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Friday, June 10, 2016

The Inflexibility Of Some Conservatives Is Also Shared By Others

Mike Huckabee (click here for bio) has a few words for those Republicans who are considering not voting for the presumptive Republican nominee in an article on his blog (click here for the article). The gist of his words say "Shut up and support the  presumptive nominee." That nominee is Donald Trump and such is not good news to many Republicans.

Why is Huckabee throwing his support behind Trump? It isn't because of Trump's pro-life credentials. Neither is it because Trump's position on marriage or Israel. In fact, Huckabee does not provide a single positive quality for why anyone should support Trump in his article. His interview that accompanies the article does mention a couple of positive attributes but he has to stretch points to do so.

The main reason why Huckabee is supporting Donald Trump  is because Donald Trump is not Hillary Clinton. In another typical election where we will be asked to vote for the presidential candidates from the them and not them political parties, Huckabee wants his fellow conservatives to vote for the candidate from the not them party. He wants his fellow Republicans to support Trump whatever their misgivings are. In fact, Huckabee seems to be in denial of any significant reasons why some Republicans oppose Trump. And he claims that the 'Never Trump' movement is sham to provide employment for some consultants.

However, it is the misgivings that many Republicans have regarding Donald Trump that is the real issue. How can some Republicans support Trump when they have too many misgivings to support him? Huckabee has no answer for this question other than to say be loyal and stop the not them candidate. It is at this point that Huckabee and what will be many from the Republican Party have failed to answer the concerns of their fellow Republicans regardless of their support for Trump. 

The reason why the Republican establishment could not convince Trump supporters to vote for someone else was because they could not answer the concerns that his supporters had. His supporters consisted of anti-establishment conservatives who knew that their party had become part of the establishment his supporters hated. And because they would have to admit that the establishment, including themselves, had failed in order to get the ear of Trump supporters, they could not give his supporters a reason to vote for someone else  Trump's support had little to do with Trump's expertise in working the media or his savvy in speaking tot he people as Huckabee claims. Trump's support was a vote for the intramural not them candidate.

Huckabee's answer to conservatives who have too many problems with Trump to support him says "suck it up." That is because Huckabee's approach combines some authoritarianism--'the voters have spoken' in this case-- with a tribal appeal to loyalty to the Republican Party with the last resort appeal saying vote against the them candidate starring Hillary Clinton in 2016. Thus, there is no way that Huckabee's approach to the 2016 election can give a satisfactory answer to those conservatives opposing Trump. That is because Huckabee's approach provides no alternatives to Trump. And because he is unable to provide any alternatives to the concerns of conservatives who oppose Trump, he has shown that his own approach is inflexible.

Should we be surprised that Huckabee's approach to voting in the 2016 is inflexible? No, not with his reliance on authoritarian and tribal appeals. Such appeals are based on maintaining a rigidity in thinking. However, we should note that political conservatives will not hold a monopoly on inflexibility this election. It is likely that Sanders supporters will be given the same option that is being given to those conservatives opposing Trump. That option says that one must vote for Hillary in order to stop Trump.  And that option is no less based on authoritarian and tribal appeals than Huckabee's appeals are. Liberal leaders will be unable to provide any alternatives to those anti-establishment nonconservatives who find Hillary to be as objectionable as conservatives who oppose Trump find Trump to be.

In the end, our having fallen for these authoritarian and tribal appeals too many times in the past is the reason why we will be choosing between Trump and Hillary this year. It is because of our past inflexibility that we find ourselves limited to these two candidates. So in the end, Huckabee is not saying anything new to conservatives who oppose Trump that has not been said to liberals and conservatives in the past. The question is this: Will we find a way to be flexible by voting for the third party candidate who best represents us and our own concerns, or will we follow tradition and do the same old, same old was done in the past?



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