by Jeffery Rendall
Are #NeverTrumpers loners or are they really just lonely?
The question came to mind recently as the nebulous allegedly “conservative” anti-Trump group appears to be losing adherents and friends at an alarming rate. It’s not that President Donald Trump has suddenly become so popular that it’s no longer fashionable to oppose him; maybe it’s because the #NeverTrump group has just run out of things to criticize the president for.
Whatever the reason more conservatives have taken to kicking the GOP intra-party opposition where it hurts with many a commentator treating #NeverTrump with the same contempt as they would Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer. Nerdy bespectacled intellectual George Will perhaps triggered the bash-#NeverTrump revelry a couple weeks ago when he encouraged conservatives to vote Democrat this November instead of for Trump-enabling Republicans.
The #NeverTrump suicide-fest continued last week with several more establishment Republicans declaring independence and urging the ultra-disgruntled to do the unthinkable: go Democrat.
Then one-time highly respected right-leaning (neoconservative) writer Max Boot took his turn at pleading for the minority party. Boot wrote last week at The Washington Post, “No one anticipated Trump’s takeover. It’s possible, these [#NeverTrump] Republicans argue, that we might be equally surprised by his downfall. Imagine what would happen if special counsel Robert S. Mueller III found clear evidence of criminality or if Trump’s trade wars tanked the economy. I’m not saying that’s likely to happen, but if it does, it might — just might — shake the 88 percent GOP support that Trump currently enjoys.
“That, in turn, could open the way for a credible primary challenge that wouldn’t deny him the nomination but that — like Gene McCarthy in 1968, Ronald Reagan in 1976 and Pat Buchanan in 1992 — could help to defeat him in the general election and wrest the party from his grasp.
“Personally, I’ve thrown up my hands in despair at the debased state of the GOP. I don’t want to be identified with the party of the child-snatchers. But I respect principled conservatives who are willing to stay and fight to reclaim a once-great party that freed the slaves and helped to win the Cold War. What I can’t respect are head-in-the-sand conservatives who continue to support the GOP by pretending that nothing has changed.”
Oh, but things have changed, Mr. Boot. Donald Trump wrested the GOP away from swamp purveyors such as yourself by swearing to follow-through on what party candidates have been promising for years but never acted upon when the time came. Trump put a different spin on the arguments and dressed them up with a little show-biz flair (and a catchy “Make America Great Again” slogan) but make no mistake: Trump took a big chunk of his platform from traditional conservatism and won over the hearts and minds of the Republican faithful.
Some principled conservatives (such as Ted Cruz) resisted for a time but eventually came around and now recognize Trump is on our side and he’s doing much more good for Republicans than any potential harm that could stem from his edgy personality.
It’s the delusional contrarians like Boot, Will and Bill Kristol who can’t see the light. Maybe they just can’t ever admit they’re wrong or won’t give an inch on issues they hold most dear. Or perhaps they feel their professional reputations will be destroyed if they concede Trump is turning out to be a pretty darn good president despite his sometimes over-the-top nature.
Or, as hinted at above, maybe #NeverTrump holdouts are just loners who prefer standing on the outside of the party room while the champagne’s being poured and consumed inside. They’re unsure of themselves socially and just refuse to mingle with everyone else.
Or more likely the reason for #NeverTrump’s anti-social behavior is they’ve harbored liberal views all along and pretended they were conservatives when in reality they always liked big government and open borders. Boot is obsessed with insisting Trump’s Republican Party has been taken over by “white nationalists” who hate allimmigrants and seek to trade the GOP elephant for a new trademark featuring goose-stepping stormtroopers in hoods carrying torches, lynching people with brown skin and hovering around burning crosses.
Is that reality? Where’s the evidence Trump (or his followers) is a racist? Does favoring American workers over foreigners make Trump a bad person? Does imposing sanctions and penalties (tariffs) on international trade competitors signal a dark view of humanity in Donald Trump? Does working overtime to enforce the immigration laws Congress passed make one a scofflaw – or is it the other way around?
Isn’t it crueler to casually decide which laws to enforce and which to lay aside? That’s what Democrats do. Trump takes his constitutional oath seriously and the executive branch is charged with executing our laws. He’s doing it. Why are Boot and company so honked off about it now?
True, some of Trump’s policies depart from traditional Republican viewpoints (particularly on trade agreements such as NAFTA) but there’s nothing inherently wrong with trying a different way – especially when the old strategies fell flat and led to the election and eight disastrous years of Barack Obama.
If Boot and George Will would rather have Obama than Trump they truly do belong in the Democrat Party. Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!
Boot concluded his piece, “That is why I join Will and other principled conservatives, both current and former Republicans, in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November. Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt.”
Wow; this is an astonishing wish. Thankfully it couldn’t possibly be granted.
Getting rid of Donald Trump wouldn’t be a panacea of benevolence #NeverTrumpers are seeking. All throughout his campaign Trump said his administration would “win” so much people would get tired of it. So far that’s untrue; nearly nine in ten Republicans now support Trump because it feels darn nice to finally win something. Would Mitt Romney or John McCain have pushed this hard for Republican values? If those dolts actually did “win” something they would’ve apologized and returned the spoils to the “loser”.
Not Trump. That’s why the GOP’s his party now and he’s here to stay. Pat Buchanan wrote at The American Conservative, “With never-Trump conservatives bailing on the GOP and crying out for the Party of Pelosi to save us, some painful truths need to be restated.
“The Republican Party of Bush I and II, of Bob Dole and John McCain, is history. It’s not coming back. Unlike the Bourbons after the Revolution and the Terror, after Napoleon and the Empire, no restoration is in the cards…
“No, Trump didn’t start the fire. The world was ablaze with tribalism and was raising up authoritarians to realize nationalist ends—Xi Jinping, Putin, Narendra Modi in India, Erdogan in Turkey, Gen. el-Sissi in Egypt—before he came down that elevator. And so the elites who were in charge when the fire broke out, and who failed to respond and refused even to recognize it, and who now denounce Trump for how he is coping with it, are unlikely to be called upon again to lead this republic.”
The only way elites will lead the country again is if Democrats regain control (which is obviously what Will, Boot and the rest of the loner/lonely #NeverTrumpers desire). With Trump in charge for a minimum of two more years — and solid conservatives manning most of the helms of the executive branch departments — Trump’s platform reigns.
The economy is humming along with last week’s job report even more encouraging than expected (despite the unemployment rate ticking up a bit because more people are returning to the workforce). The foreign sphere is calm with a real prospect for peace on the Korean peninsula. The U.S. embassy flag flies today in Jerusalem, where it belongs. Our enemies and allies now respect us (even if they grumble about a possible trade war that won’t happen).
Trump’s tariffs are receiving a lot of coverage in the media but some perspective is in order. These are really just the start of negotiations, not a permanent change in policy etched in stone. As soon as America’s trade partners and competitors realize Trump means what he says and henceforth adjust their own customs then “order” will be restored. When this happens, it will give #NeverTrumpers one less thing to gripe about.
They seem to hold “free trade” as though it were some sacred right granted by God. If only all nations viewed trade the same way there wouldn’t be a problem, would there? But as Trump’s pointed out repeatedly, China and other nations – including some of our “friends” – have been fixing their own rules and currencies for decades, leading to the near complete eradication of the manufacturing sector in this country and resulting in massive trade deficits.
Buchanan claims China’s used the trade surplus with the U.S. to pay for their massive military build-up. Anyone want to argue that point?
For every assertion anti-Trump folks make about the president being the second coming of political Satan there’s an equally effective response suggesting he’s been great for the GOP and the country. Which brings me back to my initial point – are #NeverTrumpers just doing this because they’re lonely and in need of attention?
Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote at National Review, “Along with declines in the number of people hearing the commandment to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself,’ there is a predictable decline in neighborliness itself. Fewer Americans know their next-door neighbors. Fewer still regularly interact with them. Personally, this is the change I’ve noticed most in my own life. On a larger level, there are declines in everyday charity and philanthropy, and declines in civic and ethnic organizations.
“When I talk to people, I refer to these trends as the depletion and disappearance of a social treasury. GDP goes up. Incomes sometimes go up. Real wages tick up. But, at a basic level, people live in a world where fewer and fewer people owe them consideration, compassion, favors, tips for getting ahead in a career, or consolation for getting through life’s disasters.
“This is the background noise behind our politics today. And it is unsurprising that the two insurgent ideological trends on the left and on the right — socialism and nationalism, respectively — emphasize shared burdens, our duties to one another.”
Dougherty’s is a good point. The “nationalism” #NeverTrumpers hate so much is really just a traditional call among patriotic folks for Americans to rally to the flag and place America’s interests first, above those of foreigners. Last time I checked “Americans” is all inclusive regardless of race, religion or identity. “Americans” doesn’t ask you what your sexual orientation is or if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, or even where you came from.
President Trump’s extended an opened hand to anyone who wishes to join his mission to make America great again. Democrats, led by the Maxine Waterses of the world, rejected his invitation. It looks like #NeverTrumpers are passing too. But divorcing the party won’t save it.
Jonathan S. Tobin wrote at National Review, “Some Republicans, including many who opposed Trump’s nomination in 2016, are still uncomfortable with the president. But if they not only remain Republicans but also aim to reelect a GOP Congress and Trump himself, it is because he has mostly governed as a conservative and because giving the reins to the likes of Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren would be a greater disaster than anything that could happen under Trump.
“Making such a judgment doesn’t make ostriches out of Trump supporters. It is merely a rational choice in an imperfect world. The jump-ship contingent of the GOP seems so deranged by personal pique, rooted more in class than the issues, that they have lost the ability to assess the options and their consequences. They bask in the praise of a liberal media that flatter them for their ‘courage,’ but it is the Never Trumpers who have abandoned conservatism.”
Well put. The alternative (Democrats) is so awful there’s really only one recourse for conservatives and the vast majority are taking it.
Luckily for conservatives President Trump has lived up to his campaign promises and is leading the most principled government since Ronald Reagan. Trump’s “conservative” opponents won’t acknowledge the writing on the wall, leaving them alone and outside the party. Literally.