When listening to Donald Trump discuss the #NeverTrump, something commonly heard outside the dripping contempt is the accusation the movement is made up of nothing but “establishment” DC types not needed by Trump, and therefore a threat to their livelihood.
The accusation as is often the case with statements made by Trump or his supporters, is complete garbage. In order for it to have any semblance of truth, it would need to be borne out of the evidence of who is part of the movement. That said, when looking at various lists of people who are part of this movement, myself included, it’s nearly impossible to make the case it’s a monolithic group.
After all, it is Donald Trump who is receiving endorsements from the very “establishment” types he and his supporters rage against on a daily basis. Ask Trumpers why they support him and one name that surfaces regularly is that of former House Speaker John Boehner. That was of course, until Boehner started warming to Trump while badmouthing Ted Cruz. Naturally, Boehner doesn’t actually support a single idea touted by Trump but he’s supportive nonetheless.
Trump just thanked Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson for his support after Adelson pledged to spend $100 million helping to get Donald Trump elected (while scaling back what he spends on Congressional races). Of course, Trump had a totally different view of Adelson when he was backing Senator Marco Rubio:
Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2015
Go ahead and do a Twitter search for “Adelson”, “Jew” and “Rubio” to get an idea of what Trump’s bigoted alt-right contingent thought when Adelson announced his support for Rubio. Be forewarned as it is quite ugly.
This is all perfectly fine now as these people now support Donald Trump. All past “sins” are forgiven just so long as they back Savior Trump. Supporting Trump never means having to concern ones self with principles. He doesn’t have any. Why should his supporters?
As for the #NeverTrump movement, it is all about principles. Most people within this movement will argue that differences in ideology do not even make up the bulk of why they’re opposed to Trump for President. The argument is not so much that he’s not a conservative but that he’s not fit for office. It’s the rationale that puts the, “Well what about Mitt Romney?” argument in the ground where it belongs. One might be able to make an ideological case against Mitt Romney but nobody would question his fitness for office.
For those in the #NeverTrump movement, the concern is more for the country than the Republican Party. It shows that no matter how awful Hillary Clinton is, Donald Trump is not an acceptable alternative. This thinking is representative of a (growing) coalition of people who cannot be put into a neat little box.
There is a list of 99 Republicans who are part of the #NeverTrump movement being circulated around the internet. Some of it is informational, others are using it as some kind of motivation to be more vocal in support of Trump. A cursory review of this reveals very quickly the broad spectrum of people who say they will never support Trump. It includes:
Senator Ben Sasse, George Will, Brad Thor, Justin Amash, Rep. Mark Sanford, Jennifer Rubin, Ken Mehlman, Kevin Madden, Stuart Stevens, Glenn Beck, Lindsey Graham. Mona Charen, Charles CW Cooke, Erick Erickson and many more. You can see the full list here.
Can anybody seriously argue this group of people – politicians, writers and consultants – are all part of the “grifter” movement. who are only in it for the money? it’s absurd. But it’s also easy for Trump supporters to throw around the accusation sans evidence. They want to believe #NeverTrump is a monolithic movement made up of the same kind of Republican.
They’re wrong. And they won’t care to understand why. Persuasion is not a strong suit of Trump or his supporters.
In the meantime, those of us who are part of the #NeverTrump moment will continue to persuade others to join up and see to it that Donald Trump is never elected.