David Frum Knocks Down a Strawman
A response to Mike Pesca, who hosted conservative thinker and leader of the conservative anti-Trump movment, David Frum, on his poscast, The Gist on Monday, February 13, 2017
While I appreciated David Frum's clear-headed critique of Trump's shortcomings and the appropriate steps everyone needs to take to remove him from office, I feel he missed the mark on recognizing the goals of the Women's March and the anti-Trump resistance at large. I can assure him, women and minorities don't need another white man to tell how them how to protest and where to spend their energies. I'm sure Frum represents a broad swath of conservatives who are principled enough to be embarrassed by Trump and recognize the threat he poses to American institutions but would love to keep the opposition laser-focused on the 44th President and redirect the opposition's cross-hairs off conservatives like himself.
The removal of Trump without a large-scale examination of his support would only usher in an unelected Mike Pence as the 46th president with the conservative establishment intact. Pence is a mainstream Pro-Life conservative cozy with the corporate and national security establishment who, absent the extraordinary circumstances of the 2016 election, would never have gotten within arm's reach of the presidency. Supposing that Trump is the only problem and that Pence and, by extension, the rest of the "adults in the room" might be our allies in removing him lets a complicit GOP establishment off the hook for allowing Trump to be their standard bearer in the first place.
By allowing Frum to re-frame the resistance's aims to merely protesting Trump, one ignores the wholesale assault on individual liberties and the racism, sexism, and appeals to authoritarianism which has been a politely unacknowledged part of American Conservatism since the Nixon administration. Establishment conservatives would love if the opposition could be directed to erase the Trump presidency, an unfortunate side effect, yet the logical conclusion, of decades of courting the single-issue social conservative and, yes, quite a basket full of deplorables to divide the electorate and artificially maintain gerrymandered majorities in an ever-changing America.
David Frum knows exactly why Pro-Life groups were dis-invited to the Women's March. They have an ally in Trump; they have an ally in Mike Pence; they will have an ally in Neil Gorsuch; they have the political wind at their backs. No one is naive enough to accept that, all of a sudden, Pro-Life supporters would feel an affinity with a coalition of minorities and feminists that would oppose the current administration or abandon the forces that put it in power. If we are going to point out the "revealed preferences' of the organizers of the Women's March for drawing the line at Pro-Life marchers, let's also recognize what is revealed about the conservatives who may not prefer Trump, the man, but who are clearly not bothered by the radical social agenda, the crumbling wall between church and state, the wholesale abandonment of corporate regulation, the isolationist foreign policy, and the dismantling of governmental institutions that Trump and his administration are perpetrating.