Rest, but don’t sleep

January 8, 2021. by Bobby Lopez

Donald Trump’s most recent video, released two hours ago, makes clear that Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the next president and no legal or formal recognition of election fraud is likely coming in the near future.

Many of us have worked tirelessly to bring awareness about the election tampering, and also to fight through every possible means to resist it. It depended, though, on President Trump’s willingness to continue the fight. He is telling us to make peace with his inability to hold on to the presidency for a second term.

That does not mean, however, that our war is over. Here are some things to keep in mind.

1. We know too much now.

The fight over the election made for an epic two months. Between November 3 and January 7, we discovered the full extent of government corruption. We realized, for example, that the Republicans’ insistence that we had to elect them to public office because of “the courts, the courts, the courts” amounted to little more than a scam. The public had access to enormous amounts of evidence, but not a single federal court would agree to hear cases in the fullest sense about the election fraud. The legal reasoning behind their stonewalling rested on weak grounds, mostly procedural technicalities such as standing or timing. If the court system has become so discombobulated that even on a matter of fundamental constitutional significance, error and evasion blotted out justice, then we know now, beyond a “shadow of a doubt” that the courts will not hand down the gems we’ve been promised. Roe, Obergefell, and countless other bad precedents will likely go unchallenged.

The courts were just one small part of our rude awakening. We discovered how broadly the Republican Party is compromised as we saw respected people like Cotton and Paul cave, most likely because of their behind-the-scenes obligations to free-market donors who hate Trump’s trade policies. Then we suffered through speeches from people who we knew were bad, like McConnell and Pence, but who were far worse than we could have imagined.

We know now that liberals and Democrats are unsalvageable. If we held out any hopes that there might be some common ground, some principled bridge connecting us to them, those hopes are gone now.

We learned, in the last two months, how alone and frail we are as principled conservatives, and how much of our republic has already been lost to us.

Even if we wanted to go back to business as usual and carry on, we can’t. We can’t do a data wipe.

2. The left will be coming after us with a vengeance

The left will now be in total control of the government. This will force them into a serious crisis very soon because they will be responsible for many decisions that we know they can’t make in good faith. Their promises to constituents about reparations for black people, college debt forgiveness, and the Equality Act will be disastrously unpopular and much of it won’t even get passed. A civil war will break out between the party’s far-left and liberal wings that will cripple many of their programs.

As the deterioration of the Democratic position ensues, they will fall back on their usual tactic, which is demonizing and blaming us. The worse their own mishaps backfire on them, the more they will try to busy their followers’ minds with paranoia about us Trumpists plotting some grand terrorist takeover of the country. So to feed the distraction mill, they will have to scapegoat us and come up with one witch hunt after another.

With Trump gone, the Democrats won’t have him as an easy straw man anymore, so they will have to come after his supporters one by one. They will seek to isolate and destroy us for sport. It’s something they have to do. Without this distraction they would have to talk to their constituents about all the promises they can’t keep.

So there’s zero chance that we can pull back on politics with Trump gone. The battle is going to intensify and we won’t have him to rally around.

3. We have a lot of work to do, which has little to do with Trump

Trump brought a lot of us together because he was a battering ram. He promised to build a wall at the Mexican border, but internally he brought down many walls such as those that protected the Republican Party’s inner circles from the scrutiny of their constituents. For that we will always remember Trump fondly.

But having Trump as a champion also forced us to defend a lot of Trump’s associates and that made life awkward. I didn’t like Betsy DeVos’s policies. I don’t care for Charlie Kirk’s approach to higher education. A bevy of flamboyantly pro-gay activists came to surround Trump and smoked out social conservatives, beginning with Milo and continuing all the way with Rick Grenell, Brandon Straka, Ricky Rebel, Lady Maga, and eventually now Scott Pressler. For a long time I’ve waited to see if any LGBT conservatives might materialize, who could work with us on conservative issues without forcing their sex life onto our discourse, but I still find that when many gay conservatives congregate in a room, social conservatives are slowly but surely asked to leave and never welcomed back.

Then, too, Trump surrounded himself with a crop of megachurch pastors and evangelical leaders who kept him focused on a corporate understanding of “religious liberty.” Drawing staff from places like Heritage, Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Southern Baptist Convention, Trump brought much of the church corruption that has poisoned evangelical life into his orbit, probably without realizing it. His executive order on religious liberty in higher education was poorly conceived; it simply gave more leeway and cover to Christian educational institutions to hire, fire, and abuse students and employees while using the first amendment as a cover. Nothing substantial was done to protect Christian teachers or students in secular schools from persecution by the left. All of this was bad. As much as it felt good to have a president defend Christian values, the Trump years seem to have set us backward in many ways.

On education, I still consider the Trump administration a disaster. Betsy DeVos did not have the background to be secretary of education and her right-wing thinktank approach led to stale recipes for education reform: the usual vouchers, school choice, and homeschooling, but total refusal to intervene in the affairs of schools. The trans and gay agenda grew roots down into kindergarten and nursery school. Critical race theory spread faster under Trump than it did before. Conservative professors were purged at a faster rate under Trump than under Obama (it was under Trump that I finally lost my foothold in academia). Trump’s answer to cancel culture was to appoint a 1776 commission on patriotic education; this commission included Charlie Kirk, who is in no way an academic. Having done nothing to protect conservative faculty in a meaningful way, Trump will accomplish almost nothing with a 1776 commission, since it will issue advice about teaching that the liberal-dominated profession will swiftly ignore.

Trump gave us a movement, and we owe him gratitude for that. But there is so much we can and must do as a movement, freed from the burden of having to defend Trump all the time. All that defensive maneuvering to protect Trump did force us to compromise on many issues. It also made it harder for us to do work on the cultural rot, which we must do.

4. We have to build a movement to get back into politics

The Democrats are untouchable and the Republicans are rotten. We will need to build a massive new movement almost from scratch, using the Trump base as a starting infrastructure. If we are going to save the republic, we will have to get our people back into government. That means starting new parties and also taking the Republican Party back–an “all of the above” multipronged approach. A lot of work lies ahead for us. We have to build platforms to give voices to the many conservative activists we don’t hear from. Some of us will be working within the Republican Party to campaign for new people and to primary out the bad apples. Others of us will be in dream-making mode on the third party circuit. All of it matters. All of it requires time and effort. So we can’t go to sleep.

5. We have to rebuild networks of trust

As the clock struck midnight on January 7, 2021, our bonds and ties to other conservatives have been frayed and torn apart. Many conservative celebrities whom we spent years defending and supporting turned out to be self-interested scammers or outright traitors. A lot of activists we thought we could trust showed us that trusting them was foolish. And we have spent a year on lockdown limited in our efforts at getting to know new people whom we might trust.

Without networks of trust we have nothing. And it takes a lot of work to build those networks back up. We have to organize local events and meet face to face. We have to talk and figure out who shares our core tenets. We have to see who is able to deliver for us. And then when we find trustworthy people, we have to go out into battle together.

We need a lot of rest now. But we can’t sleep. We must carry on.