NeverTrump Conservatism Has Passed Its Sell-By Date
NeverTrump conservatism has passed its sell-by date. It is a negative asset of the Republican Party. It needs to pack up and move – but not until the movement has been so decisively rebuked that those who are a part of it learn their lesson.
NeverTrumpism reveals an elitist stink that should be eliminated from the GOP in a much needed fumigation. The NeverTrumps wear an embarrassing tattoo that will forever taint them as the left's collaborators and useful idiots. NeverTrumpism harms the causes of the Republican Party and rots the party from within.
If these words sound unserious, overly harsh, over the top, and even a bit hysterical, it's because they are. The NeverTrumps, however, were serious when they used these exact words (and even nastier) numerous times in open disdain for the millions who voted for and support President Trump.
These commentators and consultants, whether or not they still openly admit their NeverTrumpism, deserve to have their own words turned against them. It is these self-appointed standard-bearers of conservatism – not Trump or his supporters – who are making conservatism unattractive and politically unappealing. It is their mocking and judgmental rhetoric against millions in their own party that earns them appearances as "conservatives" in the media dominated by the opposing party.
These NeverTrumps have the power of big platforms and have chosen to use them irresponsibly. Still, without their assistance, the Trump administration has been successfully representing, selling, and implementing conservative policies. It often seems that the NeverTrumps really do not want Trump to make America great again. Nor, apparently, do they want the Republican Party to win future elections, as the bulk of their insults are geared not in the direction of changing minds, but to turning them away.
The NeverTrumps take aim at Trump and his supporters and instead shoot themselves in the electoral foot. They, not Trump voters, are engaged in what Kevin Williamson described as "the political version of masturbation: sterile, fruitless self-indulgence."
"Deserve to die" was the fate Williamson determined for Trump-supporting white working-class communities, "negative assets" whose residents should pack up and leave. Jennifer Rubin believes that Trumpism should not just "die," but "wither" first, and Trump-supporters should be "divorced" from the conservative movement.
It was Bret Stephens (who still admits he wishes Hillary were president), sitting among a sympathetic CNN panel, who said, "It's important 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."
"If [conservatives] embrace [Trump]," wrote Ben Shapiro, "his stink will be on them and the conservative movement for generations to come." Rubin also used the stink theme in another piece, calling for the "much-needed fumigation of the GOP," as did Tom Nichols in his recent column. Stephens also wrote about Trump's "stink" in his piece, "Hillary, the Conservative Hope."
The "blackballing" of Trump's supporters, the brainchild of Amanda Carpenter, was applauded by Leon Wolf, who asserted that the blackballed "have forever forfeited their right to have their opinion taken seriously by conservatives." Rubin and Rick Wilson both called for the GOP to be "purged" of Trumpists.
"Stain" was the theme of a Michael Gerson piece, titled "Republicans Stain Themselves by Sticking with Trump." Gerson also wrote that "the decision [of Republicans] to support Trump" will "follow them for the rest of their lives" like an "embarrassing tattoo." David Brooks also jumped on the "stain" train in his piece "The Republican Fausts." More recently, Brooks lamented the "rot" and "harm" the present GOP, dominated by Trump-supporters, is inflicting on its causes.
Bill Kristol called Trump-supporters "useful idiots." George Will was one of many NeverTrumps who referred to Trump-supporters as "Vichy Republicans" and "collaborationists." When Rick Wilson tweeted, "Vichy Republicans who collaborate with Trump may some day face their own épuration sauvage," Rubin retweeted it with her added comment: "Yes, after the war people will remember on which side everyone fought." Coming from the flip-flopping Rubin, that is especially rich. George Will recently encouraged Republican voters to side against the GOP this November, his concern for "sound governance" apparently drowning out, in his mind, the sound of the increasing violence and leftward shift of the other side.
National Review chose sides in 2016 with its famous issue, "Against Trump," and has continued to publish pieces that seem to reflect a change in its motto to stand athwart the throng of Trump-supporters, yelling: "Go away!"
Trump-supporters yelled: "Let's roll." We saw 2016 as the Flight 93 election and voted to charge the cockpit. Several NeverTrumps argued against that seminal essay by Michael Anton, dismissing both the urgency and direness of the situation and the binary nature of the election. Ben Shapiro called the piece "silly," "incoherent, mind-numbing horses---."
Surreally, it was as though the NeverTrumps shouted, instead of "let's roll," "Let's bash Trump and the millions of his voters!" They had never fought as hard for us as they did against us.
Even now, after Trump's significant conservative achievements, the NeverTrumps haven't stopped their rhetorical beating. Instead, they explain that conservatism, which Shapiro has rightly asserted is "the only solution to our country's woes," takes the credit. They miss an incredible opportunity to win people over and instead work to purge them from the party. As Scott Greer recently tweeted, "[i]t's weird that the people who have the most contempt for Republican voters are Republican campaign consultants."
It's a contempt that has led prominent NeverTrumps into an alignment with the left. Kenneth Vogel reported that "influential liberal donors and operatives have gone from cheering these so-called Never Trump Republicans to quietly working with – and even funding – them." The report goes on to describe the multiple strategy meetings with influential Democrats and NeverTrump attendees such as Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, and Evan McMullin.
A piece at BuzzFeed was published the same day, titled "Don't Make Bill Kristol Run for President."
Let's hope he does. A #NeverKristol campaign would practically write itself. Recall these classic bumper sticker-sized Kristol sentiments that would totally offend the 63 million who voted for Trump, like "MAGA and America First are boob bait for the bubbas," "We're pulling up the drawbridge against the peasants," "The lazy white working class needs to be replaced by immigrants," and "America First is profoundly depressing and vulgar."
Imagine the posters, such as one of Kristol with Oprah, captioned with his statements: "She'd be a better president than Trump" and "#ImWithHer!" Even better, a poster of Kristol shaking hands with his wealthy Democrat donors, captioned, #ImWithThem!
#ImWithHim could be the text of a poster of Kristol with the guy he tried to get to run against Trump at the last minute in 2016, David French, praying his version of the self-righteous Pharisee's prayer, "Thank God I'm not like those Evangelical Christians who support Trump!"
Shorter Kristol: #ImNotWithYou.
The title of "Republican strategist" Rick Wilson's new book, Everything Trump Touches Dies, is more than ironic, since a Wilson (or any prominent NeverTrump) endorsement would render the campaign of any GOP hopeful DOA in the eyes of the millions of offended voters.
The clueless NeverTrump campaign theme for a 2020 primary challenge seems to be developing into "Even though you and the nation are faring better since Trump, he's not a Real Conservative. Vote for a more acceptable Republican next time!"
"Acceptable Republican" was the term used by the astute Byron York when he retweeted Vogel's article with this comment: "Just to note the obvious: Democrats are not doing this in hopes of electing a more acceptable Republican."
Even more obvious: These NeverTrumps are not doing this in hopes of actually electing any Republican. They're working to make sure Trump voters never win again. Like George Will, Nichols admits he hopes the Dems win the 2018 midterms and also that the GOP will be "purged" of Trump-supporters for good, apparently taking their votes with them.
This is all so politically nonsensical that it's insane. And you can't argue against crazy, especially with those who tout themselves as the "experts" or, as Thomas Paine observed, abandon reason for contempt. So, to reverse the words of Rick Wilson, "you [NeverTrumps] are not purging us; we're purging you."
A turnabout of the words of NeverTrump Matt Walsh sums it up best: "it's crucial that we not allow these craven opportunists to pick right up where they left us. We may forgive them if they seek our forgiveness, but we cannot forget, and we cannot rely on their leadership again[.] ... It's a matter of prudence, not revenge."
"Prudence," coincidentally, was listed by Russell Kirk as the fourth of his ten conservative principles.
And "prudence" is the first of many reasons to be a #NeverNeverTrump.
Cindy Simpson is a citizen journalist living in Louisville, Kentucky. Follow Cindy on Twitter at @simpsonreport.
Graphic courtesy of Pixabay.