A conservative Republican case for Beto

There’s a long bipartisan history of rooting for the opposing party to go nuts — to nominate someone either so extreme or so bizarre that they guarantee an electoral loss … But never forget that in 2016 the Democrats did their share of chortling when Donald Trump dominated the primaries. They thought it was hilarious that Republicans had actually nominated the least-liked politician in the history of favorability polling. They kept laughing until about 11:00 p.m. on Election Night — when Florida was lost, Ohio was lost, and it looked quite clear that the Philadelphia precincts weren’t going to save Hillary from disaster.

In a time of extreme polarization, ideology matters far less than party identification, and it’s now entirely possible that even Bernie Sanders could win the White House. It’s possible that the ideas that were once on the fringe even of Democratic politics in, say, 2012 could become the signature legislative initiatives of a new Democratic president. Against this backdrop — and for the health of the republic — it’s time for Americans to root for both parties to pick the least-bad option. Consequently, if Beto stands between the Democrats and the full embrace of both socialism and identity politics, then I’ll take Beto every time.

David French.

March 14, 2019

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