June 27, 2018

George Will, useful idiot or political genius?

George Will, perennial NeverTrumper, might be a useful idiot. Or... he might be a political genius set to doom Democrats to non-contender status for decades. American Greatness surmised this of the NeverTrumpers:
...That leaves NeverTrump Republicans with a set of very painful choices. They cannot retake their party without accommodating the views of voters who they so far have denounced from their pulpits. But they are not strong enough to beat the pro-Trump coalition on their own, nor are they numerous enough to win with a new party, as Juleanna Glover suggested in the New York Times earlier this year. To win without Trump backers, they would need either permanently to join the Democrats, strengthening the moderate Left in their perennial battle with progressives for party control, or join independents and dissident center-left Democrats to form a new, aggressively centrist third party. Either course would require compromise on issues that many have championed for the majority of their adult lives.
The American Greatness essay argues Trump supporters need these people to win. Currently, perhaps yes. But a third party of centrists who need to fight a two front war with both progressives and Populist Republicans will eat away from Democrat support far more than it does from Republicans. For a demonstration, see Canada. Instead of needing 50%+1 support to win a state, 40% becomes pretty safe. For president at least that's true. 

 The Senate and Congress are another story.  In some districts that are far left the remnant Democrat would not be a serious contender and vice versa.  But it's hard to see a close Republican/Democrat district having a third party not help the Republican candidate.  The real danger is a potential coalition in Congress having the seats to override a Republican seat plurality.  That might come down to the Republicans having to run stronger candidates and with the Republican Establishment believing that means RINOs, perhaps a Republican civil war could follow resulting in 4 parties, not 3.  At that point it becomes a crap shoot as to who wins seats.  And there's always the possibility that the Democrats would (erroneously) be seen as the centrist party and take enough voters from both the Republicans and socialists to become a dominant party.  Just like in Canada they would then ally with the socialists and conservatives could end up in the wilderness for decades.

Back to George Will.  He's left the GOP.  Really; it happened when no Republicans were bothering to care anymore.  Now if he's just an anti-Trump #NeverTrumper then he's effectively a useful idiot for the Democrats.  That's especially true if he believes there's no potential split on the Democrat side.  But if he believes that the Democrats might break apart into socialists and center-left Democrats, then he's either a useful idiot for Republicans, or a political genius trying to ferment a Democrat split by looking for fellow 'moderates' to form a centrist party, thereby splitting up the Not Trump vote and effectively ensuring that Trump not only wins a second term but is benefited by midterm results as well.

While I'd like to think that George Will is the latter political genius, evidence has me sticking with the useful idiot theory.  My hope is that he is either wildly successful as a useful idiot for the GOP, but my expectation is that he just goes away, or ends up on CNN, which is basically the same thing.


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