GOP Unity, Ugliness in Academia, and Refreshing Religious Norms
Some recent political observations.
As I mentioned in this week’s No BS Zone, I’ve been very busy lately with some personal things, which I why I didn’t write a column last week. But I worked hard to set aside some time this week to briefly weigh in with some miscellaneous political and cultural thoughts. So, here we go…
A GOP Unity Ticket?
National Review’s Jim Geraghty wrote a piece this week that I think is worth both your time and the time of a couple of Republican presidential campaigns. He addresses Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis, currently the only non-Trump GOP candidates registering in double-digits in national polling.
Another six weeks of attempting to trash the other is only going to increase the already-high odds of Trump’s becoming the nominee. So why not skip the mutually assured destruction-like dynamic, the fight to be the last non-Trump candidate standing, and work out a unity ticket?
The pair would probably work well together on a ticket and in a presidency. DeSantis–Haley, or Haley–DeSantis? Work it out amongst yourselves…
I’m sure that neither one wants to be effectively forced into a decision about a running mate this early in the process. But right now, neither one of them is on track to win. They don’t need to improve their standing in the polls by a few points here or there; they need something big and dramatic that gets people to sit up and take notice, and to reevaluate their options.
This is the one scenario where all or almost all of the DeSantis supporters would likely back Haley and vice versa — and suddenly DeSantis–Haley or Haley–DeSantis would be within striking distance of Trump. It’s probably the best shot either of them has at winning the nomination.
I was initially inclined to reject this idea from Geraghty (who I usually agree with), since the notion of a gimmicky unity ticket between far-behind underdogs reeks of desperation. It also doesn’t feel like a proven formula. I may be one of the few people, after all, who remembers Ted Cruz naming Carly Fiorina as his running-mate in the final weeks of the 2016 Republican primary.
But the situation (as it was back then) is — in fact — desperate. There’s no getting around that. There’s also no prize, nor benefit to the party and country, in finishing a distant second behind Donald Trump, a guy who’s glaringly unfit for public office for a myriad of reasons.
If either DeSantis or Haley is to stand any chance of dethroning Trump, he or she needs to not only be rid of the other as a competitor, but also pick up the lion’s share of the other’s supporters. Without a unity ticket, the latter wouldn’t necessarily happen, being that most of the Republican support DeSantis has lost over the past year seems to have gone to Trump.
It’s pretty clear to me that Haley is the stronger candidate of the two, and the best positioned to defeat Joe Biden in the general election. So, if the two camps were to unite, I think Haley at the top of the ticket would make the most sense.
Do I think this partnership will actually happen? No, but I’ve seen far stranger things in politics come to fruition.
Enough to Make You Sick
Bernie has written (and said) a lot about the cowardice of university presidents in response to anti-Israel and anti-Jew rhetoric on their campuses since Hamas’ devastating terrorist attack on October 7. As he’s correctly pointed out, a number of these academic leaders, who’ve supported and enforced no-tolerance policies on various forms of politically-incorrect speech at their institutions, have taken a much lighter approach when it comes to antisemitic discourse, deferring directly to First Amendment protections while struggling to condemn the rhetoric itself.
Some new, rather stunning examples came from a congressional hearing this week, where the presidents of Harvard, MIT, and Penn were asked whether calling for the genocide of Jews violates their schools’ codes of conduct, or any of their rules in regard to bullying and harassment.
If you haven’t seen the video with their responses, you should check it out now:
The presidents’ answers and attitudes basically came down to a message of tolerance in such cases — tolerance that has notably not been extended to students and applicants who’ve displayed lesser demonstrations of bigotry directed at ethnic groups other than Jews.
The exchanges were both telling and valuable, which is quite rare these days from congressional hearings.
Yes, Providing for Your Family is Both Moral and an Act of Love
I don’t spend much time commenting on random videos posted by random social-media accounts, but there’s one that popped up on my X (formerly Twitter) timeline the other day that was so absurdly framed that I felt compelled to talk a little about it this week.
A fairly popular account called “Christian Nightmares” lifted a video somewhere of a young mom talking to her young child about God and their family. The account re-posted the video with the caption “This is what indoctrination looks like…”
Now, I’m the first to admit there’s a lot of weird stuff going on right now, and being mainstreamed, in evangelical circles… especially at the intersection of politics. The Atlantic’s Tim Alberta has a new book on this very topic. But I couldn’t identify a single thing wrong or even strange in the video. In fact, I found what I saw quite endearing.
The minute-and-a-half scene shows the mother reading from a pamphlet (I think) and asking aloud, “How can you serve others through love?” and “What are ways you serve someone else?”
She explains to her child, “I serve you and Daddy through love by feeding you guys, and cooking for you guys.” She then tells the child that “Daddy” serves both of them by going to work, making money, and providing for them with food and a place to live.
Near the end of the video, the mother states that all scripture is inspired by God, and that the Bible is important because it teaches stories about what Jesus did, including “dying for us.”
Somehow that exchange was supposed to be controversial, even disturbing — a Christian nightmare, you may recall. Well, I’m personally hoping for many more of those nightmares.
At a time when far too many of my fellow Christians are rationalizing glaringly immoral, un-Christ like behavior in the interest of politics, this mom gets things absolutely right. Serving your family is a moral act of love. Telling your child about that love, and instilling gratitude for life’s blessings, are good, healthy, Christian lessons.
This mom could teach a lot of today’s Christian leaders a few things.