Election 2020

A #NeverTrump Manifesto: Thwart the Forces of Evil and Rebuild Conservatism

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November 8 is quickly approaching, and whether or not the apocalypse is upon us remains to be seen. Regardless, we in the #NeverTrump camp need to prepare as if our world may be crashing down around us. You know, hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Coming to terms with the scary fact that Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee is probably the starting point (a reality that we were assured would never happen under the supposed watchful eye of the GOP brain trust).

The astounding reality that currently exists seemed unfathomable a few short months ago because of what we know and have known about Trump – he’s evil, he’s a liar, and Donald Trump is not a conservative. Of course, it’s next to impossible to detail the myriad reasons why Trump is profoundly unqualified to occupy the Oval Office. This means that Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee makes the #NeverTrump movement even more important than when we were counting on Rubio or Cruz or the ghost of Ronald Reagan to save us. And since Trump is probably going to be on the ballot come November, there are three things, at the least, that I believe we in the #NeverTrump movement should resolve to do:

  1. Stay Committed
  2. Vote the Down Ballot
  3. Reach out to Trump Supporters.

Nest page: Why (and how) the #NeverTrump movement should stay committed. 

1. Stay Committed

Trump’s evil is manifested, among other ways, by his demonization of minorities, his gross misogyny, and the fact that his business “empire” was built on the scourged backs of the poor and oppressed. As for his lies, Trump’s dishonesty has been well documented by many media outlets. As far as being a conservative, well, Trump’s trade policy is eerily similar to Comrade Bernie’s, and Trump is on record supporting a minimum wage increase. Further, he believes, per a CNN interview, that printing more money is a viable option in order to stave off defaulting on the debt. He advocates higher marginal tax rates, supports confused men using women’s bathrooms, and has a record of praising Planned Parenthood. And none of that touches on Trump’s ignorance of the Constitution, or at the least, his disdain for it. Trump will keep pen makers in business with his unfettered use of the executive order. If you’re a conservative, ask yourself, “Would Edmund Burke vote for Trump?”

Obviously, Edmund Burke would never vote for Donald Trump; no true conservative can. We in the #NeverTrump movement have recognized this since the beginning. If Trump is the Republican nominee, nothing changes. Just because an “R” has recently been placed beside his name doesn’t make Trump any less of a New York liberal elitist than he was when he was donating money to Hillary Clinton and claiming that she would make a good president. If anything, it changes the definition of “Republican.” Unfortunately, many people who are Republicans but apparently aren’t conservatives have begun a full court press with the goal of shaming those of us in the #NeverTrump movement into voting for liberalism.

Don’t be cowed by the false dichotomy of those who keep squealing, “But if you don’t vote for Trump, Hillary will win!” Nonsense. If, God forbid, Hillary becomes our next president, that’s the fault of the people who voted for her. Likewise, if, God forbid, Trump becomes the next president, that won’t be on the consciences of those who didn’t vote for Hillary; that eventuality will be the responsibility of those who voted for Trump. We’re only responsible for what we do, not what others do. Stay committed and refuse to vote for Trump. Standing strong on #NeverTrump doesn’t mean, however, boycotting voting altogether this November.

Next page: Why it’s important to vote for down-ballot races.

2. Vote the Down-Ballot

Regardless of whether or not we end up with President Trump or President Hillary, we need to do our best to ensure that Congress remains in the hands of conservatives. That’s a “well, duh” statement in reference to Hillary Clinton, but it’s just as important in reference to Donald Trump.

If Trump does manage to win, we’ll need a conservative-leaning (at the least) Congress to keep Trump’s liberalism in check and do their best to block his inevitably liberal SCOTUS nominees. On the flip-side of that coin, Trump loves to tout his expertise at deal-making. A Democrat-controlled Congress would love to wheel and deal with their fellow liberal, Donald Trump.

Navigating the Republican candidates who have come out in support of Trump is going to be tricky, no doubt. In a perfect world, every conservative candidate would disavow Trump repeatedly and loudly. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, and candidates have to worry about alienating Trumpkins. Some candidates, of course, have been in the bag for Trump since the beginning and are true believers. For those candidates, #NeverTrump. For other candidates who suddenly find their campaign between a rock and a hard place, take into account the totality of their rhetoric over the last several months. Many of them may be “endorsing” Trump while holding their nose and gritting their teeth. Whatever happens, holding firm to our #NeverTrump position should not keep us away from the polls; there is too much at stake on the down-ballot. And there’s too much at stake to put off beginning the hard work of seeking reconciliation with Trump supporters.

Next page: The importance of reaching out to Trump supporters.

3. Reach Out to Trump Supporters

The Trump experiment is going to crash and burn at some point. It remains to be seen whether or not the inevitable implosion happens soon enough to salvage the 2016 presidential race. Regardless of when it happens, there are many good people who have been duped by Trump, and it wouldn’t be right to leave them behind as we seek to rebuild the Republican Party or, if needed, build a new conservative party.

Recently, on Facebook, I joked that those of us who are #NeverTrump should invite Trump supporters to book clubs in which we read and discuss The Federalist Papers and the works of Edmund Burke. While a joke, a serious point is embedded in that thought.

Trump has preyed on people’s fears. Many of those people are unaware that Trump is a wolf in an ill-fitting sheepdog’s costume because they are unaware of what an actual sheepdog looks like. Part of the healing process—for the entire country—is going to involve introducing our Trump-supporting friends and family members to actual conservative principles and theories. Whatever arises out of the ashes of the 2016 presidential race, its genesis should be in legitimate conservatism. That’s only going to happen if those at the grassroots level are able to discern between true conservatives and greedy opportunists.

A Donald Trump victory in November would effectively destroy conservatism in America and build the gilded throne from which moral and political relativism would reign for generations. Thankfully, not all of the cards in the 2016 presidential election have been dealt, much less played. What needs to remain a constant throughout the continued turmoil is the resolve of those of us who are #NeverTrump. Our steadfastness may be the very thing that thwarts the forces of evil from irrevocably hijacking our country.