The reluctant Trumper
Many Progressives and NeverTrump conservatives are certain that once they convince their pro-Trump or Trump-ambivalent friends that he is a deeply flawed person, they will see the light and oppose the president reflexively. The fault in this reasoning is that to many Trump-supporters (especially the reluctant ones), his flaws are manifest. They know that he lacks subtlety, wit, and a deep intellectual understanding of most issues. They have already discounted these facts in their assessment and have chosen to support him, though sometimes grudgingly.
Some on the right have waited a lifetime for a Republican president willing to take on thorny issues that can draw a ferocious response from the Left, while sending timid souls on the right to the fainting couch in fear of the horror of being called a racist.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.
One example of this is Trump's openness to dismantling the policy of disparate impact (in federal regulations. Under this policy, private- and public-sector actors could be held liable for policies that have a disproportionate effect on minorities despite a lack of discriminatory intent. If you happen to think America's legal system has been tying itself in knots for 50 years to accommodate black underrepresentation in many fields, this policy change is long overdue. No one could imagine "Gentleman Republicans" like Bush I, Bush II, McCain, and Romney ever considering such a policy shift, even if they thought it proper. To some, the boy who says the emperor has no clothes is appreciated despite the boy's cringe-worthy tweets.
Other heterodox policy shifts, like reversing our military overreach or attempting to reduce mass unskilled immigration, are also uniquely appreciated because the "Gentlemen Republicans" would have continued on the opposite path. To some, Trump is a useful tool (double entendres intended) against decades of bad policy either ossified in political correctness or never re-evaluated due to inertia.
Perhaps a parallel to this Trump calculus would be the hypothetical 1990s Progressives who rightly saw Bill Clinton as a serial abuser of women who was unburdened by any attachment to the truth yet protected abortion at every opportunity. Such Progressives could have conceivably seen Clinton's ugliness for exactly what it was, yet they calculated that he was essential to maintain a woman's "right to choose."
But I suspect that most reluctant Trumpers are more honest about Trump's flaws than any Clinton apologist a generation ago.
Randy Boudreaux is an attorney in New Orleans and treasurer of the Orleans Parish Republican Executive Committee.