Chris Christie and the Death of the Never Trump Republican

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ASPartOfMe
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27 Nov 2021, 11:04 am

New York Magazine

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“Never Trump” was a label embraced by a handful of Republicans who deemed Donald Trump disqualified for office by some combination of his ignorance, his mendacity, his bigotry, and/or his authoritarianism. Almost no one still affiliated with the party or the conservative movement willingly uses the label any more. The label has largely been repurposed by Trump himself as an epithet against any Republican who dares utter criticism of him, however mild.

In place of Never Trumpism, the Biden-era Republican party offers up figures like Chris Christie. Christie has put himself forward as the face of Republican resistance to Trump. But it is a form of “resistance” so tepid as to become almost indistinguishable from support

Christie grabbed headlines by declaring he might run for president, and — unlike other contenders, who have implicitly or explicitly conditioned their candidacies on Mr. Trump not running — he announced he wouldn’t wait for Trump’s permission. Christie has lambasted Trump for continuing to claim he legitimately won the 2020 election. But he has restricted his criticism to the exceedingly narrow ground that voters are simply tired of hearing about the past

This is the perfect distillation of Establishment Republican thinking on this issue. They don’t want to dispute Trump’s election lies; they just want to drop the question. Trump, of course, has no intention of dropping the argument, which is why he’s winning it: He is making a case that Biden stole the election, and hardly anybody in his party is willing to contradict him.

In an interview last night with Laura Ingraham, who spoke at Trump’s 2020 nominating convention, Christie assured the Fox News audience that he had no disagreement in principle with the party’s leader. He agreed that Democrats cheated in 2020 — “We know what happened in 2020, in instances where the voting laws were changed improperly” — and heartily endorsed state-level voting restrictions as an appropriate, forward-looking response.

Prodded further by Ingraham, he conceded that his disagreements with Trump were limited to matters of style and personality and that he fully supported Trump’s substantive positions.

Trump’s supporters see the party as riven along the same lines: not left versus right, but weak versus strong.

The “weak-sauce conservatism” of Goldberg and Hayes is extremely conservative. What makes it weak is its unwillingness to undermine the voting process through chaos and violence.

Supporting Trump is fundamentally a choice between being willing to abide the rules of the democratic game and doing whatever it takes to gain power. Christie is trying to elide the choice. But in so doing, he is revealing the same weakness of character that Trump used to discredit the Republican alternatives. When the choice comes again between democracy and power, they will choose power.


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Dox47
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27 Nov 2021, 7:51 pm

That's cute that Christie still thinks anyone wants him to run.


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Tim_Tex
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27 Nov 2021, 9:10 pm

In other words, the GOP is permanently Trumpist?


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MuddRM
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27 Nov 2021, 9:26 pm

George H.W. Bush spoke of a “compassionate conservatism.” Sadly, I’ve never seen any kind of compassion coming from either the Democratic or Republican party. As far as I’m concerned, both parties are cut from the same cloth: that of the Roman centurions.



Tim_Tex
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27 Nov 2021, 11:29 pm

MuddRM wrote:
George H.W. Bush spoke of a “compassionate conservatism.” Sadly, I’ve never seen any kind of compassion coming from either the Democratic or Republican party. As far as I’m concerned, both parties are cut from the same cloth: that of the Roman centurions.


At least the Bush-era GOP was respectable. Looking back, had they won their respective elections, McCain and Romney would have been ok.


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Mona Pereth
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28 Nov 2021, 7:05 am

As far as I can tell, most of the more moderate, respectable Republicans have either retired from politics altogether or left the Republican party. One group of former Republican consultants created the Lincoln project.


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