NeverTrump stalwart Bill Kristol expressed concern on Twitter this week that Republicans might affect the outcome of South Carolina’s open Democratic primary by showing up and voting for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The problem? Just three weeks ago, Kristol urged his small band of fellow Trump-hating conservatives and independents to participate in Democratic primaries in order to find a moderate Democrat he sees to be a suitable alternative to Trump.
Kristol took to Twitter this week to sound the alarm:
“With Biden probably on track to win South Carolina, will we see a ramping up of Trump campaign efforts (already happening beneath the radar on Facebook) to get Trump-supporting Republicans to vote for his weakest opponent–Sanders–in the open primary,” Kristol tweeted.
With Biden probably on track to win South Carolina, will we see a ramping up of Trump campaign efforts (already happening beneath the radar on Facebook) to get Trump-supporting Republicans to vote for his weakest opponent–Sanders–in the open primary.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 26, 2020
He even unearthed a “smoking gun” proving Trump supporters intend to vote for Sanders in the primary.
“A Trump-Sanders smoking gun. South Carolina Trump activists in a much-promoted Facebook video: “We’re asking South Carolina Republicans to show their support for President Trump by crossing over and voting in the Democratic primary for Senator Bernie Sanders.”
A Trump-Sanders smoking gun.
South Carolina Trump activists in a much-promoted Facebook video: “We’re asking South Carolina Republicans to show their support for President Trump by crossing over and voting in the Democratic primary for Senator Bernie Sanders.” pic.twitter.com/FNqEUNXDWq
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 26, 2020
But not long ago, all the way back on Feb. 3, Kristol asked fellow anti-Trump Republicans to participate in the Democratic primary.
If it’s clear Walsh and Weld will fail, “those Republicans and independents who believe in ‘equal justice under the law’ should…vote in Democratic primaries for the most acceptable candidate, and then support that candidate in the general election.”https://t.co/JfnMf0CSa5
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 3, 2020
As Kristol wrote in an article for his new media venture, The Bulwark, disenfranchised Republicans should find “the most acceptable Democratic candidate, and then support that candidate in the general election.”
A week later, Kristol again asked his followers to find and support a “a moderate and responsible Democratic alternative to President Trump.”
Fellow Virginians: If you’ve voted R in the past but want to be able to consider a moderate and responsible Democratic alternative to President Trump this fall, make sure you’re registered. You can vote in either primary, and the choice among the Democrats will be consequential. https://t.co/hb9WQzzhsp
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 10, 2020
He also urged independents in New Hampshire to vote for a moderate Democrat.
Republicans can’t vote in the Democratic primary in NH. But independents can. Pro-Trump independents are being urged to vote, in bad faith, for Sanders. Independents who truly want a strong alternative to Trump in Nov. can vote, in good faith, in the Dem primary for a moderate. https://t.co/mQ7ckAWE1x
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 11, 2020
It appears that candidate for Kristol, at least in South Carolina, is former Vice President Joe Biden.
It is also clear that Kristol is more than fine with tactical voting across party lines, as long as the motivation behind it serves his purpose to damage Trump.
Naturally, Kristol is upset that some South Carolina Republicans might intend to vote in the state’s open primary for Sanders.
In turn, Trump could face Sanders, a radical, self-avowed “democratic socialist.” Many conservatives feel that this would be the easiest route for Trump to be re-elected. Kristol seems to agree.
“How terrible it would be if, having resisted European-style illiberalism in the 20th century, we succumbed to it in the 21st,” he wrote in an open letter to Sanders’ Democratic rivals in The Bulwark this week.
After nearly five years of non-stop losing to Trump and his supporters, Kristol seems to be angling for a way to help Democrats avoid nominating Sanders.
How did Kristol end up in this position? Long before he was helping to found the NeverTrump movement and writing open letters to Democrats, the conservative author and speaker was revered by a great many Republicans.
For decades, Kristol was more than just a relevant personality within the conservative movement. He actually saw himself as “the ideological gatekeeper of the Republican Party,” Fox News host Tucker Carlson wrote in his 2018 book “Ship of Fools.”
Kristol’s endorsements were sought after by candidates and his opinions were held in high esteem. A Fox News contributor for more than a decade, Kristol’s voice truly mattered.
But Kristol’s star fell quickly once his loathing for Trump became paramount, above all else. His once culturally significant publication, The Weekly Standard, closed in 2018 and Kristol has now apparently declared war on the conservative ideals he once seemed so passionate about fighting for.
Trump easily wins battles that Kristol spent his entire career claiming to support. Nevermind Trump’s successes on the economy or with appointing conservative judges. Evidently, Kristol would forsake these and other victories because Trump is the vehicle that ultimately delivered them.
Although The Weekly Standard is now shuttered, the arguments Kristol crafted for years in them, supporting conservative causes and values, remain — even as he seeks a moderate Democrat to support.
Apparently all it took was a disagreement about the route and not the destination. Bill Kristol seems a broken, discouraged man not driven by faith, love for country or a sense of civic duty, but fueled by antipathy toward a movement that has flourished in his absence.
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