Bruce Bartlett, writing for Politico Magazine:
As a moderate Republican who voted for Obama, I should be Donald Trump’s natural enemy. Instead, I’m rooting for him….
Trump’s nomination would give what’s left of the sane wing of the GOP a chance to reassert control in the wake of his inevitable defeat, because it would prove beyond doubt that the existing conservative coalition cannot win the presidency.
I endorse Bartlett's championing of Trump. The sane wing's only hope of party recontrol is indeed a "historic thrashing" of the "yahoo" crowd, as Bartlett puts it. Yet that hope, while more suitable to moderates than extreme despair, I suppose, is a tragically faint one. The Republican Party's primordial muck is too deep; that sucking sound we hear is the pseudoconservative swamp ruthlessly engorging the party body and soul.
As I see it, the cardinal flaw in Bartlett's analysis — an error I myself have committed for approximately a decade now — resides in his proposition that a Trump- or Trump-like implosion would "prove beyond doubt" that yahooism is a loser. But prove to whom? The yahoos? Nothing of any sanity has ever proved anything "beyond doubt" to that crowd. That's what makes them yahoos. Instill them with reason and logic and some rudimentary human intelligence and, presto, one un-yahoos them. That, however, is an act reserved only for divine intervention, and miracles have been somewhat short of late.
Prove, perhaps, to Bartlett & Co. that the "existing conservative coalition" can't retake the presidency? The moderate Bartletts — the sane crowd — already know that. Prove to non-Republicans and anti-Republicans that the coalition is doomed? They, of course, are of less influence on the GOP than GOP moderates are. Prove electoral catastrophe, maybe, to the right-wing noise machine? — prove it to the Fox Newsers and Limbaughs and Savages? Their profits rely on attack, not defense; hence those profits are far more secure with a Democrat in the White House. Better to cheer on a sure, yahoo-exciting loser than be stuck with defending another President Bush.
Another flaw in Bartlett's analysis is almost equally rude. Today's conservative coalition can't win the White House with the yahoos, but it also can't win without them. It can't win without the yahoo-infiltrated militarists, libertarians, holy rollers and racists, and it can't even win without the pure yahoos of no particular ideological bent (except that of unmitigated rage). The yahoos are an electorally indispensable element of the conservative coalition. And when one faction is indispensable, it's invulnerable. It must be pampered — see, e.g., Reince Priebus' rediscovered respect for Donald Trump.
The only way to vanquish Trump in the short run is to outTrump Trump, which is now a strategy in full bloom. The yahoos are everywhere, and their name is "Republican." There are Trumpian yahoos, there are Huckabeean yahoos, there are Cruzian yahoos and Walkerian yahoos and assorted Carsonesque, Jindalesque and Perryesque yahoos. Together they spell G-O-P.
The only way to vanquish Trumpism in the long run? Embrace it for now, as Bruce Bartlett has done. Hand it the keys to the party, which the yahoos have already done. Then, four or eight years hence, perhaps launch another party — a genuinely conservative party? Because this pseudoconservative one lies in the lethal, inextricable grip of the mucked yahoos.