In the comic book world, whenever a new supervillain arrives on the scene and no individual hero can defeat them, superheroes band together into a group to combine forces to overthrow their nemesis. Whether it is The Avengers or The Justice League of America, the heroes find strength in their joining together to beat a common enemy.
Today, four superheroes of the “Never Trump” Republican universe combined their talents to publicly publish their vow to dedicate their powers to “defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box.”
George Conway, Steve Schmidt, John Weaver, and Rick Wilson — all formidable critics of the president from within the traditional Republican establishment — jointly wrote an op-ed in The New York Times entitled “We Are Republicans, and We Want Trump Defeated,” that announced the establishment of the Lincoln Project, “an effort to highlight our country’s story and values, and its people’s sacrifices and obligations.”
Describing their project as transcending partisanship, the authors say that it is “dedicated to nothing less than preservation of the principles that so many have fought for, on battlefields far from home and within their own communities.” They lay out their motivations for initiating their efforts in their opening paragraph:
“Patriotism and the survival of our nation in the face of the crimes, corruption and corrosive nature of Donald Trump are a higher calling than mere politics. As Americans, we must stem the damage he and his followers are doing to the rule of law, the Constitution and the American character,” this dissident faction of the GOP begins.
While this team comprised of Republican strategists, a GOP media consultant, and a lawyer married to one of the president’s closest advisors wields relatively strong influence in the media through their Twitter followings and frequent cable news appearances, they know that they do not have the power to accomplish their goals alone, so they are calling on all citizens to join them in their fight for returning the nation to a course of justice and freedom.
“This effort asks all Americans of all places, creeds and ways of life to join in the seminal task of our generation: restoring to this nation leadership and governance that respects the rule of law, recognizes the dignity of all people and defends the Constitution and American values at home and abroad,” they write.
Realizing the difficulty of their task without enlisting people from both sides of the traditional political divide, Conway, Schmidt, Weaver, and Wilson reach out beyond their own ideological preferences to summon Democrats and independents to their cause.
“We have been, and remain, broadly conservative (or classically liberal) in our politics and outlooks. Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain, but our shared fidelity to the Constitution dictates a common effort,’ they explain.
Knowing that successfully defeating Trump in the 2020 election will depend on convincing a record number of disaffected voters to go the polls, even if it means losing a GOP majority in the Senate, the “Never Trump” compatriots explain why they are fighting so fiercely to persuade “enough disaffected conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in swing states and districts to help ensure a victory in the Electoral College, and congressional majorities that don’t enable or abet Mr. Trump’s violations of the Constitution.”
It is the group’s indictment of the president and his acquiescent Republican congressional supporters that ring loudly on The New York Times editorial page.
“The American presidency transcends the individuals who occupy the Oval Office. Their personality becomes part of our national character. Their actions become our actions, for which we all share responsibility. Their willingness to act in accordance with the law and our tradition dictate how current and future leaders will act. Their commitment to order, civility and decency are reflected in American society.”
“Mr. Trump fails to meet the bar for this commitment. He has neither the moral compass nor the temperament to serve. His vision is limited to what immediately faces him — the problems and risks he chronically brings upon himself and for which others, from countless contractors and companies to the American people, ultimately bear the heaviest burden,” the op-ed scathingly describes the president.
The band of angry Republicans demonstrated their contempt for the congressional legislators in their party who have abdicated their constitutional responsibilities to oversee and place a strong check on Trump’s executive branch misconduct with a blistering and highly unflattering portrayal of their behavior to date.
“Indeed, national Republicans have done far worse than simply march along to Mr. Trump’s beat. Their defense of him is imbued with an ugliness, a meanness and a willingness to attack and slander those who have shed blood for our country, who have dedicated their lives and careers to its defense and its security, and whose job is to preserve the nation’s status as a beacon of hope,” they write.
“Congressional Republicans have embraced and copied Mr. Trump’s cruelty and defended and even adopted his corruption. Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced it with Trumpism, an empty faith led by a bogus prophet. In a recent survey, a majority of Republican voters reported that they consider Mr. Trump a better president than Lincoln,” they continue.
“Mr. Trump and his fellow travelers daily undermine the proposition we as a people have a responsibility and an obligation to continually bend the arc of history toward justice. They mock our belief in America as something more meaningful than lines on a map,” they remind us of how the Trump facction in the GOP have perverted our values.
After a historical example from the Civil War of an earlier turning point in national cohesion, Conway, Schmidt, Weaver, and Wilson conclude their op-ed by invoking President Abraham Lincoln, the man who defined the Republican Party in its initial days, and whose legacy Trump has completely obliterated in the modern era.
“We look to Lincoln as our guide and inspiration. He understood the necessity of not just saving the Union, but also of knitting the nation back together spiritually as well as politically. But those wounds can be bound up only once the threat has been defeated. So, too, will our country have to knit itself back together after the scourge of Trumpism has been overcome,” they end their editorial by noting the long and difficult path ahead even once Trump is removed from office.
It’s somewhat reassuring to know that at least a small minority of the GOP has retained its values and sanity during the Trump presidency.
We can only hope that their combined conservative credentials can convince enough of their wayward political colleagues to join them in a strategic political retreat to save their party from the sure destruction that Trump will inevitably bring to both their party and the country that the prospect of a second term for this president becomes as unlikely as the plot of an Avengers movie.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.