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Attacking each other over every tiny detail is tearing MAGA apart
By Rachel Alexander
The right, unlike the left, believes in individual choice instead of groupthink, so we don't fall into line and blindly coalesce around our leaders as easily. There is quite a bit of healthy debate first. However, lately this has risen to such a frenzy that no MAGA leader is good enough for a fringe minority within MAGA. They are exemplifying the rule, "I may agree with you on 99% of issues, but I will put all my focus on slamming you over the 1% we disagree on." And much of the time, the 1% is merely over process, not substantive disagreement on the merits of issues.
It's easy to sit back as an armchair warrior and post away on social media picking apart those who are putting themselves out in the fray and trying to make a change for the better. It takes very little effort to sit at home and criticize. When I was briefly sick last week, the only thing I could do was blast trolls on X since it was mindless and distracted me from feeling ill. I've long suspected the reason most people are rude in politics is because they're taking out their anger from personal problems in a way that society finds far more acceptable, pretending their anger is about politics instead.
Single tiny, possible flaws with candidates are now becoming magnified into "deal breakers." With this type of standard, almost no one would be eligible — except the critics' personal friends conveniently, who are almost always unelectable. They're usually completely unknown, and incapable for various reasons of acquiring enough name recognition or funding to win. But you can't ever reason with the detractors about this, because they'll turn around and gaslight, blaming others for not giving them enough support — as if it's other people's responsibilities, not the candidates.
The late William F. Buckley Jr. is known for "The Buckley Rule," which means to support the most conservative candidate who is electable. Similarly, Ronald Reagan said, "The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor." Even Reagan wouldn't make it around today's armchair critics due to his previous history as a Democrat, and signing a California bill legalizing abortion in 1967.
Another reason for the escalation in unfair criticism is information overload, so candidates are looking for every shortcut to attack their opponents. Highlight something the media will jump all over. Fringe candidates have mastered this.
So what are these criticisms that are often invalid? Here are a few, in addition to having a previous history as a Democrat or donating to Democrats: The candidate is too old; the candidate is too young and experienced — see how absurd that is? Obviously, in a rare few cases it is legitimate criticism, which makes it easier to abuse.
The candidate is associated with someone who is associated with a position on an issue that isn't perfect. The candidate said something once that didn't sound perfect — we saw how this was used against Donald Trump when he said there were "very fine people on both sides" at the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 where one person was killed. Obviously, Trump wasn't referring to the white nationalists who attended the rally, but those on the right who attended it who weren't racist.
One of the worst abuses I've seen is criticizing someone for merely preferring a different approach to tackling an issue — the method, not their political stance on an issue. It's the "my way or the highway" attitude. If a candidate doesn't agree with some loudmouthed, fringy armchair warrior's completely unrealistic plan for, say, combating election fraud, then they must be "controlled opposition," a "grifter" or a RINO.
The RINO accusation causes damaging confusion, because there are some real RINOs in the Republican Party who need to be ignored. No one wants to be seen as supporting an alleged RINO, so it's easier to pile on and agree with the fringy armchair warriors. Exacerbating the problem is the confusion it causes when someone starts attacking a real RINO with the bogus criticisms!
Much of this criticism comes from outsiders who haven't actually done any work in the trenches; they haven't served in office or worked for elected officials (other than as a precinct committeeman), so they are providing uninformed opinions. They don't understand key processes. For example, in Arizona, although the legislature is controlled by a Republican majority, under Republican Governor Doug Ducey it was a one-person majority in each chamber and both of those legislators were RINOs. They stopped a lot of good legislation from getting through, but the low-information armchair warriors blame all Republicans instead.
While it's true politics can always use a fresh set of eyes, there must be a balance between newcomers and those with experience. Otherwise the naive mistakes made by the newcomers will allow the Democrats and RINOs to sneak in.
We're seeing this play out in the presidential primary this year. No major Democratic candidate is running against Biden (Robert Kennedy Jr. is running as an independent and shunned by the Democratic establishment). Whereas Trump, who is sort of like an incumbent too, faced not just several major challengers but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, one of the most popular conservative Republicans with the base and likely to become president eventually.
We wasted millions of dollars on the primary making ourselves look bad, while the Democrats saved their money to beat us up in the general election. This wouldn't have happened if so many in the base hadn't turned against Trump over minor things like "mean tweets" and saying a few crude things about women.
These armchair critics never provide any real solutions; instead they propose wildly impossible, impractical recommendations off the top of their heads and push their fringy unknown friends as candidates. Anyone can tear others down, that's easy. What's really admirable are those who bring diverse conservatives together and get things accomplished.
Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative. She has been published in the American Spectator, Townhall.com, Fox News, NewsMax, Accuracy in Media, The Americano, ParcBench, Enter Stage Right and other publications.