The Shameful Disdain of the #NeverTrumps
The worst sin of the #NeverTrumps is their blatant ridicule of the people who voted for President Trump and support his administration. Ranging from published screeds and Twitter tirades to disparaging remarks on national television, the #NeverTrumps (whether some still identify themselves as such or not) treat Trump supporters with contempt and condescension, as unimportant and insignificant lesser beings. Their stance too often seems not so much “Never Trump” as the even more politically nonsensical, “Never Trump’s People.”
As they pay homage to their principles and fret about the stain and stink that Trump and his supporters create, #NeverTrumps make it difficult to refute DNC Chair Tom Perez’s recent accusation that “Republicans don’t give a sh*t about the people.”
#NeverTrumps appear to reveal a strain of conservatism that could not (nor do they want it to) be modified with the adjective, “compassionate.” Back in 2012, National Review senior editor Jonah Goldberg, although he wrote that he didn’t like the phrase “compassionate conservatism” for its big government implications, admitted that caring about people was part of a winning strategy.
Lately, however, he and other #NeverTrump-ers seem to say (to update a famous quip by Tony Blair of Bush-era “compassionate conservatism”): “We’re not going to help you and we’re really not sorry about it.”
That’s the impression left by fellow National Review contributor, Kevin Williamson, when last year he let it be known that he was not a bit sorry about his advice to suffering working class communities because they “deserve to die.”
In reaction to some of Goldberg’s “heartless lecturing,” writer Mark Judge asked the question, “Has Jonah ever dug a ditch?” Such lecturing, devoid of empathy and compassion, often does solidify the impression that conservatives have neither.
Goldberg also once wrote that the purpose of conservative commentary was to shape a conservative electorate, which lately seems to mean rhetorical beating of Trump supporters that will continue until their voting habits improve. Other #NeverTrump-ers have gone straight for the plank, calling for them to be “purged” or “blackballed” from the party.
Perhaps these conservatives have grown tired of “shaping” or merely assume that the purpose of their principles -- for the good of the people -- simply goes without saying. To this reader, however, it is too often either overlooked or unexplained, and in my opinion, was candidate Romney’s greatest downfall. That omission by #NeverTrump-ers, when combined with open disdain of those who disagree with them, creates an unattractiveness that is anything but winning in politics.
There was “almost too much concern and attention for, quote, the people,” Kristol complained back in 1996, so “[w]e at the Weekly Standard are pulling up the drawbridge against the peasants.” Twenty years later Kristol tweets that Trump’s travel ban and #MAGA and “America First” are all “boob bait for the bubbas.”
Many #NeverTrumps refer to Trump’s supporters as “Trumpkins.” Goldberg once described them as “masses of beer-muscled goons and sycophants stomping their feet over the object of their man-crushes.” To Williamson they’re “intellectually and morally stunted oompa loompas.” Mona Charen tweeted that they’re “a disgrace.”
George Will lamented that “conservatism” has been “soiled by scowling primitives whose irritable gestures lack mental ingredients” and also “hijacked” by “vulgarians.”
The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes wrote that Trump supporters are “beyond shame.” Blaze editor Leon Wolf tweeted: “I block Trump supporters on sight. There's no point in treating them like actual people.”
Other slurs: Trump supporters should wear a scarlet T, are not “real Christians,” are whores, sellouts, cowards, quislings, and throne-sniffers.
More of #NeverTrump-ers’ worst comments through last August were compiled and alphabetized here in what author Diana West called “The Right’s Anti-Trump Lexicon.” They’re still at it.
And in case you’re still wondering if they’re really only “NeverTrump” and not “NeverTrump’s People” -- Republican consultant Amanda Carpenter set the record straight with this tweet: “Never Trump means never for those who endorse him, too.”
The “unhealthy obsession of Trump’s conservative critics” who are “utterly out of touch with rank-and-file conservatives,” wrote David Limbaugh, “is a particularly bitter pill to swallow because they believe they are the main arbiters of what conservatism means.”
The editors of the conservative bulwark National Review recently debated whether America is a nation or an idea in their 4th of July podcast. The affirmative responses to Rich Lowry’s exit question, “If America had different ideals, would you still love her?” seemed to especially vex Goldberg, who followed up with a piece titled, “When Would You Stop Loving America?”
Goldberg concluded, after concocting a scenario where Americans voted to make Kim Kardashian queen and to throw away the Constitution:
My hunch is Rich et al. would still love America, but you know what America they would love? The America That Was. They might even join the resistance to the regime of Queen Kim…in an effort to restore self-government to America. And here’s the funny thing: They’d be fighting against the American nation in the name of that great and glorious cause, the American Idea. And that’s the crucial difference.
I think Goldberg is wrong: the crucial difference is that we shouldn’t be fighting against the nation, nor simply for an idea. We should be fighting for the people.
In a lecture on America’s founding, Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn observed that the last sentence of the Declaration embodied “how people talk on a battlefield when they are ready to die for each other.”
“Each other.” People, not “principles.”
Certainly, those principles did become the bedrock of our nation’s founding, and yes, a nation does consist of a body of laws and system of government and has borders and ideals. But isn’t it all of that really of, and by, and for: the people?
Yet many in the #NeverTrump conservative movement tend not only to focus on ideals and principles to the exclusion of the people, but also to reveal what seems to be their conditional love -- one that only certain people, and certainly not the “deplorable” kind, deserve.
G.K. Chesterton in his book, Orthodoxy, once wrote about the need of an unconditional love as a prelude to the greatness of a nation, which he summed up: “Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her.”
And if these voices of conservatism continue to “insist that adhering more strictly to the mechanisms of the Constitution…will rescue us,” argued Deion Kathawa, they’ve put the cart before the horse. It’s the people, who, before a real restoration to Constitutional principles is possible, must “reawaken to the great promise, traditions, and heritage” that is America.
Perhaps the beginning of that reawakening was voting for the candidate who emphasizes and promises the restoration of America’s greatness, the preservation of Western values, and the return of power back to the people -- i.e, conservative ideas.
The #NeverTrumps need to wake up and appreciate the people who elected him.