The malignant tumor generally known as Donald Trump may have been excised before it could fully metastasize, but Trump was not, of course, the only cancerous cell in our ailing body politic. Neither was he the cause of the disease; he was simply its most glaringly obvious symptom. The other malodorous, noxious cells are alive and all too well. Unlike the ex-president, they are still all around us, multiplying and spreading as they surely and not-so-gradually go about their business of destroying the body they inhabit. Make no mistake: those cells must be investigated and isolated in order for the healing process to begin before the offending organisms are allowed to fulfill their singularly horrific goal.
Isolation is, indeed, the first step; and the physicians-in-charge must be organized, dedicated, and led by those who know the disease best. I’m speaking to you, Steve Schmidt, and you, Rick Wilson, and you, Nicole Wallace, Mona Charen, Mitt Romney, Adam Kinzinger, Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol, Charlie Sykes, Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake, Lisa Murkowski, George Conway, and all the rest of you conservatives who clearly have seen the danger of the Donald and told the truth about what he was and is. I’m also speaking to those of you who know he is at heart a fascist but have continued supporting him or stood complicit in his irrational behaviors because you “liked his policies.” And I’m also speaking to you seventy-four million Americans who voted for him while holding your respective noses because you had been convinced of the alleged evils of socialism and had bought into the lie that all liberals are socialists and communists — you’ve been seized and sickened by the network of lies and propaganda spawned by the hypocrisy of pandering, crazed, selfish, power-hungry, extremist media figures and politicians.
It’s time — long past time — for you to openly, publicly, and courageously stand up for the truth in a way that really matters — matters more than anti-Trump and anti-Trumpist ads and TV appearances, welcome though they are: Form a new American party — the Conservative Party. Leave the Republican miasma of hate and hypocrisy once and for all. Leave them isolated and mortally wounded. Leave them to stew in their own toxic juices. There is no law, no rule that holds that the American political system must be comprised of two warring political parties plus a bunch of ephemeral, ineffectual rag-tag parties whose primary raison d’etre is to act as thorns in the sides of one of the two “real” ones, the only ones that really matter.
I have no words to adequately express my anger when I hear or read the words of extremist commentators and political figures who rail against Democrats, the media, and centrist Republicans. Those extremists say the anti-Trumpist people and institutions are “at war against conservatives.” In fact they ARE at war — against fascism, Naziism, racism, anti-semitism, ultra-nationalistic populism, voter suppression, conspiracy proponents, authoritarianism admirers, Putin stooges, and those whose goal is to destroy the American government and the democratic republican system from the inside-out. Hello, Steve Bannon, self-proclaimed American Leninist.
On behalf of the American people — liberals and conservatives alike — who love the idea of the America we thought we knew, the America we pretended to be, the very best of the noble “American Experiment,” I am asking — pleading, I suppose — that you form a brand new conservative entity, a party of true, principled conservatism. Use your influence, your power, your money, your fund-raising capability, your logic, your intelligence, and your honesty to build a new institution that can compete on equal terms with the Democratic Party and what will be left of the Republican Party after you denounce, renounce, and abandon it. Of course, it will take time to build your brand and your strength. But think of the vast benefits you will provide to the conservative movement and its ideals — and to your country. YOU can leave the Republican hypocrites and the phony patriots cowering in the corner, their only company the very dregs of society — the people who accept, believe, and defend “the big lie” and all the other lies that have become the very foundation of the Republican party.
Mr. Schmidt and friends, those of you who have renounced the party you once worked so hard to build — but have recently declared yourselves Democrats — I admire you, of course. But rather than squeezing your life-long political beliefs into a party structure that does not share many of them, I urge you to be the pioneers of a new movement. Build a party that advances your real and profound desire to create a limited but fair and just government that encourages the ideal of individual responsibility, the huge benefits of solid relationships with trusted allies, and the power of a capitalist economic system that recognizes injustices and works for the betterment of all Americans, a party that hears and is willing to debate the ideas and ideals of the other side while avoiding at all costs the temptation to demonize those ideas and their proponents. I, for one, would disagree with many of your political and economic theories and practices. But I do and would respect them.
We know, meanwhile, that there are still healthy cells inhabiting our deteriorating body politic, and we await, with near-desperation, your potentially life — and democracy — saving operation. So we beg you: do what you must to begin the healing process for this ailing body. You need to act — because to wait is to be too late.
Please, ladies and gentlemen: Get this party started.
Jack Kramer is a semi-retired musician, retired English teacher, book reviewer, and active proponent of good troublemaking.