While the primaries were in full-swing, it made sense for movement conservatives to speak out against Donald Trump. He made many a comment that would have ended the campaign of any other Republican. His statements about Senator McCain immediately turned off many a patriotic conservative. He made statement after controversial statement and yet his popularity with the working man only increased. His has policies were all over the political map, some being conservative, some to the left of even Hillary, mostly all of them populist. He was outmatched in knowledge about foreign affairs by nearly all of his opponents. His near absolute ban on Muslims was completely unworkable, but since then has been refined away from populism to pragmatism. He’s also made it a point to surround himself with foreign policy and military experts. Still, there were preferable alternatives who showed greater aptitude for conservatism, and who had nearly mistake-free campaigns.
Marco Rubio had great foreign policy credentials. Carly Fiorina also proved herself equal to any of her rivals in that department and focused like a laser beam on Hillary from the beginning. Senator Cruz has the support of the Constitutionalists and had by far the best ground game of any of the candidates, rivaled only possibly by the Clinton machine. This was to finally be the year of the movement conservative. What none of them realized, was that the white, non-college educated working man had abandoned the Republican party two elections ago. With no popular support for so-called ‘establishment’ Republicans (read Jeb Bush) and young, intelligent candidates who could speak the language of conservatism fluently, this election was to be the era of Regan reborn. The problem was, the average American spoke the language of not conservatism, but populism. Trump, like his followers, feels free to cherry-pick from any political school of thought, conservatism, nationalism, populism, and even liberalism. In short, Trump followed former Republican constituency to where it wanted to go.
Everyone knows the result, Trump won the nomination. the #nevertrump crowd now had (and still has) a decision to make, reluctantly follow the new GOP standard-bearer, for all his flaws, or stick with Republican and conservative orthodoxy. As Trump filled in the gaps of his foreign affairs and military knowledge, and softened on some of his more problematic stances on immigration, the opposition of many Republicans against him softened. Little by little, Republican diehards resigned themselves to the reality that it was Trump or bust. Others though, convinced of the certainty of a Trump loss, and fearful of down-ballot losses stubbornly dug in their heels on the subject of never Trump, even to the point of actively undermining his candidacy.
Reluctant, even stoic support for Trump is to be expected and understandable. He is not the second coming of Reagan, but the first coming of Trump. Those who insist on ideological purity won’t find it in this GOP candidate. Those who had fought hard to rehabilitate the Republican Party’s image after losing virtually all of the black and most of the Latino vote four years ago find themselves besides themselves with frustration in their candidate. He is their candidate though, and for all his shortcomings with regards to many conservative principles and a maddening lack of political sense, is still better for America in many ways then his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The key is to show that while Trump says controversial things, Hillary has done, time and again, many things that were deeply dishonest, maybe even illegal. While Trump’s thoughts get him into hot water, Hillary’s actual deeds (or occasional lack of) have gotten Americans killed or put in jeopardy. While critics can theorize about Trump being bad, we have proof positive that Hillary would be worse. Evidence of her corruption is well documented. We don’t have to wonder how she would govern, she would turn America into her own personal fife, and we her serfs, existing only to provide her and her sycophants with wealth. On the subject of Supreme Court appointees alone, there is no real choice for the constitutionalist that wants a Scalia type justice on the Court.
There is no chance of Trump being replaced as GOP nominee, any talk to the contrary is pure fantasy. There is no realistic chance of someone not from the Republican or Democratic parties becoming our next president. Even if the #nevertrump crowd could come up with a candidate with the financial means to do so, it’s too late to get him or her on the ballot in many states. So why does anyone claiming to be a Republican seek not to simply withhold support, but actively act to undermine his campaign? They are ideologues, but ones who fail to understand that under a Hillary presidency, none of their conservative initiatives will come to be. Clinton will enact her liberal, even socialist policies. If she can’t get her agenda done under a Republican Congress, the Democrats will appeal to the American sometimes pathological need to just “get things done” regardless what that actually means. Republican control of Congress his hardly guaranteed. Democrats are already counting on the fact that the Republicans were put into power on Capitol Hill for the express reason of stopping the liberal Obama agenda. Whatever political victories Hillary can garner, she will lock in by appointing active judges and an ever-growing, compliant regulatory machine.
The never Trump crowd has fooled themselves that in four years, they will get a do-over if Trump loses and finally undo the Obama/Clinton agenda. It won’t happen, what they dont’ realize is this election may be the last one for America as a true constitutional democracy. The next election, should Clinton win, will be more like those in the democratic-socialist countries of Western Europe– mere referendums on how quickly or slowly to descend into the socio-economic oblivion, and who will go out on top. The fact is, regardless of how much the conservative true believer would rather not, there is no real choice when it comes to any meaningful governmental reform. There is only one candidate that will appoint justices that will respect the letter and spirit of the Constitution. There is only one candidate with a pro-growth agenda, only one candidate that will turn America away from an otherwise certain, yes certain, move toward a single-payer healthcare system. Like it or not, the only viable choice, for all his shortcomings, is Donald Trump.
There I said it.