Like the rest of 2018, last week’s news cycle was a roller coaster ride. For much of the week, Republicans lauded Kanye West for putting on his MAGA hat and standing up for independent thought. On Friday, many of those same Republicans rejoiced at the news that Red State had purged writers critical of President Trump from its ranks.
Irony ain’t just a description of items made of ferrous metals.
Perhaps it didn’t occur to Red State’s owner, Salem Media, when it elected to fire its anti-Trump conservatives that its actions were strikingly similar to the actions of the left in calling out Kanye for embracing President Trump. Liberals want to ensure that minorities toe the Democratic line while the right wants to squelch conservative dissent against the Trump Administration.
So much for independent thought.
Liberals have long promoted the ideals of tolerance and diversity. The right has long pointed out that liberal tolerance does not extend to conservative viewpoints and liberal diversity does not include diversity of thought.
In reality, neither side has much room for diversity of thought within its ranks. Over the past two years, I have watched as conservative social media groups ban online criticism of Donald Trump. I’ve followed a Facebook friend who was drummed out of his local Republican Party chapter because he did not support the president. Now, Red State is dismissing conservative writers for being insufficiently supportive of a president who is not conservative.
Red State’s action may be couched as a business decision, but the firings eliminated some of the site’s most popular writers. At least in the short term, the site is certain to take a hit in web traffic as Red State leaves its niche of covering both sides of conservative issues to become just another Trump cheerleader.
Diversity of thought has long been both a strength and a weakness for the Republican Party. It provides a rich fodder for ideas and solutions, but it also makes it extremely difficult to assemble a coalition to pass legislation. Moderate “rinos” frequently desert the party, but are much more conservative than the Democrats who would likely replace them.
There are several problems with the current purge of party dissidents. First, it aligns the party firmly behind a non-ideological leader based on his personality. With Donald Trump at the helm, the Republican Party will drift from one direction to another, guided only by the whims on the president and the persuasiveness of his advisors. Second, the fear of contradicting the president will have a chilling effect on Republican policy proposals.
The biggest problem with the purge, however, should be the most obvious. If a political party kicks people out, it becomes smaller. Political parties don’t win elections by becoming smaller.
Some Trump supporters accuse the president’s conservative critics of being closet liberals or of being paid off. I can assure you that is not true. If we were liberals, we would simply endorse the Democratic candidates rather than trying to reform the Republican Party or promote third party candidates. If our aim was financial, it would be much easier to get on the Trump Train and write pro-Trump clickbait.
Most of us criticize Trump because we think it’s the right thing to do for the country. Consider us the Jiminy Cricket perched on the shoulder of the GOP, reminding it of its traditional values and platform.
I believe that there is a market in the conservative media for objective coverage of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. Red State and Salem Media obviously disagree, but with about 20 percent of Republicans disapproving of the president and Republican affiliation down five percent since the 2016 election, it is apparent that a lot of conservatives and right-leaning moderates have been excluded from the Trump GOP.
Those of us at The Resurgent are proud to be their voice.
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