Self-Delusion and the 2024 Election


The more I read excellent analyses of our current situation like Jonah Goldberg’s Suicide of the West, the more convinced I become that the march toward progressivism in this country must be arrested. I have little doubt that, left unchecked, so much of the incredible success of this country–what Goldberg calls “The Miracle”–stands to be undone by the advance of ideologies that, claiming to lead us “forward” (toward the “right side of history”, you know), will instead lead to a very dark, indeed regressive, future. And given that President Biden, either because he won’t or, due to personal frailties because he can’t, stand up to it (likely some of both), it is critical that he be replaced by someone who will (and of course that as many lawmakers on a lesser rung find the same defeat).

This is what causes me, as a conservative, to find myself in utter confusion, frustration, yea despair, as I consider the current state of the opposition, namely the GOP. It seems that this “party”, whom I now refer to as the Republican Mob, is engulfed in self-delusion and utter situational unawareness, seemingly hellbent on snatching defeat from the jaws of victory (see: 2022 elections).

When I think of a person who epitomizes a lack of self-awareness, I think of former mayor of New York, Bill DeBlasio. DeBlasio was first elected due in no small part to the self-inflicted troubles of the infamous Anthony Weiner, and then managed to be re-elected. By the time DeBlasio had been in office awhile, he was considered widely, even by progressive types, to be a pretty mediocre entity, yet that failed to stop him from mounting a brief campaign for president, which predictably failed miserably. Not done, once out of office, he mounted a brief campaign for a seat in the U.S. House, which ended quickly when he announced that he was done with elective politics, an announcement met with a mixture of yawns and cheers, no doubt. DeBlasio seemed convinced that people loved him and were eager for more, when in fact he has become a semi-laughingstock.

I fear now that a huge segment of the Republican Mob has entered DeBlasio territory.

This past weekend, Ralph Reed’s organization Faith and Freedom hosted its annual Road to Majority conference. Being very much interested in both of those concerns, I took a moment to peruse the list of speakers. I will concede that the roster was somewhat better than that of a little soiree that Charlie Kirk had given a few months back, the poster for which I dubbed the team picture of everything that is wrong with the conservative movement; yick. There were some honorable and sincere conservative folks speaking at Reed’s event, in addition to a number whose pictures could be found somewhere on the nauseating-to-revolting spectrum.

But of course the Saturday night keynote speaker, the one attracting the adulation (worship?) of so many, was the former president himself. The irony was rich: he embodies, far more than anyone else or any other explanation, the reason the GOP does not currently have a majority in the U.S. Senate, failed to hold key governorships (Arizona and Pennsylvania come to mind), and only barely won the House. These things are hardly arguable…and yet there was Donald Trump, railing on about nonsensical conspiracies and the like, the EXACT THINGS THAT WILL KEEP THE GOP FROM THE MAJORITY THAT IT SO STRONGLY DESIRES.

But tell that to the self-deluded Ralph Reed-types.

And so we have a situation where an incredibly-beatable incumbent is there for the defeating, and a significant percentage of the Republican Mob seems determined to nominate the one person who stands a strong chance of losing. It truly boggles the mind, the depth of the death wish.

I will spill no ink attempting to change anyone’s mind about the perils of Donald Trump. That ship sailed years ago; I used to naively think that I could persuade people to truths I see as obvious, but no more. I recognize I won’t change anyone’s mind on that subject at this point.

But neither will Trumpers change the minds of folks like me, and you need to know this: our numbers are growing. Without soliciting this response, I know personally of enough “Never AGAIN Trump” folks to need more than one hand to count them, and if you think that this small, opinion-unsolicited group is not representative of several millions of others who have had enough, well…did I mention self-delusion earlier?

Now, you can like that fact or hate it; you can hate US, as I am sure some do, Trump at the top of that list. But what you won’t be able to do is change it.

So here we are, agreeing that there are clear and present dangers to our republic, and the willing-or-unwilling personification of these dangers is one Joe Biden.

And yet here we are as well, at an unbridgeable impasse with regard to the person and candidacy of Donald Trump, an impasse compounded by the self-delusion of a not-insignificant percentage of Ralph Reedish wishful-thinkers for whom the cold, stark realities of the situation are beyond contemplation. So let me make that stark reality very plain:

Donald J. Trump will not be elected president in 2024 (and no, it won’t be because the election is “stolen” from him any more than the last one was).

And as it stands right now, that means that the doddering, further-left than most realized Joe Biden will get a fresh term in 18 months.

No amount of wishful thinking is going to change these realities. But united action–fueled by clear, non-delusional thinking and focused upon principles rather than personalities–could.

And so my appeal: there’s a lot at stake here, and we aren’t going to change each other’s minds about Trump. But if we are concerned about constitutional principles, truth, the American Way, etc., what we could do is find a candidate for whom we can join together and vote. Among the current candidates–who seem to be coming out of the woodwork–there are some whom I could support with something in the ballpark of enthusiasm, and others whom I could merely support…but none has yet proven (to me) to be someone for whom I could under no circumstances vote (a la Trump).

Now one final word: winning elections alone is an insufficient way to change society, and that’s something most all of us forget from time to time. And yet having people committed to the right principles can help preserve the freedom for us to advocate for those principles which made America great, and against those philosophies which I believe are wreaking a lot of havoc in our nation. Ergo, let’s concern ourselves with principles, more so than any particular personalities, as we make our judgments and cast our votes.

And we can start by ceasing to tell ourselves sweet little lies.

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