Dennis Prager is described by Wikipedia as “an American conservative and nationally syndicated talk show host.” He is well-respected in most conservative circles, but a recent article rubbed this writer the wrong way. The basic gist of the article is that the Never Trump contingent get on the Trump Train and cease the criticism to advance his agenda.
He opens the article by making the extraordinary claim that no other Republican would have defeated Hillary Clinton. Actually, Roger Daltry of the Who probably had a better analysis: a dead dog could have defeated her. As I see it, what most animated the Never Trump movement within the GOP was the sad fact that there were so many more qualified candidates for the nomination than Donald Trump. The fact none of them made it through the primary process is proof that the process is in need of reform. To assert that no one other than Trump would have defeated Clinton is an easy assertion to make since Trump won. He can make that speculation because Trump managed to pull victories out of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. It is useless to argue that Cruz or Rubio or any other candidate would have performed better than Clinton because we never had that chance.
He follows that with this statement:
That is why I found the arguments of the conservatives who were Never-Trumpers, many of whom I work with, admire and count as friends, not just unpersuasive but incomprehensible.
That a conservative could prefer Clinton — which was the only upshot of a Never Trump position — to any Republican could only mean that we have an entirely different understanding of the damage the left has done and would have done to America and the Western world if Clinton had won.
Obviously, no true conservative- Never Trump or otherwise- “preferred” Clinton to “any Republican.” According to exit polls, 90% of those who identified themselves as Republican voted for Trump which was down slightly from Romney’s 93%. As for those who label themselves conservative, Trump captured 81% of the vote in 2016 compared to Romney’s 82% in 2012. Neither figure indicates nor would lead anyone to believe that there was a massive exodus of Republican or conservative votes away from Trump. Hence, there was no imaginary “preference” for Hillary Clinton. Conservative and GOP cross-over votes for Clinton were negligible also.
Instead, Prager sings the praises of Donald Trump on two counts: (1) a rollback of Obama’s energy regulations and (2) his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. As to the energy regulations, does Prager honestly believe a Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio would not have done the same thing? And does he believe that any other candidate would have appointed a moderate or liberal to the Supreme Court? These were no-brainer moves by Trump and easy actions to take.
What angers me about articles like this is that Prager and others who blindly jump on the Trump Train just never understood the Never Trump movement. It was not because we disliked his malapropisms or his crudity. Is was not Trump’s all-over-the-map policy positions both foreign and domestic, nor the embrace of the alt-right of Trump. It was the fact that there were so many other well-qualified candidates who would not damage the conservative and/or Republican brand. It was the belief that Trump represented and still represents a threat to American conservatism.
Compare Prager’s thesis with these words from some alt-right website (I forget the source):
The Never Trump crowd are all parasites of the DC establishment, A.K.A. The Uniparty. They are that species of useless Beltway insiders who cannot say anything that hasn’t passed though a focus group. They endlessly repeat meaningless phrases that are inconsistent and contradictory from one day to the next from, from one audience to another therby living, breeding, and feeding in a fog of cognitive dissonance. These grifting scum cannot accomplish anything other than getting rich off other people’s money.
NOTE: I left the incorrect grammar and spelling from the original quote.
The statement is laughable. What else describes Trump thus far other than the charge they level at “the Never Trump crowd;” “They endlessly repeat meaningless phrases that are inconsistent and contradictory from one day to the next from, from one audience to another…” That describes TRUMP, not the Never Trump crowd and the reason is simple and the main thing those on the Trump Train never had the brains to realize: Trump has no conservative principles.
To wit, other than Gorsuch, what has Trump actually accomplished other than having the dubious honor of having the lowest approval ratings of any president this early into an administration? Those vaunted Executive Orders undoing Obama-era energy regulations? You mean those Executive Orders that can easily be undone with the stroke of a pen just as easily as Trump found out? His first big legislative push- health care reform and dismantling Obamacare- ended in embarrassing defeat. His “big beautiful wall” on the border remains a pipe dream and will never be built.
Prager, the alt-right and all those who jumped on the Trump Train are living in the fog of a delusional world if they honestly believe everything Trump promised during the campaign will come to fruition. They are also delusional to believe that no other candidate would have defeated Clinton. In fact, a good case can be made that any other candidate would have won not only the electoral vote count, but also the popular vote. And they would not have embarrassed the Republican Party and conservatism in the process.