Despite what the pro-Trump crowd concludes about last night, the #NeverTrump crowd isn’t going away. Those of us who have always believed never actually means never aren’t suddenly deciding to “unite” around Trump, though RNC chairman Reince Priebus commands that.
Too many “principled” conservatives are falling victim to the groupthink which says you must coalesce around the person with (R) next to their name. This letter means nothing when said person is not a conservative! But to some, #NeverTrump is only good to a point, and they reached that point last night.
Among those showing themselves to be weak are former Republican presidential candidates. While they don’t like Trump and think he’s poison, they will vocally support him, albeit begrudgingly, and vote for him if he wins the nomination. Such a move says everything about their resolve. But I guess political career aspirations in the party-formerly-known-as-the-conservative-one are more important.
One of those is Bobby Jindal, former governor of Louisiana. As CNN reported earlier on Tuesday:
“I think it’s likely, this election, this nomination contest could be all but over by tonight. I think it’s more and more likely that Donald Trump will be the nominee,” Jindal said.
“I do think he’ll be better than Hillary Clinton, I don’t think it’s a great set of choices,” Jindal said. “If he is the nominee, I’m going to be supporting my party’s nominee. I’m not happy about it … but I would vote for him over Hillary Clinton.”
Oh, you aren’t happy about your cop-out? Well that’s good to know, Bobby. We’ll find some comfort in your disgust.
If Trump is as horrific as these candidates claimed when they were running, and before Trump’s path to nomination was all but certain, they wouldn’t be voting for him. Period. I don’t care if their last name is Jindal, Rubio, or Cruz. Any of them who join in support behind nominee Trump have watered down their conservatism and have placed party over principle.
Later in the race, when actual conservatives were still running, my choice for candidate was Marco Rubio. He was never my first choice or final choice, but for a long while he seemed the best candidate of this cycle. In late April, he declared the same sort of Jindal-type support for the GOP nominee. As the Palm Beach Post reported:
Rubio reiterated that he’s not making an endorsement but will support the Republican nominee in the general election. He said Trump’s “performance has improved significantly” in recent weeks.
Although some have been kinder to Marco Rubio for his statements in the Post, it’s clear that he will support the nominee, no matter who it is. For someone who so forcefully condemned and mocked candidate Trump, this is incredibly disappointing and weak. But I guess the lure of a 2020 campaign wherein you would need the majority of (R) voters is pulling Rubio in that direction.
It was unfortunate, but perhaps somewhat expected, that Cruz dropped out after failing to win the Indiana primary. Before ballots were cast, he tore into Trump when speaking to reporters early on primary day.
“We are not a proud, boastful, self-centered, mean spirited, hateful, bullying nation,” Cruz said, with his wife Heidi and running mate Carly Fiorina by his side. “If Indiana does not act, this country could well plunge into the abyss.”
The truth Cruz passionately shared Tuesday morning did not change once Trump won Indiana on Tuesday night. I hope Cruz, the “courageous conservative”, does not give support to Trump as the GOP nominee. However, given the direction Jindal and Rubio have headed, I can only guess he might. And that would be another disappointment.
If candidates who so vociferously called out Trump’s antics and policies in the recent past suddenly support him as the nominee, then those saying the #NeverTrump movement is dead will have a point. Never should mean never. Principle should always trump party, whether you’re an average voter, or a candidate who once shared the stage with the man who has hijacked this election.