I recently attended a conference by an organization affiliated with the Coffee Party USA, the Bridge Alliance, a group working with groups from all ideologies attempting to coalesce on solutions. The Weekly Standard’s Editor at Large Bill Kristol used his speech to excoriate the GOP as he said he is trying to save the Republican Party from Donald Trump. It was a remarkable speech.
Bill Kristol excoriates the GOP as he tries to save the Republican Party
Bill Kristol did not mince his words as he went hard at his party with the intent to pull it away from Donald Trump’s grip.
“This is an attempt to save the Republican Party from Donald Trump and Trumpism,” Bill Kristol said. “That’s our lane. We work with many people in this room and many other people on all kinds of civic centrist bipartisan and so forth type governance efforts. We’re sympathetic to a lot of them. We’re doing some of them a little bit on the side or helping out on the side. But our core effort, I think our comparative advantage honestly is an attempt to save one of our two major national political parties from going in a nativist xenophobic, somewhat authoritarian direction, one that would not be friendly to the future of liberal democracy.”
But he was not done there. He described Trump’s control of the party as a clear and present danger. Most on the Left and some on the Right have been cognizant of Trump’s threat from the time it was clear he was a serious contender if not intellectually in support from a sect of America.
“It’s two major parties, and it kind of makes the difference if one of those two major parties is basically friendly to and supportive of the norms institutions of liberal democracy or not,” Kristol said. “And right now that’s in question, I think because Donald Trump, not to make it too personal, but it is the fact that he’s the president. He’s the leader of the party for now. He has control, mostly, of the party and approval mostly from the party. And if that continued and was allowed to go down that, if the party’s allowed to go down that path, I think you’re facing much greater challenges than we face already.”
Bill Kristol articulated a reality that many sometimes seem to forget. Trump is not the creator of cancer in the Republican Party; he is just cancer metastasizing rapidly.
“The problems were all there before Trump,” Kristol continued. “Trump is a symptom, not the disease as we often hear. But he’s a symptom that makes dealing with the disease much much harder. I would almost say impossible for the time being. It’s sort of if you have underlying problems medically, and you have an infection, you need to deal with the infection before you can even begin the kinds of operations and therapy and, you know, other kinds of medical procedures. You would want to deal with various underlying problems.”
Kristol suggests that one not take the polls too seriously about Republicans supporting Donald Tump north of 80%. He said that north of 40% would support a candidate that ran against Trump in a primary when one digs further. There is a movement on the Right focused on dethroning Trump. They are cocked and ready.