#NeverTrumps: Hoping Trump Fails to Make America Great Again
Back in 2009, Rush Limbaugh was pilloried by the mainstream media for admitting he hoped that President Obama would fail. Today, we have #NeverTrump Republicans hoping that Donald Trump fails.
Although the media framed Limbaugh’s remark as a slur against Obama, Rush explained that it wasn’t personal, it was business. As a conservative, he did not want Obama’s stated plans to successfully transform the nation into a statist government.
But the NeverTrumps’ business about Trump is personal.
Obviously NeverTrumps’ personal careers as political strategists would be saved from failure in an “I told you so, he could never beat Hillary” sort of way, as in this recent tweet by NeverTrump Erick Erickson of The Resurgent: “All you guys saying those opposed to Trump are helping Hillary ignore that we warned you as far back as January that Trump [could not] beat her.”
But the NeverTrump personal vendetta goes much deeper than that. Take a look at this CNN clip and see NeverTrump Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol berate a Trump supporter that she should be “embarrassed to support” a “bully, a man of genuinely bad character” who is “discrediting conservatism” and needs to be “severed” from it.
Those comments about Trump weren’t part of a larger discussion on Trump’s stated plans to Make America Great Again. They were about Trump the person, the feelings of “Conservatives,” and the reputation of “Conservatism” (and thereby the reputations of professional Conservatives).
It certainly seems that NeverTrumps want Trump to fail even if he accomplished nothing other than preventing Hillary from becoming President and completing Obama’s transformation. Even if Trump or any of his policies truly would make America great again.
Because apparently to NeverTrumps, the reputation of Pure Conservative Principles, as they define and lecture on them, are more important than American Greatness, as defined and lived by impure, ordinary voters, most of whom consider themselves conservative.
It’s a reputation that would be “stained by a Trump administration,” according to WSJ columnist Bret Stephens, in a way that “would cripple the conservative cause for a generation” and “permanently laying to rest any claim conservatives might ever again make on the character issue.” That was in a piece Stephens titled “Hillary, the Conservative Hope.”
Never mind that “no Congress could stop a President Hillary Clinton,” as noted by Dennis Prager, who “would finish the job her predecessor started: fundamentally transforming the United States of America, perhaps forever.”
Yet Stephens seems to think that his prescription of “political hygiene” and a freshly-cleansed conservative movement could wipe away a transformation solidified by a left-leaning Supreme Court and millions of new votes after a Hillary amnesty. As Daniel Henninger wrote, “The idea that a President Cruz or Kasich will ‘roll it all back’ in 2020 after 12 years of the federal cement drying is just not serious.”
But NeverTrumps are seriously working to ensure that Trump fails. Hugely. Stephens hopes Trump is the “biggest loser in presidential history.”
Trump’s voters, in the minds of NeverTrumps, need to feel the failure too.
NeverTrumps “can’t just settle for him being beaten in November,” wrote NeverTrump Republican consultant and self-described “principled conservative” Rick Wilson. They must “ensure that [Trump] is on the business end of a decisive, humiliating defeat -- so that the terribly divisive forces he has unleashed are delivered a death blow.”
“It’s important,” Stephens said on CNN, “that Donald Trump and what he represents -- this kind of ethnic quote ‘conservatism’ or populism -- be so decisively rebuked that the Republican party, the Republican voters learn their lesson.”
“So when it's over, Trumpkins,” wrote Wilson, “remember: You're not purging us. We're purging you.”
To apply the wisdom of NeverTrump Kevin Williamson to the Trump voting community: It “deserves to die,” and those voters need to rent U-Hauls and “get out of” the party. Leaving only the purest of pure conservatives in the shrunken Republican tent.
That’s another revelation we have Trump’s highlighter to thank: NeverTrump Republicans never really liked the majority of voters in their own party, much less the ones they were trying to win over from the other.
Prominent NeverTrumps who provide numerous anti-Trump diatribes for national publication and network news (i.e., the Hillary campaign) still insist that they will make no difference anyway in this election with their “one vote.”
“’I cannot see myself voting for Trump’” and “I, me, mine” are the common refrains noted by Breitbart’s Joel Pollak in the tweets and articles of the “self-obsessed” NeverTrumps.
Ted Cruz, in his notorious non-endorsement speech at the RNC, spoke the magical words, “vote your conscience” -- music to the ears of moral narcissists.
Moral narcissism is the subject of Roger L. Simon’s new book, I Know Best. In his comments on Simon’s book, Peter Berkowitz described the phenomenon as “intellectual rigidity, self-righteousness, and disdain for those who disagree.”
Those words may explain the hundreds of pages against Trump and his voters penned by NeverTrumps at publications such as National Review.
In a piece published after his book’s release, Simon commented that he could have dedicated a chapter to the pure moral narcissism of, for example, the position of another famous NeverTrump, columnist George Will.
The mirror of a moral narcissist leaves no room for a reflection on strategy if it requires pragmatism or compromise. NeverTrumps see this election in all-or-nothing terms. To them, nothing Trump offers is justification to support him; likewise, they assume that Trump voters agree with everything Trump says and does, frequently writing about them “bending the knee.”
Read this assertion by NeverTrump Ben Shapiro in his National Review piece on “conservatism’s moral crisis” and spot the moral superiority:
If you believe that the only solution to America’s problems is true conservatism, your greatest fear is not a Hillary presidency: It’s the perversion of the conservative movement itself, the corruption of conservatism in favor of power. Hillary Clinton’s presidency does not snuff out conservatism, even though it provides a serious danger to the republic. Trump’s presidency does.
The piece ended with this moral admonition: “If [conservatives] embrace Trump, his stink will be on them and the conservative movement for generations to come.”
What Shapiro fails to acknowledge, however, is the “stink” that comes from aligning with the Democrat-media complex against Trump and his voters.
Really, the only difference between Khizr Khan’s righteous waving of a copy of the Constitution at Trump at the DNC is that the NeverTrumps wrap their copy in a bundle of virtue-signaling articles.
National Review’s NeverTrump Jonah Goldberg, who once wrote that the purpose of conservative commentary was to help “shape a conservative electorate,” apparently believes that includes rhetorical beating of Trump supporters which will continue until their morality improves.
A few months’ worth of beatings by Goldberg et al was compiled by author Diana West in a list on her blog titled “The Right’s Donald Trump Lexicon.” And yes, those nasties were from many of the same NeverTrumps who base their argument against Trump on character and morals.
Laura Ingraham argues that this election does represent “a moral choice”:
That's the choice the NeverTrumpers have made — a decision to do nothing, to wash their hands of the election, of the Republican Party, of the country itself. That may represent some people's version of morality. But it's not mine.
So while the NeverTrumps get their airtime on CNN panels and joke around with Democrat Trump-bashers, the Democrat-media complex knows it has the last laugh: After Hillary, constitutional principles will be irreparably damaged, along with the economy, national security, etc., etc.
But that’s not what NeverTrumps worry about. As Stephens fretted: “Come January, Mrs. Clinton will likely be president. Whether there is a GOP that can still lay a claim to moral and political respectability is another question.”
Framed that way, such a question makes one wonder what it is exactly that the NeverTrump brand of “conservatism” is supposed to conserve, much less make great again.
Follow Cindy on Twitter @simpsonreport