George Will's usual charge is to proffer conservative claptrap with florid eloquence, but today he violates himself by being uncommonly lucid:
The minority of people who pay close attention to politics includes those who define an ideal political outcome and pursue it, and those who focus on the worst possible outcome and strive to avoid it. The former experience the excitements of utopianism, the latter settle for prudence’s mild pleasure of avoiding disappointed dreams.
All of which means, in Will's further formulation: "Were [Trump] to be nominated, conservatives would have two tasks. One would be to help him lose 50 states." (The other would be to rescue "as many senators, representatives, governors and state legislators as possible.")
As do others among the right's intelligentsia, Will dreads the growing assemblage of "Republican quislings" — "collaborationists" who will imprudently sign on to Donald Trump's "Believe me" revolution of making American great again via the cult of personality and the force of Nietzschean will. To say that Trump's theme is fantastical borders on understatement; to say it's "utopian," in a crypto-fascistic way, is no overestimation of its perversity.
Will's advice to those he would regard as true conservatives? Work to purge the Trumpian scourge, embrace a Hillary Clinton presidency, and then labor to dethrone her in 2020. I remain mystified as to Will's fully encompassed definition of true conservatism (is, for instance, heaving modern science from its belief system an element of legitimate conservative thinking?), but on this element — the full-throated repudiation of Donald Trump — George Will is spot on. Genuinely conservative delegates to Cleveland's asylum should (though they won't) tell the plurality of Republican voters to go jump in the rising seas.
On the other side, however — the "true progressive" side — we find in Walker Bragman's Salon piece, "A liberal case for Donald Trump: The lesser of two evils is not at all clear in 2016," an embrace of Trump and a scourging of Clinton. Though he rejects the identity of "Bernie Bro," Bragman, a blogger, political cartoonist and law student, is head over heels in brotherly love with Bernie Sanders. This, naturally, means that arguments must be formulated to embrace the Wicked Queen's almost certain opponent. Here's one of them, and it will leave you speechless:
Historically, the party in control of the White House loses seats in the midterm. A Trump presidency would force Democrats to organize and turn out in the off-year. And it might provide a head-start on taking back the chamber in 2020.
Did I nail it or what? You're speechless, right?
Here's another glittering diamond of Bragmanian wisdom:
Rightly or wrongly, [Trump] represents America’s crypto-fascist element. The best way to discredit both [Republicism and crypto-fascism] is to let them fail on their own. Trump will not succeed as a president.
Would someone please explain the reasoning behind the two adverds introducing that passage? At any rate, the thrust of Bragman's argument here is that a President Trump would be catastrophic — so by all means, bring on the catastrophe. That, we can afford. But,
On the flip side, if Hillary Clinton screws up by compromising too much (which is likely) or doing too little (also likely), progressivism will take a big hit in the public eye, which is something we cannot afford.
It's true, a Sanders presidency wouldn't do "too little." It would do — it would accomplish, rather — nothing at all. Yet for reasons unexplained by Bragman, "progressivism" would take no big hit at the hand of Bernie's absolute impotence. It would at the hand of Hillary's compromises or unavoidable constraints, but not at the hand of Bernie's total failures.
You know what? When the specific thinking of a Walker Bragman makes George Will look broadly reasonable, the Bernie Bros might then want to stand back — and rethink this thing.