#NeverTrump: The media is using you as pawns. Don't let them.

The media's unbridled giddiness over the #NeverTrump camp's worsening Trump Derangement Syndrome is palpable.

Without delving into the debate on the merits of the #NeverTrump movement, it is painfully clear that at this point, the #NeverTrump movement is aiding and abetting the left.

There's no question that many in the #NeverTrump movement aren't just refusing to vote for Trump; they actually want Hillary Clinton to win.  But even if you think that's insane, there's an enormous difference between wanting Donald Trump to lose and legitimizing the left's unrelenting assault on our values.  The former is a short-term political calculation; the latter is a massive strategic blunder.

It appears that #NeverTrump Republicans, who receive ample air time from the press that adores them for their implicit commitment to electing Hillary Clinton, are happy to validate every left-wing talking point, every calumny, so long as it damages Trump.    

The hordes of #NeverTrump Republicans pervading the airwaves to supply political analysis in the aftermath of the Orlando terrorist attack crystalize this phenomenon.  They're not on TV to defend the Second Amendment, or to explain to the ignorant media elites what an "assault" rifle is.  Nor are they there to describe the threat posed by radical Islam, or make the case for why the Obama administration has been an abject failure in the fight against barbaric savages.  They're certainly not on TV to rebut the leftist narrative blaming American culture and Republicans for the Orlando massacre, a narrative underscored by a vile New York Times editorial.

No, instead of pushing back, the media's #NeverTrump darlings obsequiously oblige the media's Trump-bashing and are routinely baited by the media into attacking Trump.              

This is criminally shortsighted and negligent.  Like all political actors, Trump is a transient phenomenon, whereas the battle for the soul of our republic is perennial.  If you're willing to allow the left's propagandists in the mainstream media to bait you into accepting left-wing dogma, then you're not on the winning side of the battle.

The #NeverTrump camp could distance itself from Trump, even ridicule him, while at the same time forcefully counter the left's narratives.  Not liking Trump and opposing the left aren't mutually exclusive.  It should be every conservative's duty to rebut dishonest left-wing propaganda.  Prioritizing Trump-bashing over rejecting the malicious notion that Trump's rhetoric is strengthening ISIS or that alleged American homophobia is responsible for Orlando is surrendering to the left.  It is sacrificing long-term strategic imperatives (leftism vs. American exceptionalism) for short-term  gain (Trump losing).

In the wake of the Orlando terrorist attacks, the left and their media allies have employed a military maneuver known as the pincer: they're attacking conservatives simultaneously on both flanks.

On one flank, the left is exploiting an attack carried out by an Islamist terrorist to push for overreaching gun control measures, repeatedly misrepresenting, either deliberately or out of ignorance, what so-called assault weapons actually are and the fact that if we enforced the law, there's a high likelihood that the Orlando shooter wouldn't have been allowed to purchase a gun.  That is not to say that we couldn't do more to prevent ISIS sympathizers from buying guns; it is to say that the left's end goal extends beyond making tweaks to federal gun legislation.                

On the other flank, the left-leaning media is feverishly downplaying the incontrovertible Islamist roots of the attack by slandering Republicans and pro-traditional marriage Americans for cultivating a "culture of hate" against the LGBT community that planted the seeds for this massacre.

Of course, this kind of abominable scapegoating is nothing new.  The far left exploits nearly every tragedy to push an ideological agenda.  In 2011, before the blood was dry in a Casas Adobes, Arizona supermarket parking lot, where Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and eighteen others were shot by a madman, The New York Times columnist Paul Krugman penned an op-ed blaming Sarah Palin and the Tea Party for the murder.  Over the next several weeks, the mainstream press legitimized the libelous accusation.

In 2012, following a mass shooting inside a movie cinema in Aurora, Colorado, ABC's Brian Ross bizarrely noted that there was a Colorado Tea Party activist with the same name as the shooter.  That was just a coincidence, but the fact that a supposedly objective news reporter's first instinct in the aftermath of a mass shooting was to see if the shooter was a member of the Tea Party is the ultimate indictment on the media's perverse mindset.

And now, as Democrats, the professional left, and their media allies politicize the terrorist attack by pushing the gun control and the phony "culture of hate" narratives to divert attention from the undeniable Islamist threat that has now manifested itself on U.S. soil in multiple deadly incidents, the #NeverTrump folks are eagerly taking the bait, excoriating Trump for his proposal to halt immigration and travel from certain regions that disproportionately breed jihad (notice he's no longer talking about a "Muslim ban"),  and for his relatively trivial gaffe that the Islamic terrorist was born in Afghanistan.

While the piling on may hurt Trump, the more consequential result is that it helps the left.

I know most of the #NeverTrump crowd vehemently opposes the left's narratives and ideological agenda.  But blinded by their Trump-hatred, they appear to be oblivious to the fact that their inability to deftly pivot from disagreeing with Trump to countering the media's left-wing talking points is aiding and abetting the left.

Don't like Trump?  Won't vote for him?  Fine.  But don't lose sight of the bigger conflict between the left and the right, between two competing visions for our country.  Understand that the media is using you as pawns in their war on our values.  Fight back as hard as if your preferred Republican had won the nomination, because I know that you know the media would be viciously attacking any other Republican nominee right now.  They are not anti-Trump so much as they're pro-Hillary, and more broadly, pro-left.

Eugene Slaven is a freelance writer and the author of the comedy thriller A Life of Misery and Triumph.  Follow Eugene on Twitter @eslaven or connect with him on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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