NeverTrumps, I hope you're happy

Yeah, I'm talking to you, George Will.  I'm talking to you, John Bolton.  I'm talking to you, Peggy Noonan.  I'm talking to you, Mitt Romney.  I'm talking to all the various NeverTrumps who claim to be Republicans or conservatives.

NeverTrumps wanted Donald Trump out of office and out of the Republican Party and GOP politics.  Now, I am not convinced that their lack of support for Donald Trump swung the election in 2020, but they are very probably convinced it did and patted themselves on the back after that election.

Of course, 2020 was a close election, where if in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin, President Trump had gotten 42,921 more votes in the correct numbers in each state, or had 21,461 votes switch from Biden to Trump in the correct numbers in each state, the election would have gone to the House of Representatives, with each state delegation having one vote.  Barring a decision on the part of a number of GOP House members to destroy the party, President Trump would have been re-elected.  As usual, this holds only if the Democrats in each state would not have "found" more votes as needed.

So NeverTrumps got their way.  Trump is not president.  Sure, maybe the policies they support are on the back burner for four years.  Sure, some teens had to lose their genitals.  Sure, our rights like free speech and equal justice under the law had to be eroded, but no mean tweets, no President Trump. 

Still, did NeverTrumps really get their way?  Partly, but where is that guy Donald Trump today?  Curiously, he stands astride their alleged political party.  He is far and away the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, according to polls that have historically underestimated his strength.  There is some chance, maybe a pretty good chance, Donald Trump will be president from January 2025 through January 2029

Think where we could be today, NeverTrumps.  I doubt it, but if NeverTrumps had just sat on their vast influence, maybe President Trump would have gotten those 0.000135 percent of the votes to switch to him in the correct numbers in those three states, and President Trump is currently a lame-duck president serving out the last less than two years of his presidency.  The focus would be less and less on Donald Trump over the next two years and more and more on the looming DeSantis versus Newsom 2024 presidential election.  Sure, there would have been a few more mean tweets out there, but to partially offset that, perhaps a less chaotic border, and all the members of the U.S. Supreme Court could presumably say what a woman is.

I recently asked the 2020 Libertarian voters a similar question — if they were happy that their vote for the Libertarian Party candidate caused possibly the most libertarian president in history to lose — again, barring the Democrats not "finding" more votes as needed.  For NeverTrumps, the question is a bit different.  NeverTrumps wanted Trump out of office and out of Republican Party politics.  Well, Donald Trump does not seem to be the kind of policy wonk to hang around Washington, D.C. after his terms are up, but NeverTrumps seemingly missed that.  Think about how little we hear from George W. Bush or Bill Clinton or Barack Obama day in and day out.  We could be approaching hearing that little of Donald Trump day in and day out, but no — instead, he was set up to run for president again in 2024, making NeverTrumps hear and see him all the time.  So if it was NeverTrump influence that cost President Trump re-election, it certainly failed in the goal to get Donald Trump out of the Republican Party and GOP politics.

NeverTrumps should perhaps reflect on this for the next year or so heading into the 2024 election, respect the electorate, and maybe support or not actively oppose whomever the GOP electorate nominates this time around.

James L. Swofford is a professor of economics in the Department of Economics, Finance, and Real Estate at the University of South Alabama.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0.

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