Earlier this week Hillary Clinton sought to link all Republican candidates to Donald Trump and his incendiary plan to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.
This is exactly the right message. Democrats must start globalizing their issues with Republicans. But we wish Clinton and every other Democrat would go a step further from now till November: They should use Trump as the cudgel to bash not just other candidates, and not just the Republican Party, but conservatism itself.
Donald Trump presents the perfect opportunity to send conservatism on the run, to discredit not only the party but the very philosophy conservatives stand on.
The message should be:
The problems we’re seeing now with Republicans go far beyond Donald Trump, and even beyond a dysfunctional Republican Party. Trump has exposed the dark underbelly of conservatism itself. Conservatives in America haven’t just lost their way, they seem to have lost their minds. Rational, moderate conservatives don’t even have a voice in American politics today. Instead, the Republican Party and the conservative movement have been overrun by Donald Trump demagogues, anti-government zealots, gun fetishists, Jade Helm conspiracy theorists, Tea Partiers, religious bigots, birthers, anti-intellectuals, science deniers, xenophobes, and more than a few full-on racists.
Do the “crazies,” as Republican Sen. John McCain called them, represent all conservatives? No, of course not. But they are the most vocal and most active. And perhaps they are the natural progression of an ultraconservatism that:
- encourages absolutism
- urges religious and political zeal
- refuses compromise
- demonizes political opponents as un-American or even traitors
- employs brinksmanship and government shutdowns as political weapons
- reflexively resists every new idea
- bases its political philosophy on a heartless social Darwinism, and
- shows not just indifference but antipathy toward the poor
We’re beginning to see now where all of that leads.
A while ago Gov. Bobby Jindal lamented that Republicans “have to stop being the Stupid Party.” They have failed completely.
American voters must ask themselves: Are these really the people who should be running a 21st-century superpower? Conservatives every day are proving themselves unfit to lead a great nation.