Home/Rod Dreher/The Blessing Of Boris, The Curse Of Trump

The Blessing Of Boris, The Curse Of Trump

The Labour Party has never lost an election in the constituency of Hartlepool since its creation in 1974. But it got walloped this week in a by-election that saw the Tories take the seat.

The socialist political analyst Alexei Arora has a long, powerful analysis of what happened to Labour. Key part:

The Labour Party is no longer the party of the working-class. It must first accept this fact before it charts out a path forward. Currently, Labour’s voter base consists of socially liberal, college-educated and professional-class urban voters who hate their country. They consider themselves global citizens rather than British citizens; their cultural policies are at odds with lower and middle-class Brits, and their economic policies assert their class dominance while at best throwing crumbs at workers.


The picture is actually much more simple than what people might want you to think: you cannot win the votes of the working-class, or the British people, if you vocally despise both. This would mean acknowledging that New Labour must die for good, and that Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn, and Keir Starmer are its outdated offshoots. The material conditions for that sort of politics is dead, and a new post-neoliberal consensus is needed.

Blue Labour —a Labour party pressure group which is culturally conservative and economically socialist— has a chance of making significant inroads into the party, should it choose to. Currently its institutional support is weak, and it only has one Lord (Maurice Glasman) who supports this vision.

Look at those Pew numbers. They indicate that the Democratic Party’s voter base consists of socially liberal, college-educated and professional-class urban voters who hate their country. Not sure where working class black and Hispanic voters fit, but maybe they are the 16 percent of American leftists who are proud of their country. Them and James Carville.

I’m telling you, from here on the banks of the Danube, the pathological hatred that the ruling class of America now — Democrats in Washington, the media, the financial and corporate sector, academia, and so forth — have of America and Americans who don’t share their ideological pathology is breathtaking to see. “America is dismantling itself,” a retired Hungarian bishop said to me yesterday, and boy, is this ever true. This is a tremendous opportunity for the Republicans.

But unlike the Tories in Britain, the Republican Party cannot rid itself of the Trump craziness. A very conservative reader who was not a Never Trumper is deeply frustrated over the way the Trump cult is vexing the party at a time when it needs to get itself together. He writes to me:

The current push to expel Liz Cheney, not for her merits or lack thereof, but because she criticized the Dear Leader’s cult of personality and its foundation myth that he was robbed via a mass election fraud is exactly why the Trump cult isn’t good for anything more than performative antics.
Say the GOP retakes Congress next year, what is the plan? Impeach Biden and Harris so they can reinstate Trump? Where does the cult end? Additionally the longer the right has to give aid and comfort to this delusion, the more it gives aid, comfort, and justification to the left’s censorship culture under the guise of fighting “disinformation”.
This isn’t a substantive defense of Liz Cheney, just noting that all her flaws were just fine for everyone and never caused any substantive reason to go after her until she crossed the Dear Leader, then she became an enemy. People can pretend it is a substantive rejection of her neocon politics (of which there are many equally substantive critiques) but the truth is that everyone who is calling for her head now would be fine with her had she not challenged Trump’s claims on the election.
There is no way the right can move forward until it admits that it lost 2020 and that projecting a massive conspiracy across multiple states that Trump was apparently asleep at the switch to stop is something that requires actual evidence rather than just assertions and anecdotal claims online.

I would just as soon the Republican Party never again hear from anyone named Cheney, given what Dick Cheney meant to the party and the country regarding Middle Eastern war. But this crusade against Liz Cheney is insane. Peggy Noonan writes:

The Republicans like to call themselves a big tent. Ms. Cheney is in that tent, a woman who isn’t in the boys club and yet has been respected by the boys. If they throw her out she looks like Churchill, and they look like little men with umbrellas. It will make the party look stupid and weak, as if it can’t tolerate dissent. Republicans like to call for diversity of thought on campuses. What about in the Republican Conference? Giving her the boot places Mr. Trump at the center of things, and is a gift to President Biden, taking all the heat off his programs and policies.

House Republicans keep repeating that Donald Trump won 74 million votes, more than any Republican presidential candidate ever. But Joe Biden won 81 million votes. There was historically high turnout in a divided country. The Democrat won by seven million votes. That’s not something for Republicans to brag about.

In a move the men who run the House GOP take to be sophisticated, they hope to replace Ms. Cheney with a woman, New York Rep. Elise Stefanik. It will haunt the rest of her career if she allows the boys to swap her for a woman who stood where she stands at a cost and for principle. A former member of Congress said this week: “When you’re replaying ‘All About Eve,’ you don’t want to play the part of Eve. You want to be Bette Davis. ” You don’t want to be the conniving understudy who takes out the star. Whoever replaces Ms. Cheney will be elevated by a conference that booted a woman for telling the truth but has expressed little criticism for, say, Rep. Matt Gaetz, reportedly being investigated by federal agents to determine whether he had sex with a minor (he’s denied it). Odd, isn’t it?

More oddness: The truth in this case isn’t really at issue. Ms. Cheney’s colleagues are ejecting her not because they think she’s wrong on the facts. They know she is right. They know Mr. Trump lost the election and Mr. Biden won. Most of them know it’s not good if embittered generations of voters turn on the system and come to feel no fidelity to democratic outcomes.

They just don’t want her to say it. They don’t want to antagonize constituents who believe the election was stolen. They think Ms. Cheney is doing so, pointlessly. They think the way out is to be quiet and hope the fever passes. Here is a fact of our current political life: The fever never passes. It has to be treated. By not pushing back they create more crazy.

And it’s not an argument about policy. Ms. Cheney supported Mr. Trump on policy issues, in many cases more often than her opponents did. In any case, Trump supporters aren’t all about policy. They want to close the border to illegal immigration; their inflection is populist and nationalist, but mostly they believe in standard Republican things, such as that taxes and spending should be lower.

Get this: Elise Stefanik actually voted for Donald Trump far less than Liz Cheney did! The difference is that Liz Cheney stood up to Trump. If the House GOP boots her over this, it will show them to be pathetic, and in poor condition to do battle against the Democrats. What a gift Trump is to the Left. It’s infuriating. It’s all about loyalty to the personality cult, not about actually changing America for the better, or even figuring out the best way to protect us from the woke elites. In other words, I don’t care on bit about the career of Liz Cheney, who is not the future of the GOP, but I do care very much about having a sane, competent, and effective conservative party. Canning Liz Cheney would be a sign of intellectual corruption and moral weakness. As long as Trump remains a power within the party, no independent American conservative can rise and take the party in his or her own direction. Unless he or she is a very gifted politician indeed.

UPDATE: A reader writes:

I think the key thing is that Boris, for all of his many faults, does not maintain a personality cult. The apparent insistence in Trumpland that everyone endorse the 2020 election conspiracy claims is utter madness that actively enables the woke left’s consolidation efforts. It is January 6 all over again
As far as the inevitable whataboutism from Democratic skeptics of the 2000 and 2016 results, the left was never dumb enough to make that into an absolute litmus test. In any case Cheney is gone and you now have someone more liberal in a position of leadership with the only distinction being Stefanik accepts Fuhrerprinzip with respect to Trump.
All of this is mainly performative now, but it starts becoming more serious if the GOP retakes the House. They all know that Stop The Steal was a racket, otherwise they would relish a court fight with Dominion et al to call them out and expose them. What has actually happened is every time Trumpland has been asked to provide evidence of fraud, they have balked and balked hard.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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