‘It’s become a cult because of an absence of ideas…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) George Will, the formerly conservative Washington Post columnist turned rabidly NeverTrump commentator, cast no doubt in a recent MSNBC appearance that his animus for the current president has caused him to toss the baby with the bathwater.
Since Will left the Republican Party in 2016 over its Trump support, many have speculated on what the true, underlying reasons were for his opposition.
Some have found the answer in a personal vendetta, and others in the threat that Trump represents of upending the elitist D.C. power structure with which Will has long identified.
“It’s become a cult—it’s become a cult because of an absence of ideas,” claimed the ex-right-wing thought-leader on Wednesday, according to the Huffington Post.
Will said he would support any of the Democratic candidates in 2020 provided the GOP maintains Senate control to thwart a potentially radical socialist agenda.
“A Republican Senate would virtually block legislative change,” he said. “And it would take the Republican Party away from its current identification with someone who is in temperament and in most policies not conservative.”
While Will has long attempted to channel the inverse of Ronald Reagan’s famous quip—“I didn’t leave the Democratic party, the Democratic Party left me”—he has struggled to find genuine examples to support his thesis.
The liberal HuffPo, which dotingly characterized the 78-year-old Will as a “conservative icon,” said that in his MSNBC appearance he was able only to cite free trade as a core conservative principle that had been abandoned by his former party.
“For years, decades, all the 20th century almost, conservatives said, ‘We’re for free trade.’ Trump said, ‘By the way, you’re not anymore.’ And they said, ‘OK, we’re not for free trade anymore,’ or they pretend to be.”
But while so-called free-trade agreements may have favored individual corporations, Trump has asserted that many international trade deals—particularly those hatched in the post-World-War-II era to encourage the modernization of developing economies—resulted in substantial imbalances leveraged against U.S. industries and needed updating.
China, which has rapidly developed into the greatest economic and geopolitical competitor of the United States, has exploited loopholes in America’s open governance to do everything from spreading propaganda to committing acts of corporate espionage.
Likewise, it has capitalized on open-trade disparities to drive down the value of American goods and services with its own cheap and exploitative labor.
Mexico—against which Trump recently threatened to impose a punitive tariff—also has gamed the system, using the customary openness of the U.S. to make bad-faith arrangements on immigration and trade.
Will left open the possibility that he may one day return to the ranks of Republicanism, should it purge itself of the Trump influences.
“Conservatism has an enormously long and distinguished pedigree of ideas. It has a momentum into the future given by these ideas,” Will said. “And they did not go away, and they have not been refuted by the 45th president.”