When Mitt Romney announced he was going to vote to remove President Trump, some (fortunately most) on the left praised him. But others didn’t. Either because (a) it was the bare minimum that any senator with a conscience could do, (b) he could’ve/should’ve done more/sooner, or (c) they felt his old comments from the 2012 election disqualified him from any praise.
Okay, he’s not your favorite. I get it. But look, folks: this is about politics, not purity. Every vote to do the right thing–regardless of who cast it or what their motivations were–counts. Why in the world would you criticize someone for doing exactly what you wanted them to do? You’ve probably been screaming at Romney all along to do exactly what he did! Now he did it, and it’s still wrong? How does that work? And why is it desirable to alienate people who are allying with you, amidst all the pressure to do otherwise from his voters and his spineless colleagues?
The crazy thing is, the people who criticized him or withheld their praise are the ones who know *exactly* how dangerous this time is, and what an incredible threat Trump poses to our democracy. That *should* motivate them to prioritize pragmatism over purity, to gladly welcome anyone willing to stand with them and grow the resistance. But instead, they’re more concerned about insisting that Romney’s still tainted. They’d rather shrink their numbers by disqualifying would-be converts instead of growing the movement.
If your first instinct was to criticize Romney or withhold your praise, it shows that your first priority isn’t defeating Trump, like you say it is. It’s maintaining your precious us-versus-them distinctions whereby everyone who doesn’t believe enough of what you believe isn’t welcome and should be shunned, even though we need all the help we can get right now. It’s about performatively grandstanding so everyone knows how morally superior you are–instead of building the biggest, most diverse, and most politically effective movement to save our democracy that we can.