Better Late than #NeverTrump

Democrats have done the once-unthinkable.

No, they didn’t ultimately obstruct or delay the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (which has a nice ring to it). But they have been so dastardly, dishonest, and politically conniving in their efforts to publicly smear Kavanaugh without any corroborating evidence that they’ve possibly converted some of the #NeverTrump coalition.

We conservatives are generally thankful for Trump’s role in nurturing Kavanaugh’s confirmation by not pulling his nomination as Democrats hoped, or perhaps - even expected - that he might, after an allegation by Christine Blasey Ford came to light. But there’s importance in the revelation that Bret Stephens, the in-house conservative for the New York Times and #NeverTrump extraordinaire, explicitly says that he is thankful for Trump, in an opinion piece titled, “For Once, I’m Grateful for Trump.”

“For the first time since Trump entered the political fray,” he writes, “I’m thankful that he’s in it.” “I’m grateful,” he continues, “because Trump has not backed down in the face of the slipperiness, hypocrisy, and dangerous standard-setting deployed by opponents of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.”

This is an endorsement of Trump, however soft, and it’s the only thing close to praise of Trump that Stephens has offered, to my knowledge. (He was hammered by the Times’ readers and leftists everywhere for it, of course.) Without Democrats’ shenanigans to defame Kavanaugh without evidence, though, I can’t imagine he would have ever offered it.

But here’s a firmer endorsement.

Influential conservative author Erick Erickson writes:

I find myself in an odd position where, for the first time, I see myself, one of the original so-called “Never Trump conservatives,” voting for Trump in 2020. […]

Trump may have criticized Kavanaugh’s first accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, in a way I found inappropriate for a president to do, but his opponents have thrown out the millennia-old principle that a man is to be presumed innocent. The president may have enacted tariffs I find harmful to the economy, but his opponents are willfully destroying a good, innocent man so they can keep destroying children. […]

Between Trump and his opposition, I would rather vote for him, despite his flaws, than for his opponents who want a flawless progressive utopia. Trump is neither an ambassador for my values nor the articulate champion of my principles that I’d prefer. But he is the safe harbor in a progressive storm that seeks to both destroy my values and upend our constitutional republic. [Emphasis added]

That last sentence indeed summarizes everything at stake. And in response to Erickson’s revelation, I would ask -- what took you so long?

Trump was never my ideal candidate. I supported Cruz in the 2016 primary. But as I observed then, I saw his appeal to the American everyman. And as I’ve observed since, I don’t think Cruz would have won the votes needed to win the presidency in 2016 by winning several states in the Blue Wall as Trump did. Trump’s protectionism, while I staunchly disagree with his tariff policy, was a key factor in winning those states. It was something with which I disagreed, and with which I still disagree, but I still voted for him because I knew what was at stake, and what the political agenda that Democrats represent.

It’s mind-boggling that such a great thinker as Erickson only now seems to realize that the choice is binary between a party which wishes to preserve our values and our constitutional republic, however unsatisfactorily in some respects, and a party which wishes to “destroy” our “values and upend our constitutional republic.” Democrats have not promised anything but the latter.

So, for that, I suppose we can be thankful that Democrats have so exposed themselves by strapping on the political suicide vest in attempting to derail Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The great hope of the Blue Wave was predicated upon capitalizing upon anti-Trump feelings and capturing those voters’ affections. In these past weeks, Democrats have achieved the opposite.

Democrats have galvanized a formerly-splintered Republican base, and have caused #NeverTrumpers like Brett Stephens, perhaps, to recognize that millions of Americans, like me, who voted for Trump in spite of his not being my perfect candidate, appreciated the fact that he’s a puncher who won’t take unfounded political intimidation lying down. As Stephens writes, “I’ll admit to feeling grateful that, in Trump, at least one big bully was willing to stand up to others.”

Yeah. Us, too. That’s why we voted for him.

Democrats have also caused Erick Erickson to finally realize that Democrats will stop at nothing to destroy everything that we hold dear, including due process, our values, and our constitutional republic, and that Trump is the only logical, politically practical alternative to that.

Welcome to the club. We’re glad to see that you seem to understand why we conservatives voted for Donald Trump, Mr. Erickson, rather than casting a protest vote in 2016 which would allow Hillary Clinton, and the party that just tried to destroy Brett Kavanaugh, a better chance at destroying our American values and our constitutional republic.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.