The result is completely expected but the speed of their unravelling may be the only surprise.
The cadre of cranks known as the Never Trumpers have been a constant source of mirth as they devolve into a state of irrelevance. For years they have bleated about their opposition to the President, with many profiting off of their loud declarations, via Democrat donors/suckers. But now with the impending departure of their avowed target the group is finding it difficult to find a place of comfort.
It was almost immediately after the election when these players learned they were being removed from the game. After The Lincoln Project was shown to have had little-to-no effect on the election they were dismissed by the Democrats. Trump surged in votes over 2016 and his support by the GOP grew from already high levels seen last election — two areas TLP was supposed to impact. As a result Democrat super star Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez demanded the group step back, and also donate their funds to more worthwhile Dem activists.
Since then things have only devolved. As Politico reports, the supposedly swelling and influential band of conservative resistance fighters are finding life less comforting in a post-Trump era. That they are already becoming fragmented and distaff, before Trump has even made his exit, shows the vacancy that has always been behind this movement. The Democrats are done with them, the GOP will no longer answer their text messages, and the various members are at a loss as to where to turn now.
Politico spoke to a number of these hectoring political scolds and there are revealing thoughts of discomfort.
“The reality is, is there a market for an anti-Trump Republican Party now?” said Stuart Stevens, a longtime Republican operative and member of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project. “I would say no.”
Another failed opposing voice had more to say.
Just keeping the coalition that elected Biden together “will be a challenge in and of itself,” said Evan McMullin, who mounted a conservative third-party presidential bid in 2016. Moving forward, the movement has to “bring more Republicans on to our side of this fight.”
Hilarious how he says ‘’more Republicans’’. They have steadfastly failed to sway Republicans to their side. As Trump’s vote support not only grew, by 10 million, a greater share of Republicans supported him, up from 90% in 2016 to 94%. So yes, Evan, your use of the word ‘’more’’ here is laughable.
Bill Kristol, whose pundit site The Bulwark is also facing dwindling import may be looking at a future where it is no longer supported by the largesse of billionaire Pierre Omidar. What need is there to fund an oppo-outlet when the primary focus of the oppo is now on the outs? Kristol this week displayed some rather stunted thinking when he proposed the idea of a 3rd-party, and he failed and flailed so magnificently he backed away from his plan within a few hours of his proposal.
The biggest reveal that this Never Trump effort was never more than a petulant personal reaction, is that while all of these voices would claim they were preserving conservatism they never offered anything resembling a ‘’true’’ conservative option. They were adept at mockery and condescension towards anyone they perceived as promoting, backing, or even just tolerating Donald Trump, but they were completely incapable of showing what conservative options existed. All they ever did was promote Democrats, regardless of how divorced from conservatism a candidate would be, based on policy.
Following their sabotage attempts these grifters are finding there are few in Republican circles who are interested in their antics. Just since the election a few notable names have absconded with their avowed core conservatism.
For the weekend @BulwarkOnline newsletter I wrote an essay about identity, the GOP, & my "transitional period."
I'm officially no longer a Republican. Or an Operative. Gonna try this "journalism" thing for a bit. (send ideas!)
"Goodbye to All That" https://t.co/l4jgU6sRUf
— Tim Miller (@Timodc) November 22, 2020
Jennifer Horn, co-founder of The Lincoln Project, on why she's leaving the Republican Party: "It has become clear to me that the party of Lincoln is no more, and today’s Republican Party cannot coexist with the ideal that we know America can be." https://t.co/1e1FB7vloY
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) December 17, 2020
— The Hill (@thehill) December 16, 2020
You sense the desperation to remain valid. After years of working on behalf of the Democrats these Democrat operatives have now registered as Democrats — and they all feel as if this warrants some sort of media announcement. The effect is like catching your spouse cheating and when they come home to find the locks changed they loudly shout, for the sake of the neighbors hearing, ‘’Oh yea?! Well…THEN I’M LEAVING!!!
The election aftermath sees almost every participant in these avowed ‘’conservative’’ tribes talking only how they will be working with or on behalf of the Biden administration. There are only a few who make a wan attempt to mention work with the GOP, but their hesitancy feels more like abject apathy from the party over what they have to say.
Even those who should speak from a bold position sound lost. Politico notes a stealth Never Trump faction sounds wary about what lies ahead.
A recent email to attendees of the secretive anti-Trump gathering known as the Meeting of the Concerned, which was obtained by POLITICO, illustrates the crossroads that some never-Trumpers face. Geoff Kabaservice, an organizer of the meeting… said those in the movement “worry a little about what’s going to keep us together” after Trump leaves office.
It would almost seem as if these self-described elevated minds are only now coming around to a realization that most everyone else recognized of them years ago — their own stated goal leads only to them becoming irrelevant. They demonized the GOP to get rid of Trump, and the Democrats have no need for their work now that Trump is gone.
That same reality was expressed by token GOP opponent to Trump, Joe Walsh. “I’m going to probably be in the political wilderness for the rest of my life.” This is a stark reality many of his kind are looking at in this post-Trump era – a reality they all had cheered on for the past few years.