Many, from Reince Priebus to Sean Hannity and back again, have lambasted #NeverTrump for somehow betraying conservatism, the GOP, and our country by refusing to support Donald Trump for president.
We will “own” the Clinton White House, they said. We will “own” every left-wing justice she appoints to the Supreme Court. Our political careers (those of us who have them) will be over, crushed in the dust because we betrayed our fellow Republicans and refused to honor an imaginary pledge to support the nominee.
But the events of last night prove the opposite to be true.
The video of Trump’s vulgar, offensive, and creepy comments about women are out there for all the world to see. No one who paid attention to Trump’s behavior in this campaign should be surprised.
Those who demanded our loyalty to Trump are complicit with his behavior because they knew who he was and chose to ignore it. They placed their careers above their country. They chose expediency over principle. They sold out, and they did it on the cheap.
But those of us who held fast and stayed true to our convictions because principles mean something, because politics for us is more than a zero-sum game, because the character of our leaders is important, and because we care about our country and its future more than we care about political parties, television ratings, and web site traffic, will emerge with our heads held high. We will emerge into the light of 2017 with our dignity and our reputations in tact.
We will not be responsible for having installing Hillary Clinton in the White House, because we were ringing the clarion call all along.
Can those who betrayed everything they supposedly held dear to support Trump say the same?
Some of Trump’s erstwhile supporters will continue to hate us, but deep down, they know they embarrassed themselves. Others will shake off their support of Trump as if awakening from a bad dream. To the extent they do, they may look to us for leadership and a path forward.
We should seize that opportunity when it presents itself. Remember those public officials who stood firm, few though they are. They need our support.