Recently, front page writer Joe Cunningham penned an article titled, “Why Donald Trump Lost.” As I write this, the article garnered 438 comments, most of them negative. This writer did also comment- some in agreement with the premise of the article and some in disagreement. What struck this writer as interestingly appalling was the level of vitriol directed at the writer. If one has the time to scroll through the comment section- one of the most important parts of this website- one will find that a moderator- streiff- had to intervene in many instances. At some points in the conversations between commenters and moderators, the dialogue got heated.
This writer has been at Redstate for many years. My first published diary entry was on June 5, 2010 and there have been 2,710 since. I am fast approaching 11,000 comments with about half of them getting “up votes.” Needless to say, I have been around this website for a long period of time. I have written through the Erickson years and that dark period when the Voldemort of Redstate- she who shall not be named…but had the initials SW…sullied these pages and was eventually cast aside.
The political landscape in America has changed since 2010. Donald Trump’s arrival on the political scene, despite his previous dalliances, in 2016 disrupted not only the Republican Party, but conservatism in general. We finally had a person who would actually fight for conservative principles and policies, and fight he did and continues to do so. My main objection with the Cunningham article was that the author was assuming a Trump loss and the reasons for it if it was true… at that point in time.
I realize that many here have strong feelings about this election and invested a lot of energy in making sure that the gains made by Trump had another four years to bear further fruition. Unlike Cunningham, I do not believe this election is over. However, his article was simply stating a reason should Trump lose. Perhaps the title should have been “Why Donald Trump May Have Lost.”
But what was most disturbing was the comments to that article- the name-calling from “RINO” to “idiot.” I doubt that Joe Cunningham is a RINO and I seriously doubt he is an “idiot.” In the article, he simply expressed a belief in a theory that we all may be wondering about come January 20, 2021. Within that article, although his citations may have been suspect (Politico?), there are truisms. I have discussed with people why they cast their vote for Biden. Some are simply sheep who vote for a Democrat regardless of whether they are a senile Senator from Delaware or a do-nothing Senator from Illinois with the right skin color. Then there are some who voted for Biden because they simply hate Trump. Finally, there are the somewhat sane people who would have given their choice more thought but for one thing- Trump’s perceived handling of the coronavirus.
This was the gist of Cunningham’s hypothesis and nothing more. Yet instead of arguing with the writer on that hypothesis, the lemmings came out in full force and attacked. The sane commenters stuck to arguing the gist of the article.
While many wondered about their continued readership at Redstate based on a single article, I began to wonder about my continued readership and diary contributions here for different reasons. I rue the day this site becomes an echo chamber of constant and 100% agreement with anything anyone pens on these pages.
To this writer, conservatism is more tolerant of debate than those on the other side of the political spectrum. The free flow of information and debate over that information is not a weakness; it is a strength conservatives have as an advantage over progressives. It explains why the Left often has to resort to the ad hominem attacks when they are losing the argument.
That is not to say that the arguments against the article were not valid. But when the ad hominem attacks begin, you are starting to act like a Leftist. This is not a “muh principles” thing; this is a debating truism.
In effect, Cunningham posted an article postulating a reason for a possible Trump loss. Is that different than posting an article about the future of the GOP and conservatism after Trump whether it is 2021 or 2025? I think not.
During the 2016 election season, there were many voices here expressing reservations about Donald Trump, me included. There were various reasons for those reservations, all valid at the time. What changed was the actions of Trump while in office and his commitment to and following through on conservative ideas and policies and being a dedicated pugilist in this area. Through it all, it proved that unlike many other websites that went all-in one way or the other regarding Trump, Redstate remained a free beacon of thought in that it did not come to resemble a Leftist echo chamber. It is what has kept many people here for many years and likely attracted many others to the website.
Unlike many commenters, this writer welcomes the contributions of front page writers, diarists, and commenters who sometimes buck the popular trend at the time. It is what sets this site apart from others. You want “hate Trump all the time,” there is a plethora of websites to join. You want “MAGA 24/7,” there are also many websites to participate. But if you want reasoned, well-articulated, but possibly wrongly titled articles, then Redstate is the place to be.
Cunningham may have jumped the gun and declared the election “lost” in his headline, and time will tell if his reasoning is correct, but until then, make the argument on the merits, not your guts. When this website becomes an echo chamber of thought and commentary (other than to its commitment as pro-life), then that is the day it loses at least one person.