“Complacency is our enemy,” Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning.” Anyone that does not embrace the @realDonaldTrump agenda of making America great again will be making a mistake.”
This vaguely threatening tweet followed Tuesday’s primary in South Carolina where Rep. Mark Sanford, who has a fairly conservative voting record, was thrown out by GOP primary voters because he has repeatedly criticized Trump when he believes the president is wrong, while often siding with Trump when he thinks he’s right.
McDaniel later said her tweet was an imprecise paraphrase of a more sensible point she made on television earlier. Still, her message is consistently that the Republican Party is and ought to be the Trump’s party and everyone in it should get into line behind their leader.
This is a wrongheaded argument that would damage the Republican Party deeply if it were followed. It’s close to being the opposite of what is both strategically advisable and morally upright. No call to sacrifice principles for temporary advantage can be a long-term success.
Neither Republican lawmakers, nor the Right more broadly — the conservative movement, the free-market cause, the pro-life movement, and the right-of-center media — ought to pledge unquestioning allegiance to Trump just because he is powerful. Might does not make right. To the contrary, the best thing about Trump’s presidency has been the degree to which these other forces have harnessed Trump and pulled him in line behind their ideas and arguments.
There’s plenty for the GOP to learn from Trump, but the party should not be defined by the man. It should be a party of ideas, not personality. Trump the policymaker has plenty for conservatives to like, Trump the man is not a conservative icon, to put it gently.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.