The latest dog bites man news is that former Republican Gov. Jim Martin, who did not support Donald Trump in 2016, has still not warmed to the president.
He joins a small but high-profile group of former Republican poohbahs who have received outsized attention for their resistance to Trump because it serves the narrative his opponents are spinning.
The elitist message is a rehash of Hillary Clinton’s nasty smear of Trump supporters in 2016. Call it Deplorables 2.0.
Putting aside the obvious question – how did that work for ya? – the strategy is to suggest that nobody who matters would vote for that man. Surveys may show that lunch-pail Republicans overwhelmingly support Trump but what do those people know?
It doesn’t matter that Joe Biden enjoys no more support among his base than Trump does among his – it’s quality, not quantity. And never mind that some polls show movement of African Americans and Hispanics toward the president. What do those people know?
I understand why Democrats are trumpeting the Never Trumpers – what’s baffling is why politically savvy folks like Martin are allowing themselves to be used by them. He must understand that Trump can only be removed by empowering the left. There are plenty of reasons to oppose the president but it is hard to fathom how any true conservative could seek to defeat a president with a real record of achievement by lending support to an increasingly radicalized and divisive Democratic party.
It’s telling that Never Trumpers ignore or, like Martin, glance over the president’s accomplishments – which, you know, really ought to matter. Conservatives should be thrilled with his judicial appointments, his robust efforts to reduce regulation and kick-start the economy – even though he has done a miserable job of addressing the deficit. He supports the fracking boom that has reduced our carbon emissions far more than Obama’s speeches and is the one candidate not beholden to the teachers’ unions.
His response to COVID-19 has been far better than his critics allow. Biden’s plans mostly echo what Trump is doing now.
Does Martin want to risk all that?
Trump’s foreign policy has been a vast improvement over the Obama/Biden approach. Rather than empowering the terrorist mullahs in Iran he has brokered a series of once unimaginable peace deals between our great ally Israel and its Arab neighbors. In place of Obama’s weak words, Trump has responded to Chinese and Russian aggression with tough action.
Does Martin want to go back to leading from behind?
Disregarding policy, Never Trumpers focus on character. Many of Trump’s Tweets are troubling. But when it comes to toppling norms, he is a piker compared to the Democrats.
The Trump/Russia hoax was the single most destabilizing attack on a sitting president in our history. His impeachment for briefly holding up aid to the Ukraine was so bogus that Democrats never mentioned it at their convention – though it did set a dangerous precedent that will haunt all future leaders.
The Democrats have worked relentlessly to divide us along racial lines, smearing Trump as a Klansman and America itself as a nation riddled with systemic injustice and filled with white nationalists.
Does Martin think that demonstrates character?
Finally, despite the claims that Biden is a moderate, his long career shows that he is not a leader but a follower of whatever passes for his party’s orthodoxy.
Given his party’s strong leftward tilt – and its determination to dispense with the filibuster to push through its radical agenda – Biden represents a clear and present danger to conservative ideas.
Given all that, does Jim Martin really believe that Trump’s bark is worse than Biden’s bite?