I think Aaron Gardner’s #NeverTrump is the most misunderstood idea in politics right now. Specifically, older critics of #NeverTrump are going around flinging out angry, bitter, and flatly ignorant statements designed to counter us, but every time they do it, they simply demonstrate they don’t understand what we’re saying, at all.
A great example of this is today’s awful tweet by the once-respected Byron York:
— Byron York (@ByronYork) May 19, 2016
First off, one poll, one time, run by the Trump News Channel (We report, Mister Trump Decides), does not mean that Donald Trump has a lead. The Fox poll has shown great volatility in that matchup. Hillary Clinton +11, Trump +3, Clinton +5, Clinton +11, Clinton +7, and Trump +3 are their last 6 results. It is intellectually dishonest to cherry pick this one poll despite nearly every other pollster, and most polls by this pollster, showing Clinton with a big lead.
In fact, a Trump +3.0 lead with a margin of error of 3 for each of Trump’s and Clinton’s results mean that a three-point Clinton lead isn’t even out of the mathematical 95% confidence interval. Not once in the last 12 months as Trump had a polling lead over Clinton that was outside of the Margin of Error. Not once. Clinton however has had them dozens of times. Dozens!
Second, and more critically, #NeverTrump isn’t an argument. It’s simply not. #NeverTrump isn’t a statement that “Donald Trump can’t win regardless, so we’re staying home.” A shift in the polling doesn’t change what we believe.
#NeverTrump also isn’t a movement. The idea of saying #NeverTrump isn’t to build people together to try to win the Presidency by some other means. Well, it’d be nice, but that’s not the goal here. People who refuse to vote for Donald Trump understand fully well that Hillary Clinton is nearly certain to be the next President, if Donald Trump is not.
What Beltway folks like Byron York don’t understand, is that #NeverTrump is a statement of principle. Those of us who throw that hashtag around, are doing so because Donald Trump opposes what we hold dear, and so we cannot support him. Donald Trump represents a hijacking of our political party for crass tribalist beliefs. Trump represents cronyism and collectivism over individual dignity, liberty, and worth.
If that’s what the Republican Party stands for today, then it’s no longer the Party of Lincoln, and we want out. No poll changes that, Byron York. So this was my tweet today:
— Neil Stevens (@presjpolk) May 19, 2016
#NeverTrump is not an argument. #NeverTrump is not a movement. #NeverTrump is a statement of principle. Deal with it.