Thanks, NeverTrumpers. Are You Happy Now?

NeverTrump Republicans have been rabidly obsessed since 2015 to prevent Donald Trump’s nomination, election, and having failed, to join the left in nonstop criticism and condemnation of President Trump. They may be succeeding, but to what end? As they look around at the current political landscape, are they truly happy with the direction of the country? Or is that irrelevant, as long as they can strut around on their high horse, feeling smug, telling each other “I told you so”?

The NeverTrump movement began shortly after Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency. So-called “principled Republicans” were incensed that a loud-mouth from Queens, a TV reality star, a host of beauty pageants, someone never before elected to public office, should challenge the Republican establishment orthodoxy.

His tweets and straight talk were unacceptable. Calling out the media and his political opponents ran against the grain of how they thought Republicans should handle themselves in a presidential campaign. Trump did not follow the proper and acceptable savoir faire of John McCain or Mitt Romney, two prominent NeverTrumpers. The fact that both lost their elections to an easily defeatable far-left candidate who damaged the country badly during his eight-year reign of “fundamentally transforming America” seems to be lost on Trump’s GOP critics.

The NeverTrump names are familiar. Aside from the two noted above, there are others, all one-time Republicans, although their conservative beliefs have been tossed out the window over political expediency or ego. George Will, Max Boot, Steve Schmidt, Bret Stephens, Jennifer Rubin, and anyone with the last name of Bush. There are many in Congress too – Paul Ryan, Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Bob Corker, and others.

Some of them left the party, with great fanfare, securing regular bookings on CNN and MSNBC to trash Trump and his deplorable supporters. They were puzzled why every Republican didn’t leave the party. They hoped for electoral success for the Democrats, the same political party they once criticized. After the midterm elections, they should be ecstatic.

By historical standards, Trump and the Republicans did well in the 2018 midterms. The number of House seats lost was comparable to Ronald Reagan in his first midterm election, and far less than Bill Clinton or Barack Obama lost in their first midterms. Republicans actually gained Senate seats, or so it seemed on election night.

Slowly but steadily the election is being overturned. Republican victories on election night are either being contested or have already been overturned, a week later morphing into Democrat victories. Funny that. Were any election night Democrat victories overturned a week later due to the miracle of uncounted or provisional ballots? Election thievery, similar to deep state justice, seems to go in only one direction.

The Senate majority, assuming it holds, is a slim one, with no certainty of holding the Republican coalition together given the whims of NeverTrumpers Murkowski, Collins, and a resurrected John McCain in the form of Senator Mitt Romney. Will the next Supreme Court nominee be easily confirmed or will one of them channel their inner McCain, strolling into the Senate chamber with his or her thumb pointed downward?

As Mrs. Clinton said after her electoral surprise two years ago, “What Happened?” There are many answers, but much lies at the feet of NeverTrumpers, particularly those in Congress. How many Senators and Representatives believed the Russian collusion hoax, invented by Obama and dutifully reported by the media to the point where they were expecting that Trump would either resign or be impeached before he served one year in office? How many Republicans chose to retire at the end of this Congress, choosing to not go down with what they perceived as a sinking Trump ship, rather than keep their safe incumbent seats, and therefore the House majority?

Trump’s signature issues on the campaign trail were immigration and healthcare. He promised to “Build the wall” and “Repeal Obamacare”. Yet he could do neither alone. Both required the assistance of Congress, which was lacking despite these issues being the primary reason Congress was in Republican hands.

Congressional leaders balked at funding a border wall, instead choosing to fund Planned Parenthood. The “skinny repeal” of Obamacare crashed and burned when NeverTrump Senator No-Name figuratively gave President Trump the middle finger, but almost literally gave the Senate vote counter a thumbs down, killing the repeal.

Was Congressional resistance over policy? Perhaps a little was but most was simply a NeverTrump poke in the eye to the president and his agenda. Not only legislatively did NeverTrumpers hurt their party, but also in giving a reason for the Trump base to not turn out as they did in 2016. The Washington Post looked at turnout by party for the past few elections.

In the 2014 midterms, 4 million more Republicans voted than Democrats. In 2018 it was the opposite, as the chart below demonstrates. In addition, in 2018, Democrats turned out 79 percent of their 2016 presidential election voters, compared to only 75 percent for Republicans. Turnout wins elections, but Trump voters may not have turned out to vote for those shouting “NeverTrump!” Despite Trump’s involvement in the midterm campaigns, he wasn’t on the ballot, but members of Congress were.


Source: Washington Post

In my local Congressional dis­­­trict, Rep Mike Coffman was a NeverTrump Republican; his main campaign message was how he would “stand up to President Trump”. How did the midterms turn out for him? Perhaps GOP voters stood up to Mike and sat the election out, since both he and his Democrat opponent were NeverTrump.

In 2016, Coffman won 192 thousand votes, earning reelection compared to 160 thousand votes for his Democrat opponent. In 2018, he only received 146 thousand votes while his Democrat opponent won 184 thousand votes. The Democrat won this year, but with fewer votes than C­­­­offman received 2 years ago. Instead, Coffman only garnered only 76 percent of the votes he received just 2 years ago. How much was due to his NeverTrump stance?

Nationwide, Republicans stayed home last week. As this chart from the Washington Post demonstrates, 13 states had Democrat vote counts surpassing 2016. Republicans didn’t come close to their 2016 vote counts in any state.

Perhaps voters delivered a message for NeverTrumpers in Congress. If you oppose our President, we oppose you. Democrats will oppose Trump but at least they are honest about it. Retiring Speaker Paul Ryan never missed an opportunity to criticize the President, most recently saying he "knows nothing about" birthright citizenship. In other words, if both choices, the Democrat and the Republican are anti-Trump, why bother voting?

NeverTrump commentators didn’t hold back either. Max Boot said, “Donald Trump is the worst person ever to be president.” George Will called Trump, “A sad, embarrassing wreck of a man.” Steve Schmidt, who ran McCain’s losing presidential campaign said, “I left the Republican Party. Now I want Democrats to take over.”

Well boys, you have your wish. The party you once were a part of is now in the hands of Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Adam Schiff. Your one-time conservative goal of smaller government, a conservative judiciary, and freedom and liberty for all is heading to the waste bin of history. Thanks to your constant haranguing you will instead enjoy illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, identity politics, mob harassment, and a paralyzed Republican president.

Your resistance to everything and anything Trump is coming home to roost. Open borders will shift the electoral demographics a permanent shade of blue, the electoral college soon out of reach of any conservative Republican presidential candidate. NeverTrumpers who once revered Reagan, through their myopic pettiness, have given us Kyrsten Sinema and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the new faces of the Democrat Party.

All because you don’t like Trump’s tweets or how he revoked drama queen Jim Acosta’s press pass. Thanks a lot.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook,  LinkedIn and Twitter.

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