A Response to @BradThor on Cancer and the #NeverTrump Movement

Over at our sister site Hot Air, noted author and #NeverTrump personality Brad Thor has written a post about how and why he is rethinking his #NeverTrump position. The basic reason for his change is that he views the choices facing America in this way:


America, you have cancer. And it’s bad – really bad. It’s aggressive. It has spread throughout most of your body and it’s continuing its march.

How much time do we have left? Less than three months.

* * *

So what do we do now? Currently, there are only two drugs available that promise a cure.

The first is a decades-old generic, lacking any potency whatsoever. Studies have shown that Drug #1 not only won’t cure the cancer, but that it will actually strengthen it and speed our death. Drug #1 offers no upside whatsoever.

Drug #2 is being offered out of a clinic in Mexico. It claims to be a surefire, can’t lose, 100% guaranteed treatment. The clinic, though, is run by pockmarked, gold-toothed, oily-haired- men in bad suits with absolutely no medical backgrounds. They ogle your wife and daughter incessantly anytime you drop by for more information, and are constantly trying to upsell you into an oceanfront timeshare.

To its credit, though, the clinic is known for having developed a compound from drain cleaner that has increased the muscle mass of midget wrestlers in Tijuana. As proof of its success, the waiting room is adorned with gold-framed pictures. Not so prominently displayed, are the court summonses and the waves of lawsuits from victims of the compound’s side effects. (The clinic’s army of lawyers in Guadalajara handles those).

The clinic is a shady operation at best, but so many people want to believe it has discovered a cure, that they’re willing to pay cash (all up front, no questions asked) to give Drug #2 a chance.


Now, Thor is obviously a grown man, and he can do with his vote whatever he pleases. I have never been tremendously invested in convincing anyone else to become #NeverTrump, nor staying that way. All I do is put out the facts as I see them.

That having been said, the extent to which you find this argument persuasive depends on the extent to which you believe America has cancer and will die in three months in the absence of intervention. And this is where this analogy, like all analogies before it, breaks down when you begin to press on it. There’s no objective evidence that America is on the verge of a nation-ending event, and to the extent that there is, it’s mainly about the chance that President Trump will start a nuclear war.

Growth is stale, but there are no signs of catastrophic imminent collapse either economically or militarily. I say “catastrophic” and “imminent” on purpose, because as it happens I do agree that America has a disease that will eventually be crippling and fatal, and I agree that the disease has many of the same symptoms that Thor sees. But I think a more realistic assessment of the path and speed of the disease would be something more like MS – still terrible, but with symptoms that are manageable with proper care. The current progress of the disease is indeed eventually crippling and possibly fatal, but its progress is relatively slow and in the meantime there is realistic hope for the development of a cure. In those circumstances, would you take yourself, your wife, or your kids to the clinic in Mexico to get them treatment from the midget wrestler people?


I sure as hell wouldn’t. And I think what’s happened to Thor (who I both like and respect) is that he’s taken the rhetoric of both political sides a little too much on face value. Scaring the bejeezus out of people on both sides about what will happen if [candidate X] is elected President is a time-honored tradition. Literally every election, both sides can trot out a parade of horribles that will happen if only you, dear voter, don’t vote to stop them. And yet, every time, roughly half the country loses the election and lo and behold, the country marches on.

It seems like there was even a South Park episode about this.

Are things amiss in the long term fabric of this country? You bet. Will they have tremendously negative consequences if they are not fixed? Yep. Is voting against Hillary Clinton – even if doing so means putting a huckster who might well be insane and is definitely ignorant in charge – the last chance to stop it before America immediately dies? No. And that rhetoric should be saved for the people who actually buy survival seeds.

I think, frankly, that this kind of constant, immediate alarmism, repeated ad nauseam, is a good part of how we got to the situation where we are staring down the barrel of a Trump v. Hillary race in the first place. Each side has bought so thoroughly into the idea that we have to win at all costs or AMERICA IS DOOMED that voters have become too willing to accept a crap sandwich for a candidate as long as it is perceived that the Republican (or Democrat, depending on your voter registration) brand crap sandwich is able to beat the Democrat brand crap sandwich.


But, that having been said, maybe Thor is right and as I said he is free to do what he wants with his vote. As far as I can tell Trump isn’t even a shady Mexican clinic peddling midget juice – he’s a pill of cyanide and the chances he’ll cure (as opposed to kill) anything he touches is contradicted by… really, everything that has happened in this campaign. But if some people want to take the cyanide, that’s their prerogative.

I certainly wouldn’t blame them, after this election season.


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