should be noted AG Barr said they did not find sufficient voter fraud to overturn Biden’s victory. That will unnerve the mercurial outgoing president. As for the attorney who wants Chris Krebs shot for doing his duty to the country, that speaks for itself. That is prima facie evidence that the attorney’s opinion need not be heeded. Keith

    PS – I have noticed more than a couple of folks implying these conspiracy folks are leading the outgoing president astray. There is more pushing of this than pulling from the White House. The major domo fraud purveyor looks back from the mirror when the outgoing president shaves.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Yes, I heard that … and in fact mentioned it in my snarky snippets for this afternoon. Does this mean that Barr has found his conscience, or just that with less then two months left, he’s considering his career future? I hope that attorney … Joe DiGenova … is disbarred for life … those comments were beyond unconscionable.

      Leading him astray??? They have got to be kidding! HE started thinking conspiracy theories long ago … even in 2016, he said that if he lost, the vote was rigged!


  6. Hard to tell it’s from a Republican news magazine, though not impossible. Trump, however, must be fuming? Talk about being hoist on his own party’s democratic conscience, but there it is. The Diaper Don has been reprimanded, though he is clueless of that fact. If Trump is allowed to run again in 2024 after his losing tantrums, the Republican Party should be shamed into dissolving itself. It will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt them are only interested in ruling, not governing. Those who would be kings…

    Liked by 5 people

    • Trump has many things, it would seem, to fume about these days and I’m largely trying to ignore his little tirades, for in my book he is no longer relevant. I don’t think he will be able to run again in 2024 … I can’t recall any other candidate running a campaign from a prison cell. 😉


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