Under the “It never hurts to try again” category comes recent news that some conservatives and Republicans who occupy what could be called the “anyone but Biden (or any Democrat similarly inclined to ruin the world)” camp are currently congregating at the edges of the
Never Trump forest/bog, calling on (begging?) the stubborn trolls gathered within and hidden behind stumps, burned out cabins and heaps of slime to emerge from their self-imposed darkness to back the side of good in the 2024 election.
And that good is Donald Trump. Or whomever wins the Republican race. Same thing.
Ever since the beginnings of the #NeverTrump movement in late 2015 and early 2016, I’ve argued that it’s counterproductive to take “never” stances in American politics, period, simply because the alternative to the Republican candidate in practically all circumstances is typically so heinous and awful (from a policy standpoint, primarily) that the “pro” side of an either/or choice is not difficult to settle upon.
Who here has never voted for a candidate that he or she didn’t like just because said person was the “lesser of two evils” or made you “plug your nose and pull the lever”? Anyone who claims political purity has either never voted or… is flat out lying.
At any rate, with former president Donald Trump so far out in front of his intra-party competition, and no detectable signs of movement on the horizon from the other 2024 Republicans, some good folks are seeing it necessary to beseech the Never Trumpers to come back to the fold only to be forgiven and treated as though nothing had ever changed.
It’s a noble effort, isn’t it? Whether the persuasion campaign does any good is another matter. In a piece titled “A Plea to George Will and Die-Hard Never Trumpers”, Rabbi Dov Fischer wrote last week at The American Spectator:
“Four years of Biden mean shortages in baby formula, supply line chaos, schools under siege with rules imposed to groom children to accept transgender perversions and LMNOPQ abominable behavior, one-sex bathrooms, drag queens at school library hour, and men competing in all-women’s sports. Biden years mean devastating forestry practices giving rise to horrific and deadly wildfires and coercing utility companies to spend less on safety and fire prevention in order to meet “clear air” mandates that barely dent climate change. Millions more illegal immigrants, overrunning even blue states and ‘sanctuary cities,’ guaranteeing increased dangers that terrorists are infiltrating. Terror supporters like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush and Ocasio, will have seats at the table…
“Trump presumably will hit the road running on cleaning out the Justice Department, will get his attorney general right the first time, and will de-weaponize enforcement. That alone would justify his election.
“Mr. Will, I know you and the NTers will hate four years of Trump. But, despite the messenger and the attendant patches of chaos, those four years can save this Republic. And four years of Biden–Kamala will sink us. I can only hope you all love America more than you hate Trump.”
Well spoken, Rabbi Fischer! Perhaps it’s time for conservatives who happen to support Trump – if he’s the nominee – to get off their haunches and begin appealing to the Trump disdaining but otherwise liberty-loving, rights protecting, history and tradition revering Never Trump folks’ patriotism to bring them back into the fold.
Would it work? Time will tell. But it does no harm to try again. Those trolls trapped in the Never Trump penitentiary might be ready for an escape attempt – or maybe even a jailbreak. Let’s help them!
Bringing in the “Never (Anything)” population isn’t easy or smooth. It’s a lot simpler to convince someone of a negative than win them over with positive persuasion. But it can be done with persistence, a heck of a lot of logic and maybe adding a pinch of emotional appeal. It’s almost like a recipe, right?
Think it can’t be done? As an example, during the lead-up to the 2012 Republican primaries there developed a civilized but intense debate between conservative supporters of libertarian/non-interventionist candidate Ron Paul and a host of conservatives/blueblood Republicans on the not-Paul side concerning the advisability of registering a “protest vote” vis-à-vis the others by voting for Paul.
Paul could not win, the not-Paul side screamed! The establishment supporters’ cries of anguish gained in shrillness and volume as the days went by and the Ron Paul phenomenon grew while mainline conservatives failed to consolidate behind one candidate. At the time I recall responding to a group email with several others of similar mindset to mine who had opted to back Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee after he’d won the GOP primary race.
Paul said he wouldn’t endorse Romney but would pretty much stay out of it, not actively getting behind anyone else, either.
I don’t have the email any longer, but the gist of my argument was, “If we vote for Romney and he wins the presidency, at least we’ll have standing to question the things he does, influence him on who he appoints and potentially threaten him with public relations sanctions or consequences if he steps too far out of line.
“If Barack Obama wins, on the other hand, we’ll get nothing. It’s worth a chance to vote for the Republican in the general election, even if it nags at our principles to choose someone who we can’t stand, much less agree with.”
One lifelong libertarian friend who had decades more political experience than I, and had already voted for Obama in 2008 because he felt the “Big O” would be more likely to keep us out of a disastrous war than John McCain or some of the others would have (I begrudgingly agreed with that one), wrote back, “Congratulations, Jeff, you almost convinced me”. To this day, I still don’t know whether he plugged his nose and voted for Romney that year or headed in another direction. But he went to his reward shortly before the 2020 election, so I’ll never know for sure.
Such is the dilemma for Never Trumpers who still cling to the mantle. What could they possibly gain by refusing to turn in the opposite direction and back Trump knowing they’ll at least get some of what they wanted rather than absolute zero of what they desire? Either these “conservatives” have realized the truth by now, or they were never conservatives in the first place.
Question for the “Never Trump” crowd: What is it about Donald Trump that is so much more offensive than some of the other less-than-satisfactory Republican nominees of recent history? Or, put another way, if you weren’t completely sold on Romney, John McCain, Bob Dole or George W. Bush either, where is the dividing line between those ruling elites and Donald Trump?
Is it strictly a behavioral thing? Those who pleaded their case that Trump was an unreliable liberal “Trojan Horse” who, once in power, would empty his innards in the midst of conservatives everywhere and sabotage the conservative cause from the inside should’ve, by now, recognized that this did not take place. Not only were they wrong on this speculation, they were dead wrong! We now have four years of experience to judge Trump by and a pretty solid policy legacy to demonstrate that Trump is/was no liberal.
By and large, the Never Trump clique’s main bone of contention still involves Trump’s “America First” orientation, where the former president maintains that Americans should be shoring up their own borders and spending on their own defense rather than spreading “democracy” around the globe. It’s a travesty that Trump can’t be forgiven for by the haters, either.
So if other policy objections are no longer on the table, what gives, Never Trumpers? There are some who still maintain that they won’t vote for Trump no matter what because they believe, to their core, that Trump will lose the ’24 election regardless if it’s senile Joe Biden for the opponent or some other rubber stamp leftist who will entice the mobs of abortion-loving empty-brains who make up the vast majority of Democrat voters.
They and other Never Trumpers are exhausted over the “drama” Trump stirs up with his social media habits, unfiltered statements against Republicans and Democrats alike and appear to believe, curiously, that the nation would be better off without Trump even if a Democrat is in the White House. It’s this calculus that doesn’t add up, since Trump, if victorious, would only act as the figurehead of a very large effort to Make America Great Again. So, is it MAGA that the naysayers really despise? Do they take a page from senile Joe’s rhetorical handbook and imply that Trump’s voters are the true enemies?
In essence, Never Trumpers are little better than Democrats. They gripe and moan about non-issues – Trump’s decorum, or lack thereof – and take a hard pass over the greater battle that’s being waged in America, where the nation’s survival is at stake. Trump’s been saying that the 2024 election is about the future of our country. Is he wrong? If so, how would harboring a “Never” attitude bring things back into balance?
I disagree with Trump’s long held stance that anyone who ran against him in the 2024 primaries was being “disloyal”, but by equal measure, whoever continues to reject him because of January 6, 2021 – or his unique political style – is missing the big picture. Now is not the time to hold unbending political grudges or hide behind “principle” when it comes to getting real results.
We can’t afford to wait. The Never Trump Republicans should declare publicly that they support the eventual winner of the GOP nomination. It’s a no-brainer, isn’t it?
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