Virginia’s Embarrassment Strikes Again
Corey Stewart strikes again.
Virginia’s Embarrassment didn’t learn his lesson about keeping his feet out of his mouth after the last time. This time, it’s even worse, if only because the comments were given on-the-record to the press, in his capacity as Trump’s Virginia Co-Chair. Corey apparently has no love for Republicans who have decided they can’t support Trump and won’t support Clinton, instead choosing to cast their votes for the Johnson/Weld Libertarian ticket.
Trump’s campaign lashed out at the “traitorous and destructive” effort for Johnson/Weld.
“There is no such thing as an anti-Trump group,” Corey Stewart, chairman of Trump’s Virginia campaign, told AMI Newswire. “Anti-Trump is pro-Hillary, and that’s what groups like this really are.”
“If we lose, I’ll know where to go to place blame,” Stewart said. “If they want careers in politics afterwards, they won’t get them. They’ll be destroyed.
“This is treason against Trump. For whatever reason – their pride, their personal interests – they will damage America permanently by helping elect Hillary Clinton,” he said.
“They are immature babies who are tearing down the Republican Party.”
When have we ever heard Jim Gilmore talk like this? That’s right – we haven’t. Because the other Trump Virginia Co-Chair doesn’t say these kinds of irresponsible things.
Leaving aside the fact that this is some of the least responsible rhetoric we’ve seen from a man who has decided that his hallmark is going to be trying to out-Trump Trump, none of what Corey says here is really morally or logically defensible.
Let’s break this down a bit.
First, winning campaigns don’t talk like this. They don’t issue threats to professionals that “they’ll never work in this town again.” They don’t call fellow GOPers “immature babies” because they won’t fall in line like sheep. And they certainly don’t go looking for people to point the blame at before Election Day. Casting around looking for people to blame months before Election Day is just sad. Act like a winner, man, and don’t ever throw away the chance to get people on-board, even if they are saying now that they won’t support your guy. Who knows what will happen between now and November, and you just slammed the door in the face of these folks ever coming back, no matter how unlikely that may be. Winning campaigns, and smart losing campaigns, are always upbeat. The better way to answer this would be “I am confident that when folks realize how bad a candidate Hillary Clinton is, they’ll come back the fold,” or something similar. To go this route is essentially conceding that you can’t win and you just want to burn everything down.
Second, I find it utterly absurd that anybody who has ever taken an oath to support the Constitution would act like any person, Republican or otherwise, owes loyalty to any individual, least of all a politician. This isn’t England. This isn’t Game of Thrones. There is no treason against people in America. The whole idea that somebody could commit treason by not supporting a politician is a laughable farce for any American who cares about freedom and liberty. Treason against Trump? What a crock. Impossible. None of us owe any loyalty to the man himself.
Third, we’ve got the same tired banality that a vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary. No, it isn’t. It’s the equivalent of not voting at all, really. That doesn’t add any votes to Hillary’s column, and the idea that it takes away votes from Trump is equally absurd because no one is entitled to someone’s vote simply by virtue of their self-identification as a member of one party or the other. If that were the case, why bother even having the election? Just tally up how many people belong to one party or the other and declare a winner. We don’t do that, of course, because there is no rule that forces anybody to cast their vote for anybody in America. We can’t say we love freedom and liberty with a straight face while demanding you give up your freedom to cast your ballot according to your conscience just because you signed up to join a local unit committee, or you call yourself a Republican. That’s logically and morally indefensible. It’s antithetical to the values we claim to uphold.
That’s not to say that I think Republicans should not support our nominees, but I seem to recall the idea of a loyalty oath getting struck down by a wide majority of Virginia GOPers. It shouldn’t be an easy thing to just toss aside a nominee, but I don’t think it’s easy or common what is happening in this presidential cycle. We have nominated somebody who believes almost nothing that has been bedrock conservative and Republican thought since Goldwater. His brand of populism is hard for many, including me, to digest. We gave Republicans in Louisiana a break when David Duke became the defacto GOP candidate for Governor in 1991, so I think we can give folks a pass this cycle if they can’t support Trump. As an aside, it’s appalling that Duke is trying to resurrect his political career (he actually did serve in state government back in the early 90s) on Trump’s coattails. This cycle has emboldened a lot of people who should have remained under their rocks with the rest of the vermin.
Fourth, unless you have zero faith in the wisdom of the framers of our Constitution, the idea that any politician can cause “permanent damage” to the country simply by being elected, is absurd. It wasn’t true when Democrats used the same argument to split the country apart the first time a Republican was elected President, and it’s not true now. We have spent the last five years blocking Obama’s agenda, and we can spend four years blocking Clinton if Trump loses. Scaring people into believing that a Clinton presidency will cause irreparable harm to the republic is beneath the dignity of a public servant. If only because it’s just not true. America is stronger than a bad president. The GOP will still control the House unless something highly improbable happens, even if the GOP loses the Senate, which is likely to happen. There are still tools that can be used against bad presidents. We’ve withstood a civil war, two world wars, four assassinations, and one resignation – we can survive two Clintons.
Finally, as I have said before and I will keep repeating until the day I die, there is only one person and one person only to blame when a campaign fails – the candidate. Not the voters, not the rules, not Republicans who voted for a Libertarian, not me, not you. The candidate. Period. I’ve lost two races, and both losses are on me and on me alone. Any candidate who is not willing to accept responsibility for their losses doesn’t deserve to win in the first place. It’s too easy to blame everybody but yourself when you come up short, but that’s the biggest conceit in the world. Only egotists who can’t admit they’ve failed or they’re ever wrong have to blame others for their failures.
If Trump loses in November, it won’t be because some Republicans couldn’t bear to vote for a man who has thrown out everything we believe in and has shown no party loyalty when it hasn’t benefited him personally in the past, switching parties as often as a hipster switches hairstyles. It will be because he failed to do his primary job as a candidate – get more voters to vote for him than the other guy (or gal, in this case).
And when Corey Stewart loses next year in his quixotic effort to be elected Governor – after alienating almost everybody he will need to win the nomination – he will also have no one else to blame but himself.