“Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
“Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.”
― Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals
One of the big differences between the old guard of the Republican Party and the new breed of Trumpism conservatives, is the difference in tactics they are willing to use. Trump supporters such as myself have been watching the country gravitate left for some time, and have watched as “principled conservatives” ceded ground to the hard left over and over. We watched as the left used every dirty trick in the book to get any prominent conservative commentator fired. They attack advertisers of conservative commentators like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, much like the mass of pitchfork and torch wielding townspeople attacked Frankenstein’s monster. They demand, at the slightest hint of controversy, the firing every commentator or activist that opposes them. We watched as they stacked the courts with activist judges, clearly distorting rule of law in the pursuit of their progressive agenda, such as we see in the multitude of cases in the 9th circuit.
I remember when conservatives made fun of Barack Obama for being a “community organizer”. The idea that a community organizer was even a thing was laughable. Even now, after he was President for 8 years, stacked the courts, and moved this country ever closer to socialism, I still hear the occasional republican laugh at how we elected a community organizer to the Presidency. Even as they flood town halls and official’s offices with protestors, destroy advertising bases of their opposition, and organize to dominate local elections, Republicans scoff at the community organizer. Barack Obama got a lot done on the ground as a community organizer, and what he did is nothing compared to what modern progressives do. In the social media era, progressives are able to amplify MILLIONS at a time to pressure advertisers, elected officials, and companies in general. Not only that, they will actively dox Trump supporters, in an effort to get them fired. I’ve seen this mob rule play out on social media many times over.
The left for a very long time has been operating on a “no mercy” type of policy. They hold conservatives to the letter of the law, while conservatives tried to operate in good faith and let things slide on their side for decades. Even now, I find it astounding that republicans still don’t understand the scale of the fight they are in, and still cede ground that the left never would. This past week we had 3 examples:
1. Joy Reid’s homophobic comments.
2. Sam Seder’s Rape joke.
3. Jeff Flake donating to Doug Jones in Alabama.
The first two still have a job. That alone should tell you we are operating on an entirely different level. Can anyone say with a straight face that Sean Hannity would still have a job if he did either of those two things? The reality is, conservatives operate in good faith most of the time, unless something is really egregious, such as Kathy Griffin’s decapitation stunt. Here’s the reality: Joy Reid is one of the most effective progressive commentators in the world. I’ve watched her, and she is extremely tough. She is essentially the equivalent of Sean Hannity on the left. The right had an opportunity to destroy what amounts to a top general on the opposing side, and they let it slide. Not only did they let it slide, but a number of conservatives defended her. Same thing with Sam Seder. Sam isn’t as high profile as Joy Reid, but he was an easy out, and yet even people like Greg Gutfeld on Fox came to his aid, calling for him to be spared. Do you think for one minute that any Progressive would come to Hannity’s aid if he told a rape joke? Hannity even worked to defuse the advertiser boycott of Keurig that a leftist riot mob dropped on him. As you read this, there are leftists mass tweeting every single one of Hannity’s sponsors trying to shut him up.
Then we have perennial Trump hater Jeff Flake, who is donating to a democrat so he can virtue signal about how he puts the country ahead of party. You know what isn’t putting the country ahead? Electing a socialist that will vote against every value you have. Flake is one of the types that you typically find on the left, an altruism junkie who needs a hit of dopamine from virtue signaling every two minutes about how great of a person he is, and how his conservative principles are unshakable, yet he’s willing to put a pro-abortion, anti 1A and 2A liberal in a Senate seat. That’s some set of values Jeff Flake has there. Mitt Romney did the same, coming out against Roy Moore. Mitt was totally silent on every single Democrat with ADMITTED harassment, but allegations against Moore were enough to get him to riled up.
The Art of War: MAGA Edition says thus:
If they want to play dirty, then get right in the gutter with them. If they ever display acts of good faith, match them. Until then, anything is permissible.
That’s the difference between Trumpism and regular conservatism. We learn from the master. Trump doesn’t tolerate people trying to get over on him, and he puts them on blast immediately. Over the weekend two Fake News stories came out, one on Trump email and another on crowd size. Both were disproven, and Trump went full steam after them. These are mistakes that Bush or any regular conservative would have let slide. But not Trump. He knows that the media perpetuating these false narratives to millions of people undermine his agenda, so he goes after them with no mercy. Until the left is willing to operate under good faith, I’d advise republicans do the same. I would personally prefer to operate in good faith and not try to get people fired over jokes, or some interpretation of something they wrote 3 years ago, or an accidental mis-reporting. I would prefer we operate in a civil manner, and elevate the level of discourse. This is about one thing: holding the left to the same standard they hold us to, and so far, the left has not only been unwilling, but has doubled down.
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Steve is the author of Forging the Iron Mind, and is the founder and CEO of Americana Prime.