by Julie Kelly
Months before the midterm elections last fall, several self-described “conservatives” implored Americans to vote for Democrats. Still stung that Republicans ignored their advice to reject Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy and unmoved by Trump’s solid record of conservative accomplishments in office, these embittered outcasts claimed that a legislative branch controlled by Democrats would cauterize Trump’s alleged “authoritarian” tendencies.
The most notable of these windmill tilters, attacking an authoritarian impulse that wasn’t there, was George Will. For decades, Will occupied a vaunted perch in the hierarchy of the conservative commentariat. He also was deemed acceptable by media outlets hostile to the Right including the Washington Post, where he now is a contributor. Disgusted at the Trumpification of the Grand Old Party in 2016, Will officially renounced his party affiliation just weeks before the Republican National Convention.
Two years later, in a disorganized rant, Will instructed voters to oust Republicans from power. “In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream,” Will wrote in June 2018. “A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House.”
Other lesser-known commentators jumped on Will’s “Vote Democrat” bandwagon, including author Tom Nichols, losing presidential candidate Evan McMullin, and Will’s Post colleagues, Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin. Former George W. Bush aide Michael Gerson argued that a Democratic House was needed because “American politics is in the midst of an emergency.” National Review’s David French announced right before the 2018 election that he no longer was a Republican and would consider voting for third-party candidates.
It’s unclear whether their collective edict had any bearing on the outcome of the November 2018 election and—given that their audience is now so contracted as to include, primarily, Democrats—it is likely that most of their readers needed little persuading. Nevertheless, they got their wish: Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in January.
And what a revealing two months it’s been so far.
Will’s prediction that congressional Democrats would be a basket of left-wing deplorables vastly underestimated the reality. What Will, Nichols and other NeverTrumpers encouraged to be foisted upon our nation is a cabal of cretins devoted to crushing the economic, political, and cultural bones of our body politic in the most ruthless and irreversible way.
And for that alone, perhaps we should thank them. Without the spectacle we now are witnessing, Americans wouldn’t have a realistic grasp on the menace that the modern-day Democratic Party poses to our country. Further, those tempted to imagine that a Democrat in the Oval Office in 2021 might be a much-needed respite from the topsy-turvy news cycle accompanying Trump have been treated to an eye-opener over the past 60 days.
The incivility, immorality, and bullying tactics that NeverTrumpers insist are the reasons why they reject Donald Trump have escalated to a level unseen in American political history. The Democrats are unleashing a Scorched Earth approach that is intentionally raw and shows no attempt to camouflage their destructive pursuits. Fear and intimidation have replaced persuasion and dialogue.
Their compatriots in the media have been similarly emboldened. They don’t care who they hurt, even if it means teenage boys or newborn babies will suffer in the process. Imaginary crimes are adjudicated, imaginary victims are consoled, and imaginary perpetrators are convicted.
It’s anti-American at its unmerciful, tyrannical core. The radicals in control of Congress see this as their moment—folks like George Will helped to see it bequeathed to them.
The insanity isn’t limited to the freshman class of the 116th Congress. Democratic elders and presidential candidates en masse have embraced the dangerous far-left orthodoxy now mainstreamed by telegenic newcomers such as Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
And it’s not just the typical progressive promises about 70 percent income tax rates or free college tuition that sets this particular Democratic caucus apart from its predecessors. It’s not just their economic ignorance or their unjustified arrogance that makes their unhinged behavior so alarming. It’s how they are threatening and harassing their way into power. Anyone who dares to challenge their authority is smeared and berated; even a Republican colleague who barely survived an assassination attempt isn’t spared their vile accusations. Shortly after being sworn-in, one new lawmaker referred to the president as a “mother f***er.”
In a moment of candor, Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at critics of her Green New Deal. “I don’t care anymore because I’m at least trying and they’re not,” she complained last month. “The power is in the person who’s trying regardless of the success.” Then she went off the rails. “I’m like, you try! You do it! ‘Cause you’re not! So, until you do it, I’m the boss! Until then, we’re in charge.”
The anti-Semitism that many NeverTrumpers bizarrely tried to pin on President Trump has not just been excused when exhibited by members of the Democratic Party, it now has been normalized. Omar’s repeated and hateful comments at Jewish-Americans remain unpunished as the House on Thursday passed a toothless resolution filled with general commendations about anti-Semitism without mentioning Omar by name.
Many of her colleagues and several Democratic presidential candidates rose to her defense. Sen. Bernie Sanders, himself Jewish, suggested Omar was being “targeted” by Congress and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) warned that any congressional condemnation of the Muslim lawmaker would put her at risk.
Meanwhile, as the Democratic Party devolves into madness, legitimate threats to the country are being ignored. Despite protestations that no illegal immigration crisis exists, news reports and testimony by Trump officials this week told a different tale about the disaster at our southern border.
One million illegals, nearly all from Central America, are expected to arrive at our doorstep this year, bringing drugs, disease, and despair. Public and charitable resources are overwhelmed. Children are exploited and women are terrorized while lethal drugs are smuggled in. “Make no mistake, this chain of human misery is getting worse,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told a House committee on Wednesday.
But the real danger, according to most House Democrats, is not criminals seeking refuge in our neighborhoods but law enforcement officials who risk their lives to protect our border. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have been subjected to allegations of abuse, rape, and even torture while some powerful Democrats want the agency defunded and abolished.
And as Democrats worry about the safety of Honduran children, American infants are of no concern. Forty-four Democratic senators, including six presidential candidates, voted last month against the Born Alive Act which would have required medical professionals to treat babies who survived an abortion attempt. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who was endorsed by Bill Kristol and his wife, calmly explained how an infant post-delivery would be left to die if the mother so desired.
The criminal prosecution of political opponents, which began under the Obama administration three years ago and was justified by many in the NeverTrump crowd, will continue at great expense to taxpayers while breaching the constitutional protections of innocent Americans whose only offense was supporting a candidate and a president that the ruling class deemed unfit. House leaders are setting the stage for impeachment against the will of the American people, and want to take down the president’s family with him.
So, in a little over 60 days, the Democratic Party has revealed how truly dangerous it is and how much hostility it holds for almost all Americans. Their deep contempt for our traditions, our laws, and our beliefs has little or nothing to do with Donald Trump; it has been festering for decades, gaining traction in boardrooms and newsrooms and lecture halls while many of the NeverTrumpers, like Will, were insouciant.
Now we know, and all Americans finally see, what we are up against in 2020. To that extent, we owe George Will and his outliers a debt of gratitude. Their bitterness might have hastened a reckoning with the Left that only a Trumpified Republican Party is equipped to confront. Will and his fellow outcasts still are invited to continue cohabitating with the Left—we certainly don’t want them back.
But in a twisted way, we should be grateful for their betrayal to their party and really, to the country. Now we have a full picture of the enemy—and they are included among them.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago.