McKay Coppins of BuzzFeed had a terrific piece, back in July, on the long, winding road that led to Donald J. Trump’s decision to earnestly seek the presidency in 2016. I blogged about it for this website. One of the most interesting parts about McKay’s article was how seminal a role Trump’s getting relentlessly mocked—at the height of the “Birtherism” faux controversy—by President Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner played in his ultimate decision to run.
Looking back on [the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner], [White House speechwriters Jon] Favreau and [Jon] Lovett told me they were torn about having added weight to the chip on Trump’s shoulder. “I really don’t take any pleasure in Trump being the nominee, sincerely, even if it means they lose,” Lovett said. “If only we hadn’t made that joke, maybe we’d have peace in our time.”
My take on McKay’s piece, at the time, was that Donald Trump is a disturbed man who seeks the presidency out of spite. Perhaps I was right—perhaps I am still right.
But that does not make any less staggeringly amazing this Monday evening tweet from the aforementioned Lovett, who thus opined on the eve of Election Day:
Said it before, but it's a shame Trump is so pathetic because the Hillary campaign was built and ready for a far better, tougher opponent.
— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett) November 8, 2016
Let’s do this together, folks: hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
Lovett’s tweet, of course, is emblematic of the pervasive smugness that imbues contemporary “progressive” elitism. Of all places, it was actually Ezra Klein’s Vox that—when it wasn’t too busy talking about all those bridges connecting the Gaza Strip and the Judea and Samaria Area—had an absolutely terrific piece on this condescending smugness, last April.
This past election cycle, I was probably one of the more relentlessly #NeverTrump conservatives in the broader blogosphere/Twittersphere. I still have profound concerns about Donald Trump’s character and fitness for office, and I have no regrets whatsoever over my personal decision not to vote for him. But Dave also speaks for me when he writes that “[t]he left has done more in the last seventy-two hours to make me like Donald Trump than Donald Trump was able to do in sixteen whole months of campaigning.” The sundry temper tantrums, riots, cry-ins, and hand-holding kumbaya sessions are just out of control.
You know, I didnt vote for or support Trump, but lefties today are making it *really* easy to see why he won.
— Emily Zanotti (@emzanotti) November 9, 2016
Conservatives must continue to hold Trump’s feet to the fire when he inevitably deviates from our principles. I, and hopefully many others, will praise him when he deserves praise, and criticize him when he deserves criticism.
But, even as the need for constant vigilance has never been more acute, President-Elect Trump now deserves a clean slate. The Trump transition team, to its credit, seems to be conscientiously reaching out to erstwhile #NeverTrump conservatives. Good for them. I think I speak for many of us when I say that we really appreciate that. Perhaps even crazier is the fact that Bill Mitchell, the George Washington analog on the Mount Rushmore of most inveterate Trump supporters on Twitter, is now a mutual follower of mine.
Again—constant vigilance is needed. We must never be complacent or lethargic. But the schadenfreude is still very, very real. And, all in all, I’m feeling a lot better today than I thought I would be feeling.