The battle for the soul of the American right is over. What began in 2015 with Trump’s entry into the GOP Presidential primary, ended when he won the party nomination, and was solidified beyond all doubt when Trump miraculously won the Presidency in November 2016, is now officially over. The last vestiges of the “old right” and the “traditional conservatives” have been swept away:
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) December 14, 2018
National Review is still alive despite being the home of several “prominent” (as in: they still get attention from the Ministry of Truth) and unreadable NeverTrumpers like David French and Jonah Goldberg, but National Review at least publishes some great, honest voices like Victor Davis Hanson (the GOAT), Andy McCarthy and Conrad Black. Because of them, there’s still at least some legitimate reason for Republicans to read NR.
But Weekly Standard went full NeverTrump. In fact, they were so dogmatically NeverTrump that last year, they fired Lee Smith for daring to expose the truth behind Fusion GPS:
“There’s a lot of whining by NeverTrumpers that this is terrible because we need dissenting voices in media, and the closing of the Weekly Standard means that we must all “kneel” to one rich arrogant man’s ego.
Well, you know who might agree with that? Lee Smith, who was fired — purged — from The Weekly Standard last October immediately after having offered them an article exposing FusionGPS, the firm that Bill Kristol hired to try to take out Trump and Cruz, for those who like to forget that last name.
Lee Smith offered a rich (well, at least he lives richly off other people’s money) arrogant man whose ego cannot bear to hear any dissenting voices a story about the company he [Kristol] paid (or rather, used his donors’ money to pay) for dirt on Trump and Cruz, and was canned.”
Thankfully, Smith (who is fantastic and should be read and followed) was able to get that Fusion piece published at Tablet, and it was a major step along the road in pulling back the rug on the Deep State’s anti-Trump conspiracy now known as “Spygate.”
The Lee Smith firing made it clear that it wasn’t Lee Smith–and Donald Trump, whom Lee Smith was by definition defending in working to expose the truth behind the Steele Dossier–that was the problem. The problem was the Weekly Standard itself and its obsessive hatred of Donald Trump.
And now the Weekly Standard is done. The most incessant and obnoxious bastion of anti-Trumpism “on the right” is kaput.
Nobody did this to the Weekly Standard; they did this to themselves. Once it became clear that their relentless Trump hatred was not in good faith, the jig was up. The leftist billionaires keeping the publication alive, and the various three-lettered media organs of the Ministry of Truth continually putting Kristol and Hayes on TV to keep them relevant, realized there was no use for TWS anymore after it was revealed to be funded by leftwing billionaires.
I really do believe Julie Kelly’s story in American Greatness from last month exposing TWS’ funding by leftwing billionaire Pierre Omidyar (and likely George Soros, too) was the final nail in the coffin for the outlet. At that point, TWS could no longer claim it was acting in good faith and simply offering honest dissent from Trump.
Certainly most of TWS’ readership has been gone for a while given that by 2016 the overwhelming majority of Republicans were no longer buying the Anti-Trumpism TWS was selling, but leftwing billionaires and the Ministry of Truth found it to be in their interests to prop up TWS, so as to maintain the illusion that opposition from Trump was vast and wide, and even significant within the GOP itself.
What ultimately killed the Weekly Standard was its irrelevancy on the right and the fact that it was no longer useful to its leftwing billionaire funders and Minitrue propagandists.
Sure, Bill Kristol and Steve Hayes and the rest will continue ankle-biting Trump and virtue signaling for the approval of leftwing Blue Check Cool Kids on Twitter, but they’re totally irrelevant on the right. They’ve been irrelevant for a while, but this makes it official. They no longer have titles at a (formerly) prominent publication.
Now, they’re just unemployed angry dudes who hate Trump (and they certainly have plenty of company in that regard! 😂😂)
As far as the GOP Civil War of 2016 goes, what happened when Trump won was the vast majority of the Republican Party said, “This is what our party is now. It’s settled. Anyone who does not like it is free to leave.”
But the NeverTrump old-guard did a sort of “We’re leaving but we also still want to one day retake ‘our’ party, so we’re going to be nominal conservatives and bide our time by constantly attacking and opposing Trump in hopes that he crashes and burns, and that the wayward party will turn back to us for leadership in the Post-Trump-era.”
Kristol and Hayes and all the NeverTrumpers fashioned themselves as the “real” Republicans bravely swimming upstream and telling uncomfortable truths in the age of supposed Trump Fanaticism, where everyone else in the party had been mesmerized and suckered into blind loyalty to the Cult Of The Donald, while they were the only ones still seeing clearly. “Everyone has gone crazy except us! But we’ll be here to lead the party once everyone comes to their senses,” they loved to claim.
But the Trump crash and burn never happened, and so the people who staked their careers on it happening are the ones who have crashed and burned.
It turned out NeverTrump’s strategy was not a viable business model, not even while being propped up by leftwing billionaires and Minitrue.
Of course, even if Trump did crash and burn, Trumpism (i.e. rightwing populism) was never going to flame out because Trump didn’t start it: he merely tapped into it, and in fact was the only Republican politician smart enough to even realize it was there.
Trump didn’t make the Republican Party want a wall, renegotiated trade deals and to stop getting into pointless, endless wars in the Middle East–he simply recognized that the party base wanted all those things, and that somehow, the party’s politicians, intellectuals and leading voices stood in active opposition to those things.
Trump merely exploited the massive disconnect between the Republican Party Establishment and its voters.
He was the first GOP politician to actually offer Republican voters what they wanted, instead of pretending to be on their side to use them for votes, donations, clicks, views and book sales.
The GOP Civil War revealed Kristol and the old-guard to be complete frauds. They were culturally enmeshed with the East Coast liberal elite for so long they had become liberals themselves. 2016 revealed that the old GOP Establishment had more in common with the liberal cultural establishment than the GOP base that rallied behind Trump, and so with this truth laid bare, Kristol and company stopped pretending to be Republicans and aligned completely with the Democratic media establishment.
And no, the death of the Weekly Standard was not a homicide, as many Principled Conservatives are claiming. Weekly Standard was not a strong, flourishing business whacked as punishment for going against Trump; Weekly Standard died of natural causes because it had no market for its product. Nobody wanted to read their bad-faith anti-Trump propaganda funded by leftwing billionaires.
Well, nobody on the actual right, that is. In the waning days, Facebook certainly found Weekly Standard useful as a “fact checker,” which it could point to and dishonestly claim, “Hey, we’re not biased against Republicans. Look, we use Weekly Standard as one of our Official Fact Checkers! We include both sides!” And the left loved to point to Weekly Standard as evidence that, “Hey, even conservatives think Trump is deranged and awful! He must be really really bad!”
But the jig is up. And none of us are sad about it.
This was not sabotage, this was not a malicious silencing, this was not a product of some sinister purge of dissident voices within the GOP.
The Weekly Standard shut down because it bet big against Trump and lost.
Its business model of unrelenting, bad-faith, wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing anti-Trump propaganda is clearly not viable, and today that became official.