NeverTrump: Leftism by association
I cherish my friendships and try not to let politics interfere. Nevertheless, it's been interesting to see that the NeverTrump phenomenon has turned friends who were once stalwart conservatives into leftists.
Conservatism was a brute-force intellectual effort as I struggled with the cognitive dissonance of the real world versus Democrat policies. While I was slowly and delicately feeling my way toward conservatism, I became good friends with two colleagues (neither of whom knew the other then or now knows the other).
Both my friends were lifelong Republicans and, from our conversations, genuine conservatives. They wanted small government, secure borders, the rule of law, strict constructionist judges on the federal bench, low taxes, individual liberty, a powerful Second Amendment, and so forth. Solid conservatives, as I said.
But then something happened to change everything, and that something was Donald Trump. I was initially opposed to Trump, preferring Ted Cruz's powerful grasp of the Constitution. However, once Trump's inevitability became clear, I began to look beyond the bombast and idiosyncrasies and, instead, to focus on the policies he was advocating.
That's how I figured out that, while Trump didn't speak the pure language of conservatism, he was promoting policies that promised to return America to a more sane time: smaller government, lower taxes, stronger borders, international alliances for America's benefit, strict-constructionist judges, etc. What was also apparent was that Hillary's corruption and ineptitude, when combined with her hard-left policies, would destroy America. (You can see that I was right because Biden is Hillary in men's clothing and with even less charm, if that's possible.)
The obvious answer was to vote for Trump. I did; he won; and America became a better place despite the Democrats' historic obstruction — everything from the Russia hoax to hoax impeachments to fights over the wall.
My two friends, though, like many others who considered themselves conservative centrists, found Trump so repugnant that they couldn't vote for him. Note that I didn't say "wouldn't." I said "couldn't." He repulsed them at a visceral, irrational, impossible-to-override level. Some pulled the lever for Hillary; others abstained.
After the election, some NeverTrumps, seeing Trump in action, came around. Others didn't. You know the big names — people such as Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, and Nicole Wallace, and, of course, the Lincoln Project guys.
All of them began to make money by voicing NeverTrump opinions. They kept making money by calling themselves Republicans, even as they advanced entirely Democrat ideas. Money will do that, as well as the fact that they were interacting directly with leftists and, not unreasonably, wanted their colleagues' respect and friendship.
What's been more interesting to me is seeing that my two friends, once conservative stalwarts, have also become increasingly Democrat in their views on everything from judges to borders to the Second Amendment to the cultural inroads of the LGBT crowd. My friends do not earn money by embracing these ideas — yet they've still shifted their values.
Thinking about it, I realized this is the power of the media. If my friends wanted to hear news castigating Trump as they believed he deserved to be, they had to tune out Fox and tune in to CNN, MSNBC, NPR, PBS, ABC, etc. What happened to them wasn't only that they got the satisfaction of hearing their Trump-hatred validated, but they also started being inundated with the entire leftist agenda, both foreign and domestic.
If two mature, stable, thoughtful men can drift left from four years of exposure to the drive-by media, just imagine the fight we're in to bring back to rationality young people who have been inundated since kindergarten with leftist theology about government, sovereignty, foreign policy, and social issues. How do you explain the Constitution to someone who knows it's a slave document? How do you explain sovereignty to someone who believes in one-world government?
Winning the White House isn't enough. We have a tough row to hoe if we are to educate people about the exceptional virtues of their own country and the merits of conservative policies, which best serve the greatest number of free people in a constitutional republic.
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