It was a dramatic moment in history, as depicted by the Bible. The Ten Tribes of Israel had vacillated between repenting and returning to God and relapsing into worship of Baal at the behest of the evil King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. After God had repeatedly punished the Israelites with a protracted famine because they worshipped Baal, Elijah the Prophet decided to force the issue.
When he encountered King Ahab on the road, Ahab pointed the accusatory finger at Elijah. “Is this you, the one who brings trouble upon Israel?” Elijah retorted by telling Ahab to look in the mirror: “I have not brought trouble upon Israel, but you and your father’s house, since you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and you went after the Baalim.” [Kings I, 18:18-19]
Elijah then told Ahab to gather all of the Israelites to Mount Carmel and stage a vivid and conclusive test before the eyes of the nation. The false prophets of Baal would offer their sacrifice to Baal, and Elijah would offer his to God, and they’d see which offering is accepted. Team Baal went first:
And they called in the name of the Baal from the morning until noon, saying, ‘O Baal, answer us!’ But there was no voice and no answer, and they hopped on the altar that they had made… And they called with a loud voice and gashed themselves as was their custom, with swords and lances, until blood gushed on them. [Kings I, 18:26,28]
We all know the rest of the story: God accepted Elijah’s offering in miraculous fashion and the Jews turned back to God. But before conducting this test, Elijah turned to the people and stripped them bare with an acerbic rebuke:
And Elijah drew near to all the people and said, Until when are you hopping between two ideas? If the Lord is God, go after Him, and if the Baal, go after him. And the people did not answer him a word. [Id. 21]
It’s time to ask many self-described conservative leaders the same question. They have asked for conservative leadership for years. Yet the establishment and conservative elites have failed us time and again. Their failure to lead on every significant issue and reluctance to root out the charlatans in our party has led to the perfect storm in which another charlatan has hijacked the party.
Numerous conservative commentators and elected officials are tearing their hair out over Donald Trump. They are panicking. They are turning to all forms of Baal to save them. “O’ Mitt Romney, please answer us.” “O’ National Review, please save us.” “O’ Marco Rubio, the great sunshine boy, please deliver us from the hands of evil.” They have done everything. Yet, the more they try and attack Trump from the left or send out discredited and phony Republicans to criticize the phony Trump, the more they fuel his rise.
“Do we have a brokered convention? Do we start a third party? Do we throw ourselves at Hillary Clinton’s grace? Maybe Marco Rubio can still surge? Let’s call on the neo-cons and the reformicons to help us.”
These same individuals have looked far and wide for a solution, but they refuse to recognize the one obvious solution that has become even clearer since Super Tuesday. There is only one man who has intrepidly stood for everything these people purport to believe in. There is only one man who has assembled the organization, raised the money, and has the delegate path to implement those ideas. There is only one man who has the credibility to win back the hearts and minds of those attracted to this false prophet.
Yet, instead of backing him from day one, they chose to straddle the fence, asserting “either candidate is ok” or “anyone but Trump.” No, folks, either candidate is not ok. One candidate represents the embodiment of the problem, the other represents the antidote.
Even after Super Tuesday’s results they still refuse to support that man.
If Elijah were here with us today, he’d ask them the same question: “Until when are you hopping between two ideas? If the Lord is God, go after Him, and if the Baal, go after him.”
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t work to defeat Trump but be afraid of angering the establishment Baal by endorsing the one man who could actually accomplish that goal without destroying the party. Do you fear the establishment’s hatred of Ted Cruz more than you fear Trump?
“Anyone but” has never been a winning strategy to defeating a successful and confident opponent. You can’t beat someone, especially a man who has been promoted by the media for almost a year, with nobody. You can’t beat a phony conservative with a phony conservative and with the forces of Baal cheering him on. And the more you turn to the very idols that have given rise to this man, the more you empower him.
It’s time to get off the fence. In this 11th hour, there are no more excuses. You cannot continue this ‘risk averse conservatism’ or pursue ‘abstract principles.’ It’s time to put it on the line and act upon those principles. It’s time for conservatives to come home.
“If the Lord is God, go after Him, and if the Baal, go after him.”
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.