Douglas Andrews / October 13, 2021

Beware the Third-Party Trump Haters

Former conservative Jonah Goldberg and his ilk want to “cause the GOP some pain” by sabotaging its electoral chances.

For a brief time in 2016, former conservative columnist and bestselling author Jonah Goldberg belonged to what we might charitably call “the principled opposition.” He opposed Donald Trump, he says, on matters of both policy and personality, and he pulled for any Republican primary candidate who might overtake him. Fair enough. We liked Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, too.

But then, after Trump had made mincemeat out of Cruz, Rubio, and the rest of the GOP field, it was time for the party to come home, to coalesce, as it always does, around its candidate. But Goldberg, perhaps fearing the opprobrium of his Beltway neighbors, kept on attacking the fair-and-square winner of the Republican presidential primary. In that respect, he was like the playground whiner who took his football and went home.

Six years later, Goldberg is no longer a Republican, nor even a compelling conservative thinker. These days, he’s like that Dan Aykroyd character in “Trading Places”: He’s lost his job, lost his reputation, lost his sobriety, and now he’s wearing a soiled Santa outfit and eating stolen salmon through a fake beard. Pretty soon, the mutt will pee on his leg, and it’ll start to rain.

Goldberg, the guy our Mark Alexander once called “one of the most amusing and engaging opinion writers I know,” is no longer amusing and no longer engaging, which is why Alexander fired Goldberg from our editorial lineup.

But he’s no longer merely an anti-Trumper, either. His derangement is now so thorough, so all-consuming, that he’s declared war on the Republican Party and the 49% of self-identified conservatives who want Trump to run for president again, and the 75% of that same group who want Trump to remain “a major national political figure.”

And so, lamenting the abject inability of beautiful losers like himself to influence the one-time party of Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, the quisling Goldberg has come up with an idea to “cause the GOP some pain” going forward. He writes:

Why not create pressure outside of [the party]? Specifically, a third party with a simple, Reaganite conservative platform combined with a serious plank to defend the soundness of elections? For simplicity’s sake, think of it as a GOP minus the Trump personality cult.

If a Republican candidate met its requirements, a new party of the right could endorse the Republican, the way New York’s Conservative Party does. If not, a non-Trumpy candidate could play the role of spoiler by garnering enough conservative votes in the general election to throw the election to the Democrat. … The point is to cause the GOP some pain for its descent into asininity.

Enough. That Goldberg is dreaming about throwing elections to Democrats tells us all we need to know. He’s willing to harm the country, willing to join with the leftists he’s spent his entire adult life denouncing, if only to punish Republicans for supporting Donald Trump.

But while Jonah de la Mancha may be off titling at windmills, he isn’t entirely alone. In a New York Times op-ed titled “We Are Republicans. There’s Only One Way to Save Our Party From Pro-Trump Extremists,” two RINOs — former Homeland Security Chief of Staff Miles Taylor and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman — are urging Republicans to vote for Democrats in the 2022 midterms.

Goldberg loves to talk about Trump’s narcissism, but what other word describes his own unwillingness to admit that the guy whose candidacy he tried to shiv turned out to be the most popular Republican since Ronald Reagan?

Finally, Goldberg once complained that Trump was “corrupting conservatism.” In fact, he’s remade conservatism, expanded its appeal to blue-collar and minority voters, taught it how to fight and how to win. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis — young, tough, gutsy, polished, and deeply informed — is emblematic of this. Where conservatives were once well-intentioned milquetoasts, Trump has shown them how to be maulers. Where Republicans were once at the mercy of an agenda-driven media, Trump has taught them how to throat-punch. Trump didn’t “corrupt” conservatism; he rescued it from electoral irrelevancy.

Thus, the real “extremists” are those who, like Goldberg, Taylor, Todd Whitman, and the scummy Lincoln Projectors, refuse to acknowledge Trump’s massive and enduring appeal. Not only are they Never-Trumpers, they’re now Never-Republicans.

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