It’s getting cozy over there…
Ken Vogel at The New York Times has revealed that #NeverTrump Republicans and Democrat operatives have sided with each other as a way to “neutralize” President Donald Trump. Vogel wrote:
In the past year, however, influential liberal donors and operatives have gone from cheering these so-called Never Trump Republicans to quietly working with — and even funding — them. Through invitation-only emails and private, off-the-record meetings, they have formed a loose network of cross-partisan alliances aimed at helping neutralize President Trump, and preventing others from capitalizing on weaknesses in the political system that they say he has exploited.
While this network has mostly eschewed electoral politics, some involved see the potential for it to help form an ideological — and possibly financial — platform to back candidates, including a centrist challenge to Mr. Trump in 2020, possibly from within the G.O.P. or even a third party.
The network — composed of overlapping groups led by Democrats such as the donor Rachel Pritzker and several veteran Obama administration operatives, as well as leading Never Trump Republicans like Evan McMullin, Mindy Finn and William Kristol — aims to chart a middle path between a Republican base falling in line behind Mr. Trump and a liberal resistance trying to pull the Democratic Party left.
Jerry Taylor, president of the moderate think-tank Niskanen Center and a Republican, said that if any Republican has concerns about Trump “there’s no reason you shouldn’t be willing to work with a Democrat who is equally concerned about these same matters.”
The Niskanen Center has meetings attended by the well-known #NeverTrump Republicans along with some Democrats like Ian Bassin, a lawyer who worked in Obama’s White House. Bassin founded Protect Democracy, a watchdog group, and “has sued the Trump administration and that has brought on staff members and advisers — including Mr. Taylor — from conservative or Republican backgrounds.”
Former Oklahoma Republican Rep. Mickey Edwards also attends the meetings and has joined those “cross-partisan coalitions” against Trump, “including working with the former Obama administration lawyers Neal Katyal and Joshua Geltzer to file a legal brief in March in a court case opposing Mr. Trump’s proposed restrictions on travel from predominantly Muslim countries.”
These donors and operatives from both sides have a group called Patriots and Pragmatists and they believe they’ll have their largest meeting in San Francisco soon:
The discussions at Patriots and Pragmatists meetings are intended to focus on big picture topics related to democracy, rather than elections or political funding. Nonetheless, some see the coalition as having the potential to bring the same kind of financial firepower to an anti-Trump centrist movement as the Democracy Alliance brought to the left. Its efforts were described by a dozen people familiar with the group, who spoke anonymously to describe private discussions.
The group has held three two-day gatherings outside San Francisco, New York and Washington, to which Ms. Pritzker and her political adviser invited 20 to 40 people per meeting. Gatherings have drawn influential Democratic operatives like Mr. Bassin and the Democracy Alliance founder Rob Stein. They have also attracted big-name Republican and conservative thinkers, writers and operatives including Mr. Taylor, the legal analyst Benjamin Wittes and the foreign policy hawks Mona Charen, David Frum, Robert Kagan, Mr. Kristol and Jennifer Rubin. Also attending were Mr. McMullin, who ran a long-shot independent conservative presidential campaign against Mr. Trump in 2016, and his running mate, Ms. Finn.
Big time donor William Budinger has gone over to Patriots and Pragmatists. He once sat on the board of Democracy Alliance “and representatives of deep-pocketed grant-writing foundations like Pierre Omidyar’s Democracy Fund and Democracy Fund Voice, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Madison Initiative.”
Plus, groups founded by McMullin and Finn like Stand Up Republic and Stand Up Ideas “have received a total of as much as $1.3 million from the Democracy Fund groups and the Madison Initiative.” Protect Democracy and Protect Democracy Project (founded by Bassin) also received money up to $500K “from those grant-writing foundations.”
Here’s the thing. WHAT ON EARTH could these people have in common other than their hatred for Trump? Does it bother anyone that these supposed conservatives, who should hold ideas of limited government and fiscal responsibility, have sided with Democrats? You know, the party that booed God, has no problem with murdering unborn human beings, and wants the government involved in every detail of our life?
I don’t know how Democrats could stand the idea of their folk teaming up with Republicans either.
Yet, we shouldn’t brush them aside, especially Kristol and Rubin. They have loud and well-known voices. We also know that third-party runs can hamper an election. Ross Perot did it in 1992 and the Democrats claim that Ralph Nader swayed the election to Bush in 2000 and 2004.
Kristol told an audience at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics that “it would be important to have” a Republican primary challenger against Trump in 2020 “just to force the debate.” From CBS News:
Speaking to an audience at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics “Politics and Eggs” series – which is a must stop for potential presidential contenders – Kristol told the crowd Trump’s “a little more vulnerable that people think.”
Highlighting a new national poll by Morning Consult that suggested that 38 percent of Republicans would welcome a primary challenge to Trump in 2020, Kristol said it’s possible for GOP voters to say they approve of the president but “also maybe like to have a choice in 2020 that’s different from Trump.”
“Maybe we sort of pocket our gains in 2020 so to speak, and try to find somebody younger who can bring the country together and the country together,” he suggested.
Then again, Kristol said that former Ohio Governor John Kasich is “the most obvious candidate” since he did well in New Hampshire in 2016. He also brought up Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
Earlier this month, Cheri Jacobs, a Republican, penned an op-ed at USA Today to encourage the Democrat Party to capitalize on the Never Trumpers and move the party to the center.
Overall, though, these people either forget or don’t care why Trump won in 2016. At The Washington Examiner, Philip Klein wrote that “the problems are much deeper than Trump, and speak to the intellectual rot within the Republican Party.” The GOP controls the House and Senate (granted, only by one seat in the upper chamber), but that means a repeal of Obamacare should get to Trump’s desk and he would sign it. Klein also points out that the GOP lawmakers “have only shown a willingness to cut spending and tackle entitlements when a Democrat is president.” I’d add also when the Democrats control either one or both chambers of Congress.
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