I’ll work with Glenn Beck to stop Trump; and so should you

I’ll work with Glenn Beck in order to stop Donald Trump. And so should you.

I jumped into a discussion on Twitter earlier today between Media Matters’ Oliver Willis and an editor of the conservative Red State blog, Ben Howe.

Oliver and Ben were arguing over whether people opposing Trump should embrace Glenn Beck, the longtime conservative conspiracist and newfound Trump opponent. Ben said yes, Oliver said no, and I agree with Ben. And here’s why.

There is no harm, and a lot of good, to be made forging alliances across party lines order to stop Trumpism at home and across the sea. Let me walk you through the argument. (And use Glenn Beck as a stand-in for any conservative/Republican/other who say they want to help).

1. What’s the harm?

I hear a lot of people talking about how Beck can’t be trusted. And to that I say: So what? How will it retroactively undercut our work over the next year or four if Glenn Beck helps us build a movement to undermine Trump, only to eventually change his mind and support Trump? It won’t.

In order to argue that we shouldn’t work with Beck, or any conservative, you have to tell me why. And by “why,” I mean: “How will it set our movement back working with Beck (or any other conservative)?” If you can’t tell me how we will be worse off working with Beck, then we should.

2. Purity politics are for winners, not losers.

glen-beck-muldaurI’ve never been a big fan of purity politics; the notion that if you don’t agree with me 100%, you’re evil and must be destroyed. There’s a lot of that going around of late on the left and right (on the left, we saw it during the primaries and even during the election itself).

But I’d go even further, I don’t care if you disagree with me 99% of the time. If you agree with me 1% of the time, and it’s an important issue, like the survival of our democracy, I’ll consider working with you. And that’s the way it should be. You do your issues, and our democracy, no favors by steadfastly refusing to compromise on your principles while Rome is burning.

And Rome is definitely burning, baby. Not only is Donald Trump dangerous as hell on the issues and of temperament, but we don’t control the White House, the Congress or the Supreme Court. When you’re about as powerless as it gets, and the survival of the country is at stake, you make other arrangements, including working with some B-list demons if need be.

3. It’s not as if we haven’t worked with the devil before.

During World War II, we worked with the Soviets, for God’s sake. They were truly awful people — like David Duke awful, on steroids. And lo and behold, the Sovs screwed us after the war by grabbing half of Europe, and then getting us into a 46 year Cold War that cost a lot of money, and a lot of lives. But it was still worthwhile joining together if only to stop the Nazis from world domination. Just because coalitions might be temporary, doesn’t make them any less useful.

4. Even Ted Kennedy reached across the aisle.

I worked as a fellow in Senator Edward Kennedy’s office back in the early 1990s, and two things impressed me the most: Kennedy’s willingness to think big (he’d pull a $5 billion amendment out of his hate without giving it a second thought; and his willingness to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans when their interests coincided. Not only did Kennedy work with Utah Republican Orrin Hatch on AIDS issues, but even Jesse Helms’ staff would occasionally help Kennedy’s staff out on LGBT rights issues, of all things. Kennedy’s staff had established a relationship with Helms’ staff, and from time to time, Helms’ staff would throw them a very helpful legislative bone. And if Kennedy could work with Orrin Hatch, and his staff could maintain a useful relationship with Jesse Helms (who was also incredibly helpful on international AIDS issues), then I can work with Glenn Beck.

In the end, it’s not about whether you trust someone or what his motivations are. It’s about what they can do for you. I don’t care about Glenn Beck’s motivations any more than I care what motivates my Cuisinart. I care about its utility, I care about whether I’ll be better off for using it. And it is helpful to our cause to have Republicans — especially the “crazy” ones with an audience — jump ship and join forces with us to stand up to Trumpism.

If we want to take down, or at least neuter, Trump, we need to stymie him. And we need people with a voice, an audience, reach. We need to find people who are able to help us turn the public and the Congress against Trump’s un-American agenda. And some of those, maybe a lot of those, people are going to be Republicans. And that’s fine with me, because I’m here to win.

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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Rainbird

    John, you were Hillary Clinton’s biggest fan. It couldn’t have been a huge stretch for you to extend that out to Glenn Beck.

  • Rocketmissile

    “…Donald Trump to undermine our democracy and our national interest.” For your own good, stay off the hallucinogens. That’s ALL Emperor Islama did for the past eight years. And Killary would have perpetuated it on steroids.
    Put down the Obotic Blue Kool Aid and unplug from CNN, the Clinton News Network propaganda.

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  • mf_roe

    A principle that has the effect of preventing you from defending yourself isn’t worthy of being called a principle it is instead a liability. Honestly, what is wrong in using one enemy to defeat another more powerful enemy. I think you have the winning side on this one. Division and internal hostility is something we would be well advised to foster among the tRUMPzees. Re-read the “ART OF WAR”.

  • Demosthenes

    Absolutely right, John. Republicans who are patriots and want to preserve our system of government, its alliances, and our societal cohesion should be the allies of all Democrats seeking the same thing. Ideological differences are insignificant compared to fighting for our country.

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  • Sociopath or not, he’s useful. You don’t see the Russians shedding any tears over working with Donald Trump to undermine our democracy and our national interest. And I don’t care if Beck eventually changes his mind, he’s useful now. It doesn’t undo anything later if he changes his mind, the collective damage to Trump will already be done.

  • ceoil oíche

    I think other commenters have made good points about the need to work towards a common goal with people we don’t necessarily agree with on all the issues. But this doesn’t apply to sociopaths. I wasn’t being hyperbolic when I called Mr. Beck a sociopath. Judging by what others have written here, I don’t believe they’ve ever experienced the displeasure of dealing with a sociopath. Simply put, there is no dealing with them. They are dangerous. No matter how sincere or charming they may appear at any given moment, they don’t care about you. This is why you shouldn’t work with Mr. Beck. Because you can’t work with Mr. Beck. You can only be used by Mr. Beck. Don’t think that this time will be different. Don’t think that perhaps he’s changed for the better. Don’t think that you can handle him. That’s what sociopaths count on. They invite you to do the noble thing. You feel so good about doing it that you willingly walk into their trap. There are other conservatives who are eager to stand up to Donald Trump. Ally with them. Mr. Beck will only burn you.

  • Yes, we ally with people to work on issues where we have a common goal or interest. We don’t have to agree with someone 100% or even 5% of the time for that 5% to matter. This was how politics in America worked until recently. Now we have walls up between this group and that and we get nothing done. It’s not working. Yes, work with Beck in whatever way is useful and stop doing it when it isn’t. This isn’t hard. Needing to love or hate someone 100% is childish. We need to grow the fuck up.

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  • goulo

    > 2. Purity politics are for winners, not losers.

    That section title seems confusingly the opposite of what its section says (that purity politics will lead to losing; only losers make the mistake of using purity politics; etc)… do you mean “2. Purity politics are for losers, not winners.” ? (Hmm, or do you mean that only someone who’s already winning can afford purity politics?)

  • UncleBucky

    Glenn Beck IS mentally ill, and he is up to something with this.

    Look at it this way. You’ve got a cousin who has derided you for years about your sexuality. And every holiday, you’ve got to put up with the ƒ– jokes or whatever.

    Now, in comes your cousin this year, pleasant as pie, telling you he’s angry at this other guy who gave you similar problems in high school, who is now a problem in his business and would you help your poor cousin to get rid of this other guy.

    Something ain’t right.

    And you are warned not to let your defenses down.

    This.

  • FuzzyRabbit

    If all who are opposed to Trump do not unite, within a few months the safety net will be a shadow of what it is now. And the nations treasury will be in the hands of Trump and his billionaire friends. You and I will have nothing, and those who have nothing now will be even worse off.

    And that is only the beginning. Already Trump’s supporters are committing hate crimes at the rate of about 700 per month. After he is sworn in this is sure to skyrocket. And anyone who speaks out against Trump will be persecuted, or worse.

    He really is that bad. Greed and violence, these will be the hallmarks of Trump’s presidency.

  • Dan Thompson

    Ceoil, when a mentally ill sociopathic grifter drops a rope down the mine shaft to help me out of there, I’m not waiting for someone else.

  • ceoil oíche

    Don’t do it, John. Because Mr. Beck is a sociopathic grifter. He is also mentally ill. I don’t say that to mock or demean him. It’s simply a sad and relevant fact. While Mr. Beck may use your alliance to defeat or diminish Donald Trump, he will not use it to promote liberty, equality, and democracy. Instead you will be abetting him in his quest promote and implement Christian Dominionism. As a gay man, John, how well do you think that will work out for you?

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