May 18, 2017

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Nightmares and the Realities of Never Trump.

Rarely in the last half-century have so many elite conservatives and intellectuals been so estranged both from a Republican administration and from those who voted for it—neither have they become so animated in their antipathy and disgust for a sitting president.

During the 2016 election, and the current Trump presidency, there have appeared four implicit tenets to the conservative “Never Trump” position that, we are supposed to understand, justified not voting for him, actively opposing him, or voting for Hillary Clinton:

1) The character flaws of the inexperienced and uncouth Trump would eventually nullify any positive agenda that he might enact; not opposing such a boorish character undermines one’s reputation as an empirical and fair-minded conservative;

2) Trump is a liberal wolf in conservative sheep’s clothing; at any given moment he will break his campaign promises and revert to his 1980s New York Democratic self. Or, Trump has no ideology and is an empty vessel willing to embrace almost any ideology he finds efficacious to his ambitions of the moment. Either way, he will do the conservative cause real damage;

3) Trump’s base supporters, while not irredeemables and deplorables, are prone to nationalist extremism and embrace certain prejudices that are antithetical to conservative values;

4) Clinton’s progressive agendas would not do as much damage to the nation as would Trump’s uncouth character. Thus the defeat of the Republicans in 2016, or the failure of an ensuing Trump presidency, would be cathartic. Only a Trump implosion would teach Republicans never again to allow such an untried and dangerous populist nationalist without political experience to highjack their party, while cleansing the movement of some odious figures and unpalatable ideas that have no business in it—or both.

How true have these nightmares so far played out?

Read the whole thing.

Plus, as I said yesterday: “The childish response of Democrats — and ‘NeverTrump’ Republicans — to the 2016 election has done more damage to American politics and institutions than any foreign meddling could do.”