Or undermining an election as Georgia Rep. Greene has done.
Or inciting an insurrection as Trump infamously did.
Indeed, it’s no stretch to believe that architects of traditional conservatism like Ronald Reagan or William F. Buckley would regard their ideological namesakes with contempt.
Missing the moment
That said, I won’t be honoring my readers’ request. Here’s why:
There was a moment when every traditionally conservative voter, pundit and politician could have stood up against what conservatism has become, the rot it has inflicted.
There was a time they might have even stopped it had enough of them simply spoken out.
Almost none of them did.
We didn’t reach the current state of things overnight, after all.
To the contrary, this has been a 30-year train wreck, a slow-motion disaster that mangled conservatism into the moral monstrosity it is today.
And it’s not as if nobody saw it happening. What with Newt Gingrich’s hostage-taking approach to government and Fox’s truth-optional approach to news, it was pretty obvious.
Indeed, right-leaning pundits tacitly acknowledged the shift years ago when they began finding it necessary to use the term “thoughtful conservatives” to distinguish themselves from the demagogues and flame throwers increasingly populating their side.
Yet “thoughtful conservatives” were nevertheless all too willing to make common cause with unthoughtful ones in exchange for the jolt of energy and enthusiasm the latter brought to the cause.
Standing on sidelines
So they did nothing as alternate reality became the forwarding address of the movement.
As newly brazen racism and xenophobia became the heart of the movement.
As conspiracy became the voice of the movement.
As violence became the good right arm of the movement.
As Trump became the face of the movement.
They stood by and watched as the values they claimed to venerate were smeared in sludge and the name they used to brand themselves was snatched away like money by a playground bully.
What it used to mean, folks, it means no more. The fringe became the mainstream. The game played the player. The tail wagged the dog.
Now, along comes that trickle of readers wanting me to know that the Trump cultists are not “real” conservatives.
I’m afraid they won’t find me particularly sympathetic.
Yes, it’s a good argument. But they’re making it to the wrong audience, about 30 years too late.