Huckabee to #NeverTrumpers: "When voters make a decision, you suck it up and accept it"

Is that right? If Trump, in his majestic wisdom, decides he needs to tack left for the general election and accordingly declares that he’ll do his best to protect Roe v. Wade, would stalwart pro-lifer Mike Huckabee feel obliged to support him anyway? Republican voters made their choice. Suck it up and accept it.

The first few minutes of this clip are as dumb as populist panders get. If you’re trying to bludgeon righties into supporting Trump, stick with Gingrich’s line of attack and insist that nothing could be worse than a Hillary Clinton presidency. It’s a choice between the lesser of two evils and Trump is the lesser one. Many #NeverTrumpers wouldn’t agree but most Republicans will. Instead, Huckabee seems to argue that you, the individual Republican voter, are duty bound to support the party’s nominee even if you have a conscientious objection to him, which is stupid under any circumstances but stupid and bizarre coming from one of America’s most ostentatious moralists. He actually utters these words at one point about Erick Erickson’s meeting today with other conservative activists about organizing an anti-Trump effort:

The message that is coming across is “The voters are stupid so we’ll figure out a way to make the decision for you. We don’t trust you.”

That’s Huckabee to the core, grasping to find an insult even when none is intended. The point of Erickson’s effort isn’t to say “you’re stupid,” it’s to say “this is wrong and I can’t go along with it.” It’s not “we’re going to make the decision for you,” it’s “we’re going to do what our own consciences tell us.” The irony is that, for all of Huckabee’s heavy breathing about dissenters starting a third party or trying to blow up the GOP, Erickson’s group ended up not recommending either of those options. Their preferred strategy is to unite the party behind Cruz and stop Trump by beating him in the rest of the primaries. That’s another element of stupidity here — the voters haven’t actually made their decision yet. Why does Erickson need to suck it up instead of agitating to change the trajectory of the race, as any individual voter could and would do if he didn’t like how the outcome was shaping up? To put it another way, how is it Erickson rather than Huckabee who’s being presumptuous and authoritarian? Erickson’s reserving his right not to vote for a man with whom he disagrees, whatever his party might say. Huckabee’s response is that everyone should shut their fat mouths and fall in line, with two and a half months of primaries still to come. All this because this guy’s infinite butthurt at having been rejected by evangelical leaders in favor of Ted Cruz will never, ever abate.

One more thing, as a personal favor. Can we come up with some spin that’s slightly more creative — and credible — than the idea floated by Huckabee here that Trump is somehow going to lay waste to the consultant class? Rush tried that today too in a different context and it’s even lamer here. Try to understand this: Trump isn’t going to do anything to the consultant class institutionally. Trump himself has little need for consultants because he’s a singular cultural personality. He can demand airtime on major cable news networks whenever he likes; he’s built an image for himself as the ultimate authentic truth-teller that persists despite him lying in a hundred different ways. When you can reach millions of voters at a moment’s whim and are invulnerable to conventional political attacks, then yeah, it’s true that you have much less need for consultants than the average politician does. The problem for Trumpists is that Trump’s success isn’t replicable. Chris Christie isn’t going to win the presidency in 2024 by answering every question with, “Trust me, I’ll have the best people.” And now that Trump has patented this shtick, it’ll increasingly sound like a pathetic knockoff coming from any less charismatic pol who attempts it in the future. Conventional politicians will continue to fill the ranks of nearly the entirety of state and federal government, which means consultants, as tone-deaf and venal as many are, will continue to be rolling in dough — even in a Trump administration. Don’t confuse Trump’s personal immunity to them with some looming systemic immunity. Trump is sui generis. If you want systemic change, you’re better off with the ideologue Cruz.

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David Strom 6:31 PM on October 05, 2022