So, the conventional wisdom goes, the pressure is now on #NeverTrump.
The logic goes something like this:
now that Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, #NeverTrump supporters will stab Trump in the back if they don’t support him. We must all unify behind the authoritarian con man who believes in precisely zero conservative principles; if we don’t, we’ve betrayed the country.
There’s enough irony there to overwhelm you.
There is a certain irony to the fact that triumphant Trump supporters who have been touting the strength of their candidate for months – who have, in fact, suggested that those who don’t support Trump are unnecessary vestiges of an outdated philosophy – are now preemptively declaring their candidate a loser, and blaming others in the process. . .
There’s also irony to the notion that Trump can openly proclaim that if he doesn’t win the nomination, his voters will stay home – yet if his opponents say the same, they’re the traitors. . .
But let’s put the irony aside, and examine whether there’s a continuing argument for #NeverTrump. . .
In every election cycle, the establishment insists that we unify behind a candidate. . . They blackmail conservatives into supporting candidates who undermine the message and morality of our mission. Now Trump does the same. . .
Conservatism morphing into Trumpism will become the crypto-racist, pseudo-strong, quasi-tyrannical, toxic brew leftists have always accused it of being. And we will have been complicit in that if we vote for him.
Looking beyond this election cycle – looking beyond Donald Trump – is the centralizing principle behind #NeverTrump. . .
If Trump wins, he guts the only movement we have. If Hillary wins, there may be a future for our movement yet. . .
I understand why other conservatives will make the decision to back Trump to stop Hillary Clinton: they are willing to gamble that he won’t be as bad as she will. . .
They . . . are willing to sacrifice the possibility of a better conservatism tomorrow for the shot at beating Hillary today. Their time horizon is shorter than mine. . . Conservatives who back Trump to defeat Hillary are not merely willing to toss conservatism into the trunk – they’re willing to allow Trump to take it out to a hole in a cornfield, Casino-style, beat it savagely, and bury it alive. At least we won’t get Hillary, they say as they grab a shovel.
There will be long-lasting damage to conservatism from Trump grabbing the banner of the Republican Party – unless conservatives make clear now that they will not honor Trump’s hostile takeover of their philosophy.
That’s the point of #NeverTrump. . . We won’t be party to it.
I’m coming around to the conclusion that I may have to become #NeverTrump. I had consistently said, like others, that as bad as he might be, he’d be better than Hillary. That may still be true!
But I hadn’t factored in the devastating damage to the brand of conservatism that having Trump as its poster child would do. It would end the conservative movement for a generation. Perhaps forever!
I’m coming to the realization that I simply can’t be a part of that reality!