Matt Mayer of The Spectator, in an essay titled, Revenge of the Republicans, writes in part,
The 2020 election has provided fertile ground upon which Republicans can spend the next four years doing to Joe Biden what the Democrats did to Donald Trump and George W. Bush.
For four years, Democrats and their media allies trumpeted every claim, no matter how baseless or crazy, that Trump’s 2016 election win was illegitimate and fraudulent. Despite zero evidence that so much as a single vote was interfered with, Democrats peddled the hoax that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to elect Trump. Even after the Mueller investigation exonerated Trump and his campaign from the collusion canard, Democrats, led by the shameless Adam Schiff, continued to allege collusion. Their simple goal was to undermine and delegitimize the Trump presidency. It clearly worked to the degree some voters turned their backs on Trump even as they voted Republican down-ballot….
Though he managed to get far more done than people give his team credit for, Trump governed under a dark cloud for most of his presidency. His team had to waste precious time and energy defending him against the Mueller investigation with its phalanx of Democratic hitman lawyers and corrupt FBI personnel. The media aided this assault by running stories over the last four years based on anonymous sources, several of which ended up being false. No president has had to undergo so thorough an investigation on such thinly-sourced claims. Trump may be lots of things, but he is as patriotic and faithful to America as any man who ever occupied the Oval Office….
…The fact of the matter is Biden’s call for unity is like the kid in your class who lost every game, but always shouted ‘starting now’ only after he was ahead. In the days since Biden asked Republicans to turn the other cheek, his old boss Barack Obama launched his book promotion by claiming that Trump only won in 2016 because too many Americans are racists. Obama followed that left hook to Main Street America by then denigrating Trump as a dictator despite the fact that it was Obama who arrested and investigated journalists during his presidency.
…One legacy of Trump is he taught Republicans how to fight back. Thus, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Biden will now serve under a cloud of suspicion and feel the heat as investigators dig into every nook and cranny of his family’s life. If Republicans pick up the handful of seats they now need to take back the US House in 2022, Biden and the Democrats will rue the day they made Schiff their attack dog.
Turnabout is fair play, especially in politics.
Indeed, what Mayer describes is Donald Trump’s version of “ethics.” It’s not ethics, but neither is it practical ethics to recommend conduct that history and human nature tell us is unlikely and perhaps impossible.
I only used the Spectator article because it popped up first; there are so many others making exactly the same point. There is also a critical level of defiance and anger out there….indeed in here, among the comments on Ethics Alarms.
What I referred to for four years as the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck cannot become a cycle without ultimately destroying the nation. The essay’s metaphor about “the kid in your class” is apt, but what is the alternative? A line has to be drawn and the principle must be stated: this cannot go on, and must end, or else. OK, the Democrats destroyed a Presidency and stole an election with the assistance of a world pandemic, a corrupt news media, and a deeply flawed leader (I will never be convinced that a President in Trump’s position who had the ability to communicate with the skill of a Reagan, an Obama, even a Bill Clinton, would not have prevailed in the election with ease). Let them high-five and gloat. The survival of the nation and its values are more important than payback.
Of course it would help a great deal if Democrats would stop exploding heads with their astounding levels of dishonesty, arrogance and hypocrisy. One example out of legions: The Axis of Unethical Conduct bombarded Americans for four years with the Big Lie that the President should be feared as an autocrat seeking totalitarian control. Yesterday, Kate Brown, governor of one of the bluest states in the nation, called on citizens to inform on their neighbors who defied the state’s draconian pandemic restrictions….endorsing one of the signature tactics of autocratic regimes.
At the same time, commentary on conservative blogs and websites indicates that the GOP base wants and demands the revenge Mayer describes, but believes that the party doesn’t have the gumption to deliver “sauce for the gander.”
This, for the Republicans, is a classic ethical dilemma: do the right thing, and lose, or do the wrong thing, and make supporters happy while dividing the nation beyond repair.