The Corner

The Baffling Freely Chosen Self-Destructive Choice

Radio show host Hugh Hewitt, now broadcasting in the mornings, offering a curious comment during his interview of Jonah Goldberg:

Jonah: If Trump isn’t the nominee, a bunch of people, undetermined how many, will leave the party and leave the convention. And if Trump is the nominee, a bunch of people, undetermined how many, will leave the party and the convention. So everyone should sort of man up and take a side. And I understand that you’re in the sort of Switzerland camp, and had to be for institutional and other reasons, and you’re sticking with it, and that’s great. But for a lot of people, this idea that somehow, you know, we can just sort of normalize Trump, and he’s just another conventional nominee, a lot of people just aren’t going to buy it.

Hewitt: I do say quite, I try and be objective, I think Trump will lose a massive loss. He could cost the House and the Senate. But I will support the Republican nominee, whoever it is. And I understand his appeal.

Hugh has been a moderator at several debates, he wants to be an honest broker trusted by all sides, and he wants to have as many GOP candidates, leaders, and factions on his show as possible. That’s all fine.

But if you really think the front-runner will lose a massive loss, and could cost the GOP the House and the Senate, and the other candidates won’t . . . Well, it’s like being neutral between drinking a glass of lemonade or hitting yourself in the kneecap with a hammer as hard as you can. It’s not just a destructive choice; it’s a freely chosen self-destructive choice.

Democrats are working hard to bring about a Hillary-led landslide; if you believe that the wide spectrum of polls pointing to a big Hillary win and red states like Utah, Mississippi, and Arizona looking purplish, then a good chunk of the Republican party is working hard to bring about a Hillary-led landslide, too. Supporting Trump at this point requires a faith that after he’s nominated, the polls – the popular vote, the state polls, the favorable/unfavorable split — will suddenly and dramatically reverse.

I suppose you can argue, “Well, this is a self-destructive course, but the largest plurality in the party is determined to select this course, so we have no choice but to acquiesce.” But who wants to be a member of a party that chooses to hit itself in the kneecap with a hammer as hard as it can? At some point, don’t you start to doubt whether you really have the same interests as those who insist upon the self-destructive course?

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