Jennifer Rubin is Twitter’s Worst "Reasonable" Republican

Certain conservative pundits love scolding Democrats for leaning too far left. They believe the party failed to stop Donald Trump because it didn’t persuade enough centrists or reasonable Republicans like themselves to vote for Hillary. They find Trump abhorrent, like all rational people. And they’ve written column after column warning that Democrats must do more to attract people exactly like them in 2020, or else Trump will win again.

There’s ample evidence that Democrats don’t need to appeal to Republicans to win. Hillary Clinton bent over backwards for Republican approval in 2016 and lost, after all. But that doesn’t stop Jennifer Rubin.

Throughout the run-up to the 2020 election, Rubin has used her platforms as a Washington Post opinion writer and MSNBC contributor to protest that the party is swinging too far left. Policies like Medicare for All and free college alienate Republicans like herself, David Frum and David Brooks—sensible “Never Trumpers” desperate for a reasonable alternative.

But underneath Rubin’s thin veneer of reasonableness lies a hardline conservative. She doesn’t care about the Democratic Party or its members. She and her ilk simply want to reshape the party and its politics in their image.

“One of the major pitfalls of the corporate media apparatus in America is that it creates space for people like Jennifer Rubin to, when convenient, cosplay as a member of the opposing party and offer purely self-serving ‘advice,’” says progressive activist Jordan Uhl. “This cadre of Never Trump Republicans should be summarily exiled from Democratic conversations and totally ignored.”

Many Democrats are already wise to Rubin’s reasonable Republican shtick. Her tweets are regularly ratioed by users tearing apart her awful takes. But unlike Frum and many of her fellow Never Trumpers, Rubin has managed to reach the political shitposting apex, posting badly and far more frequently than necessary. Nearly all of her predictions are bogus (she famously called Beto the frontrunner when he entered the Democratic race) and all of her analysis is bunk—but Rubin keeps posting through it.

Most political pundits agreed that Elizabeth Warren had a solid showing at Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. Rubin, however, lamented that Warren was too “mean” to Bloomberg and scolded her for not attacking Bernie Sanders. The real-time disingenuousness is easy to spot and ignore. But Rubin’s media platforms provide weight to her disingenuous Democratic counsel, particularly among the majority of people who don’t get their political news from Twitter.

“Rubin is a hard-right Republican,” says Eoin Higgins, senior editor and staff writer for Common Dreams. “Her inexplicable ascension to the Washington Post op-ed page a decade ago and frequent appearances on MSNBC have given her unearned credibility that she now uses to stifle progressive ideals.”

It’s not hard to find low opinions of Rubin’s work even outside of Twitter. Like many opinionists at major publications, she has a history of bad opinions. After joining the Post in 2010 she “routinely embarrassed the paper” by writing press releases for Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential run and “endorsing blood-thirsty calls for revenge against Palestinians.” Her hardline conservatism is brutal enough, but her writing is even worse. In 2013, former Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton called for Rubin to be fired for being “just plain bad.”

Regardless, Rubin’s found her perfect niche in the 2020 Democratic primary. She openly downplays Sanders’ frontrunner status and insults the Vermont senator, but is careful not to slow play Warren as a favorable alternative. Anything or anyone even remotely progressive is bad to Rubin and will only lead to Democratic failure in her eyes. You’d think she might give her audience credit for being smart enough to read through her Republican hackery. But that would defeat the point of her hackery in the first place.

“Anyone in the Democratic Party taking Rubin seriously about the 2020 race—or anything, really—should seriously re-examine their political beliefs,” Higgins says, “and, frankly, their general worldview.”