I follow MMFA media critic and trans activist Parker Molloy on twitter. She’s witty and often makes great points. And while she’s clearly on the left side of the left, she wasn’t in the tank for any candidate (well, until Warren dropped out and left her with only one option, I suppose).
And she writes many good takes.
Her argument: that NeverTrump conservatives should not get a say in Democratic politics. That, with their long track record of backing Republican causes in the hazy, distant days Before Trump, they should just STFU and GTFO — partly because they’ll just find an excuse for voting for Trump anyway.
“If there’s one thing Trump’s improbable victory in 2016 should have made clear,” Molloy writes, “it’s that these [NeverTrumpers] are not particularly relevant voices in the modern political era, and yet media outlets haven’t recognized this fact and acted accordingly. If anything, it seems as though conservative Trump critics are being promoted more aggressively than ever…”
“But in the end, the same conservatives pleading for Democrats to move to the right won’t actually follow through on voting for them — as exemplified by The View co-host Meghan McCain when she said, “I’m a Republican. I’m going to end up voting for Republicans” during a 2018 episode.”
First of all, Meghan McCain cannot be taken as an example of what we generally mean by the term “NeverTrump.” Her beefs with the president are 100% personal, as she reminds her viewers endlessly, due to his feud with her late father. It is 0% political. She’s married to one of the ethics-free founders of The Federalist, for God’s sake. Anyone who would share a bed with one of the worst people in conservative media (and that is, shall we say, one high bar to clear) cannot be counted in the same circle as Rick Wilson, Charlie Sykes, or Tom Nichols.
Because the latter guys haven’t stopped repeating themselves that they are voting for the Democrat in November. That is now the litmus test for the NeverTrump brand: are you actively supporting Biden, or are you just staying home and muttering “a pox on both their houses”? (The latter conservatives, who hate Biden and Trump equally, are more accurately called “Trump skeptics” than NT.)
The reality is that Wilson and friends are better thought of as conservative Democrats, at least while Trump remains in power. They’ve been pulling for Biden because he’s long been the choice of many or most conservative Democrats, especially older African Americans. Yes, they are opposed to Medicare for All (unlike myself, full disclosure) but then again, so is Joe Biden. Why the hell wouldn’t any conservative Democrat be pulling for Biden?
NeverTrumpers tweet and write endless paeans to Joe Biden. True, their praise of Obama’s VP would have been unthinkable eight years ago. So would’ve their agitation against Trumpist elected officials — that is to say, all GOP House and Senate members with the exception of Mitt Romney. But the world sure has moved on, hasn’t it?
If you still stubbornly insist that the NeverTrumpers are putting up some kind of act, this is saying more about your cynicism than theirs.
I agree with Molloy that NeverTrump has absolutely zero relevance in today’s Republican Party, which is now a Maoist cult of personality. But it was because their personal morality made it impossible to continue to associate with one of the most morally corrupt major movements, and presidents, in American history. Say what you will about their MSNBC appearances, but they would’ve made far more money with FoxNews, especially as they could write paint-by-the-numbers pro-Trump blowjob books guaranteed to be promoted up the bestseller lists by the most important Twitter account on the planet. Just spitballing here, but shouldn’t progressives be *encouraging* defectors from decadence, instead of declaring them forever unclean?
Now, as for that bit of minor health news occasionally earning mention on TV…
I feel like the media is both overselling and underselling Charlie One-Niner. Overselling, in treating this coronavirus like a dread reaper, cutting down people in their prime like the Spanish Flu before it, where we’re one day away from the movie Contagion and three days away from The Stand. Underselling, in that they are not giving enough coverage to what it actually is: a dread reaper — of the elderly. Either 100%, or close to it, of the fatalities in America and Italy are over 60, for instance. (edit 3/17/20: this is no longer the case, as middle-aged people with other comorbidities make up a minority of fatalities)
“Well, fuck them olds,” some people think.
Which is fine if you have no grandparents, or elderly parents, or aunts, or uncles, or friends, or if you yourself plan on never aging past 60. Or if your preferred presidential candidate isn’t well to the north of 70 because, oh man, it sure would be nerve-wracking if the president and his two remaining challengers all qualified as at high-risk for being escorted off this earthly plane by our friend from Wuhan.
Modern society has long made invisible people who qualify for Medicare. They no longer work, so they no longer matter. They get shunted off to retirement communities to remain thankfully out of view. This is long-standing: decades before “ok, Boomer,” there were jokes about The Olds forever having a blinking 00:00 showing on their VCRs. And while the Boomers are indeed America’s Worst Generation, this bias both precedes them and, we can safely bet, will succeed them.
Which is my way of acknowledging my fear that someday, my thoughts will be met with an eyeroll and “post it on Instagram, grandpa” or “lol want an avocado with that?”. Even Zoomers should keep this in the back of their head. Even if we’re headed to environmental catastrophe, human extinction won’t happen before current college freshmen have become the worst thing ever: old.
What if our taunting of Boomers will someday come back to bite us in the ass? Perhaps this virus will eventually shock us into remembering that people with hair growing out of their ears are still actually people too. We shouldn’t taunt people for being aged, out of touch, or too in touch with obsolete tech or bands because, guess what: Cage the Elephant will someday run a reunion tour with tickets starting at $300 and our grandkids will be laughing their asses at us for actually going.