Oliver Willis

On The Right, There Is No “Never Trump”

Conservatives who dislike Donald Trump are very upset. They don’t like Trump, but they aren’t very upset at him. They are upset at liberals, who are stubbornly citing facts and their behavior to point out what a farce the so-called “Never Trump” movement on the right has been.

On the right, the “Never Trump” movement is one of the biggest failures in the history of American politics. Tasked with opposing a dictatorial vulgarian both within their own party primary and in the general election, this faction of the right punted.

During the primaries, they refused to unite and support a single traditional Republican opponent of Trump’s preferring instead to split the vote as the red-hatted MAGA hordes easily possessed the husk that used to be the Republican Party. Jeb Bush? Marco Rubio? God, even Ted Cruz? They couldn’t be bothered to just unite behind one of these figures to rebuke the Trump xenophobia and ignorance show.

And in the general election, the capitulation was even more noticeable. They didn’t have to become Clinton supporters, but Never Trump couldn’t be bothered to back Gary Johnson, Evan McMullin, or to stay home. They decided that after Obama, they just couldn’t deal with Hillary Clinton, and collectively threw in with Trump.

There were some of us on the left who thought the idea of a Trump candidacy was a joke, and that he would be easily defeated. Unfortunately, we did not account for just how much the mainstream Republican movement would be just fine with an unqualified admirer of fascist tendencies. Stupidly, we thought the right would adhere to the tacit agreement that neither side should nominate unqualified madmen for the most important leadership job in the world.

Post-election, “Never Trump” has behaved even more reprehensibly than they did during the campaign. The entire mainstream conservative movement and the Republican Party has become Donald Trump’s cuckold. He didn’t hijack the party and the movement so much as they handed him the keys and a cushion for his seat.

At the same time, erstwhile Never Trumpers are more than happy to cheer him on and carry water for him as he encourages his supporters to physically assault the free press, while he delegitimizes factual information and serious governing.

And now, “Never Trump” wants credit for never accomplishing their stated mission, while fuming at the left for not accepting their excuses for why Trump was allowed to flourish on the right. As he installs figures like Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and pushes the health care and economic ideas of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, he pushes a standard Republican agenda in tandem with his radical authoritarianism.

Which somewhat explains the problem inherit in “Never Trump.” He says what many Republicans and conservatives have said for decades, only he doesn’t know like John McCain and Mitt Romney did that those sort of things are supposed to be said behind closed doors in quiet rooms.

“Never Trump” is impotent because so much of it was phony all along. Trump is the GOP, and the GOP is Trump. And Never Trump is a sad, sad joke that should be humiliated for what they chose to do to their own country in pursuit of raw power.

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