I have been as adamantly #NeverTrump as anyone on the Right. I established that position before most of my colleagues here, starting in September, 2015. On Election Day, as promised, I did not vote for Donald Trump. Not that I expected my vote or any of my comments/diaries on the topic to make a difference one way or another, but I can now honestly say “Don’t blame me – I didn’t vote for him”.
In his latest G-File, Jonah Goldberg expresses precisely my attitude about Trump, now that he has won the election:
YOU OWN THIS
But as for me personally, and very much to my surprise, I am loving this. I have zero ownership of Donald Trump. This is the one area where I am in full agreement with Newt and Laura and Sean and that whole crowd. I never bought, as a matter of logic, that I would “own” a Clinton presidency, but I certainly understand as a matter of political and psychological perception that a great many people — including many friends — would feel otherwise.
But now it’s all on them. They own Trump. I don’t. Never Trump is over — by definition. Saying you were “Never Trump” only ever meant that you wouldn’t vote for him or endorse him. We didn’t. He won anyway. Congrats. But now those of us who held the line are liberated. I will gladly and enthusiastically applaud when and if Trump does the right thing on judges, taxes, spending, etc. If he proves my predictions wrong, I will admit it or, on occasion, say, “Give it time.” I’ve constantly said that my job is to tell the truth as I see it. I did that during the election, and I’ll keep doing it going forward. When I’m wrong about Trump, I’ll be right about my ideology. And when I’m right about Trump, I’ll be able to say, “I told you so.”
The simple fact is that there is just so much low-hanging fruit where the scattered Never Trumpers and the victorious Trumpers agree. If they get rid of Obamacare, replacing it with a plan crafted by Paul Ryan? Great! If Trump nominates good judges and Mitch McConnell gets them confirmed? Fan-fricking-tastic. Who has two thumbs and will be ecstatic if Trump delivers on the Claremonsters’ dream of dismantling the administrative state? This guy. [I’m pointing my thumbs me-ward.]
But if Trump launches an idiotic and economy-wrecking trade war, I’ll hie to my well-stocked larder and say, “I told you so.” If his second Supreme Court appointment is a disaster (I think his first will be great, of necessity), I will pop a fresh batch of popcorn and watch to see who steps up to defend Trump’s betrayal. I’m going to have a great time no matter what.
As usual, I couldn’t have said it better than Jonah. I had nothing to do with his election. It’s all on the Trumpkins now. If he does the right things, I’ll applaud and say “Well. That’s good. I didn’t expect it, but good for him!” No matter what, I win.
But one thing I can do from here on out is to continue to put the hammer down on His Orangeness and press for actual conservative behavior. It will be up to the few remaining conservatives to #MakeHimConservative. Hold his feet to the fire. Force him to actually do what he said he’d do, rather than what is likely – which is, that he’ll behave as he always has, as a New York liberal. His proposal for student loan forgiveness is a hint that he’s already moving left.
That didn’t take long, did it?
The infamous “Supreme Court List” will be another tell. One of the first things we should expect is for him to make a nomination to fill Justice Scalia’s seat. Will it come from The List? Or will he, as I anticipate, name someone who is closer to his left-leaning ideology? We shall see. But leading up to this eventual nomination, we should #MakeHimConservative. And if he were to nominate someone like Sen. Mike Lee, I’ll say “Well, that’s good”.
Another act that could make me say “Well, that’s good!” would be the repeal of Obama’s many radical executive orders and agency-implemented regulations. Donald, if you want to win any hearts from conservatives, you could pull that trigger the day you set foot in the Oval Office (whether he actually DOES enter the Oval Office is apparently in question, though).
But none of this cancels out Trump’s repulsive racist, xenophobic and misogynistic behavior. That won’t go away. He won’t apologize, and his past offensive outbursts won’t disappear. Unless someone takes away his Twitter account, it’s likely that his 3AM hate-tweets will continue. He remains a disgusting human being, President-elect or not. If some day he learns a bit of humility, perhaps that could be diluted as well. I won’t hold my breath.
I do not regret being on the #NeverTrump side through the bitter end for one second. But Trump did win. And now we’ll see who was right. If the Trumpkins were right about his alleged conservatism, we win. If I’m right, no one wins, but at least I won’t have it on my conscience. I’m not out protesting the fact that he won (and by the way, I support the right of those who ARE protesting to do so, as long as those protests remain peaceful).
Back to Jonah’s piece – he sums all this up perfectly:
“When I’m wrong about Trump, I’ll be right about my ideology. And when I’m right about Trump, I’ll be able to say, ‘I told you so.'”