An interesting thing happened in some Never Trump circles after the Democratic primary debates ended last Thursday night. While it won’t change the calculus of those we are about to discuss, it at least has them finally admitting the imperfect reality that drove the decision of many Trump voters in 2016.
To preface, we need to establish exactly what group of Never Trump figures we are talking about here.
There was a dramatic split in the Never Trump movement before the 2018 mid-term elections. While some Never Trump members realized that supporting Democrats to flex their opposition to Trump was a foolhardy move that did nothing to move the ball forward, there was a not insignificant contingent of the Never Trump movement which outright endorsed electing Democrats across the board, not just in 2018, but preemptively for 2020 also.
It just so happened that many of these Never Trump figures also had the biggest platforms. People like David Brooks, Bret Stephens, David Frum, Bill Kristol, Ann Navarro, and Jennifer Rubin all came out in support of electing Democrats.
That’s the group discussed in this article, and the distinction is important. While I may disagree with the other faction of Never Trump’s reasoning for abstaining, I can at least understand their position. What I can’t do is respect those supporting Democrats simply to go after Donald Trump, something no real conservative could ever actually justify with any appeal to principle. For the purpose of this article, I’m addressing the latter group, many of whom I named above.
With that out of the way, I want to focus on two articles published this week by Never Trump leaders David Brooks and Bret Stephens, both writers for The New York Times.
If the Democratic moderates take on progressives they get squashed by the passionate intensity of the left. If they don’t, the party moves so far left that it can’t win in the fall. https://t.co/vlVdF79Vd3
— David Brooks (@nytdavidbrooks) June 28, 2019
In a pathetic plea to a party that’s been objectively catering to the far-left for well over a decade, David Brooks begs Democrats to not continue being left wing because it may drive him away.
I’ll also note that while Brooks makes claims of morality in his piece, he’s got a story much akin to the insufferable Charlie Sykes. Namely, he cheated on his wife and then married his researcher. Many of these people are not the best voices to make the moral case against Trump.
Before we get into the dynamics of all this, though, here’s Stephens’ similar piece for comparison.
I’m left scratching my head by what I’m reading.
What exactly did any of these Never Trump voices think the Democrat party was? Are they really claiming any of this is new?
Although they’ll never admit it, they are actually articulating the issue that led millions of otherwise Trump skeptics in 2016 to go ahead and vote for him. When given a choice between generally conservative policy, past affairs, and Twitter bluster vs. voting for Hillary Clinton and a radically progressive Democrat party, many made the former choice.
For that they got savaged by people like David Brooks and Bret Stephens as being unprincipled sell-outs, bad Christians, and hypocrites. All for deciding that making a choice was preferable to not making a choice.
Suddenly, these people are discovering that the Democrat party isn’t actually a viable alternative after pushing to vote for it in 2018 and 2020? Come on.
It's pretty funny watching moderate Republicans catch up to where a lot of fed up and reluctant Trump voters were 3 years ago.
The best part is the part where they act like they discovered this and it's a brand new problem. https://t.co/9srwJP9xTV
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) June 29, 2019
But now suddenly Stephens is sitting in front of his computer with Expedia open and his mouse hovering over the "buy" button for a seat on Flight 93.
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) June 29, 2019
While Brooks and Stephens make their case for the Democrat party to moderate, they are getting exactly the answers they deserve.
Did they really think the Democrat party was going to welcome them with open arms? Conform to their viewpoints? If they did, then their judgement is shown to be even worse than I thought.
This was always the actual offer, even as they thumbed their nose at those saying that actively pushing the Democrat party was a self-destructive move.
Never Trumpers are welcome to the coalition it’s just that they can’t dictate the terms that’s all.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) June 28, 2019
Given that, why would Brooks or Stephens ever think that going to the Democrat party was a viable option? I don’t know, but Trump makes people do weird things.
Here’s my position. If you want to not vote for Trump, I’m not going to berate you for that. In the face of what we saw up on that stage Wednesday and Thursday, I can’t agree with that decision, but there’s daylight between not voting for Trump and outright pushing the radicalism of the Democrat party just to spite Trump.
In the case of Never Trumpers who endorsed Democrats and asked Americans to vote for them despite those of us who said that’s a ridiculous notion, they don’t get to now pretend the radicalism of the left is a new, unforeseen thing bursting on the scene in mid-2019.
That reality has been apparent to many of us for years and it was the reason many decided voting for Trump made the most sense 2016.
Had those specific Never Trump figures handled the matter differently instead of resorting to attacking the personal morality of Republican voters, I could perhaps muster some sympathy for the position Brooks, Stephens, and others now find themselves in.
But they didn’t and I don’t. So enjoy your new friends.
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