A Good Reason To Hate 2016

This presidential campaign will be over in 76 days. Thank God. I’ve said it before, this particular year is exhausting. Friendships have been strained, and some even broken, not over Democrat vs. Republican, or even liberal vs. conservative. This year, it’s mostly over one man and some people’s devotion to him, and others’ revulsion of him.

On November 9, people who used to associate and agree on most things will have to learn to live together, or reach an amicable parting. The likely scenario is awaking from a Trump trouncing, but much can happen in 76 days, so I’m not willing to close the door. (Washington Post The Fix writer Aaron Blake responded to John Oliver’s suggestion that Trump drop out and become a “hero”…this is what the race has come to. Erick sighed “I hate this year.”)

The Republican Party, as an organization, may never recover from Trump. Once the RNC went all-in and ensured his nomination, the lobster trap snapped shut, and now there’s no exit. But will relationships and friendships survive?

Even in 2008, when the liberal wing of my family went ga-ga over Barack Obama, I still loved them, and I still spoke to them. We didn’t usually discuss politics, but even when we did, we realized we’re still family. It’s the same with many of my liberal friends. People in the armed forces still trust their lives to their battle buddies, regardless of who those people support, politically. The guys who pack parachutes are not vetted for their political stance.

But the tone here is somehow different. People are coarser. Jonah Goldberg lamented with a tinge of anger, at his friend Bill Bennett, who said this to Megyn Kelly.

There’s a lot of people and there are still undecided people. [Trump] does not need to speak to the NeverTrump person — some of my friends, or maybe former friends, who suffer from a terrible case of moral superiority, and put their own vanity and taste above the interest of the country.

Wow. That smarts. It’s this way for many–those who are not NeverTrump see those who are as sanctimonious pricks. And it’s really hard to reconcile with someone after you call them a sanctimonious prick.

Everything that Trump does or says for the next 76 days will now be seen through the lens of “take that, you sanctimonious prick!” for many who walked together with us on every issue.

To Todd Starnes: nope. I don’t have an issue with it. How many NeverTrump people do you think there are? Do you think it’s more important for Trump to gain the trust of Latinos and African-Americans than to win over some tiny number of publicly-declared NeverTrump writers and radio hosts? If every single NeverTrump figure suddenly switched to full #MAGA warrior mode, would that make even the tiniest difference in the polls?

If National Review came out with a cover “The Case For Trump: Make America Great Again” featuring hagiographic essays from Goldberg, Glenn Beck, David Boaz, Brent Bozell, Ben Domenech, Erick Erickson, Bill Kristol, Dana Loesch, Andrew McCarthy, Michael Medved, Russell Moore, Katie Pavlich, John Podhoretz, Thomas Sowell, and Cal Thomas, would that win the election?

No. It wouldn’t. Neither will those same people being against Trump cost him the election–it didn’t even cost him the nomination! But people like Starnes are not about to admit it.

This is really a bigger split than many people acknowledge. It’s not really over Trump and his politics (such as they are, if anyone can actually define them). It’s over the role and ground rules of party politics, and what Republicans–even conservatives–actually stand for.

One reader of this site emailed me. “Republicans need to focus on the economy, the debt and not ever speak of social issues,” he wrote. “From my point of view, they were on the wrong side of gay and abortion issues for too long. I don’t know of any Republican that is anti-gay or anti-pro-choice. They may be for traditional marriage and pro-life but are not opposed to others living their life as they so choose.”

Many people feel this way. Even many people who agree with my social and religious views agree that Republicans are too focused on losing social issues. This would happen to include leaders like Jerry Falwell, Jr., Dr. Robert Jeffress, Wayne Grudem, and Bill Bennett. For them to choose Trump (or hold their noses, like Dennis Prager) indicates their desire that the GOP focus on economic, trade, and personal liberty over social agendas.

This is the great divide that threatens to smash longtime friendships and associations.

It doesn’t matter if Trump wins or not. If he wins, there will be another four years of apologizing for him nearly every day. At some point, many will declare their disappointment and regret, and may realize they bet on the wrong horse. My sister–an Obama acolyte in 2008–now despises the man for what he’s done the last 8 years. Maybe that’s the best course–I’ve even thought about that as a reason to support Trump–to preserve those relationships.

In other words: I’ll vote for Trump  for your sake. Now shut up.

But it’s too big a stretch for me. Not because I’m a sanctimonious prick, but because my conscience tells me something that other people’s consciences don’t necessarily tell them. And just like the Bible says, I don’t condemn Christians who support Trump for believing what they believe. I don’t think supporting Trump will send a Christian to hell. It’s just wrong, to me, and to many (most?) others. I do, however, expect those Christians to be accountable when the election is over.

I agree with Ramesh Ponnuru:

Most people who work in Republican politics want Donald Trump to win but think he will lose. They hope that afterward the party will unify in opposition to President Hillary Clinton. They are, however, underestimating the divisions in their party that Trump’s campaign has revealed.

From the standpoint of Republican unity, the worst possible outcome of the November election would be a narrow defeat for Trump. The nominee’s Republican supporters would be enraged at those Republicans who balked at Trump, and the party would be consumed by recriminations.

I think the Republican Party, as an organization, will be consumed with all kinds of handicaps, from donor disengagement, to a lack of new volunteers, that recriminations will just be the icing on that particular cake of awfulness. But from the standpoint of friendships, relationships, and conservative thought, will be in danger from those recriminations.

There is a place for social agendas in politics. In fact, I believe that’s the primary foundation beneath all the policies and trade and economics. Ideals are far more important than execution. The schism that faces post-Trump conservatives is this: Do we place our shared ideals above policies, programs, and political goals, or does upholding those ideals at the cost of party goals make those who do so into sanctimonious pricks?

If it’s the latter, it’s going to be a very long time before certain “former friends” break bread again without that awkward tension. That’s a good reason to hate 2016.

Will the Real Donald Trump Please Stand Up?

After weeks of deteriorating polls, it seems Donald Trump finally surrendered to the whimpers of defeat emanating from Republican party elites. Seemingly out of the blue, the campaign welcomed a seasoned and well-respected political operative, Kellyanne Conway—and in true “Trumpian” style, the executive chairman of Breitbart News, Stephen Bannon, a man detested by many as an alt-right street-fighter. Then several days later, the scandal-mired former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, quietly resigned.

Perhaps more shocking than a campaign shake-up in mid-August, is that for an entire week, Trump was largely able to stay on-message. After months of promising to act more presidential, and failing, the long-awaited ‘pivot’ finally came to fruition. While still unapologetically controversial at times, Trump managed to make a surprisingly effective case against Hillary Clinton and long-failed Democratic Party policies both foreign and domestic.

The republican nominee and his running mate were the first to visit the flood victims of Louisiana, where they handed-out toys for children who had lost everything, and much needed supplies for those staying in shelters. He then flew to Milwaukee amid the violence following the police shooting of an armed man, to meet with police and veterans in the area. There, Trump made his first appeal to black voters, becoming the first national republican candidate in recent memory to boldly come out and ask for their vote in November.

This sort of outreach is great… but what about all the voters Trump has already alienated?

For example, Shawn Branch, 38, of Mesquite Texas, has voted republican his whole life. Initially, Branch was open to supporting Donald Trump in the General.

“I went into the primary open-minded. I wasn’t going to quickly lock-in on just one candidate,” Branch explained. “I was pretty much wanting Cruz, but then I saw Trump pulling ahead. Just something made me cautious about him. I was trying to make the best of things however, so I wanted to try to convince myself to support him.”

He remained undecided until the weeks surrounding the Iowa Caucus, when Trump started doubling-down on inflammatory tactics. When it came to supporting him in the primary, or even keeping an open-mind for the general, “Trump talked me out of doing both himself,” exclaimed Branch.

Branch withdrew all support of Trump once he realized he was working with Paul Manafort and Roger Stone. Pointing to their history, Branch concluded, “He proved he was all smoke and mirrors,” adding, “both are evil guys.”

“Stone is a career character assassin and trickster.” After some in-depth research, Branch believes that all “Trump’s grotesque lying and false attacks, all of that was fed to him by Roger J. Stone, Jr.”

Trump’s behavior was not the only issue for Mr. Branch this election. “I voted for Cruz in the primary and not one second did I believe the lies being peddled by Trump. And I knew I didn’t want to vote for Trump before the convention.” He said, adding “(but) I don’t know about the RNC and GOP now. I feel they broke the RNC rules at the convention right before our eyes. They were too easily taken over by a closet liberal.”

The same sentiments offered by Mr. Branch are repeated over and over when talking to other republican voters disaffected with Trump. Going forward, it seems the campaign had better tread-lightly if they hope to pick-up voters dissatisfied with the last 8 years and looking for an outsider. Perhaps enough Americans will be willing to put the past aside in hopes of a better future. But if recent trends repeat, even the best operatives cannot save a campaign when the candidate is the problem.

Mainstream Media & Bipartisan Corruption Created Trump. Here’s Proof They Haven’t Learned a Thing.

For decades, mainstream media cronies and their political allies were able to control both the domestic and international news narrative through selective reporting and spin. Then, out of the internet’s creation (thanks Al Gore), the information age was born. While still in it’s infancy, keeping undesirable stories and/or damaging facts out of the headlines was mostly successful. The bulk of the American electorate continued to rely solely on the traditional press for their worldview, and when expedient, the half-truths propagated by so-called journalists. Over the next 15yrs, that dynamic slowly began to shift. Every year that passed, more and more people gained access to the web and quietly discovered these inaccuracies by simply turning on their home computer.

According to Gallup, in 1999, overall public trust in media was 55% compared to 40% in 2015. Trust in the media continues to be significantly lower among younger Americans aged 18 to 49 at a measly 36%.

Technical innovation continued to boom, introducing consumers to even more-affordable computers then laptops; cell phones then smart phones; broadband then Wi-Fi; and iPod then tablets. For the first time in history, news around the world became effortlessly accessible within seconds. Brand-new media sources of all political persuasions began popping up as new websites, podcasts, and social media platforms evolved. To maintain their own relevancy, advertising revenues and grip over public opinion, network/cable news outlets, newspapers and magazines were painfully forced to adapt and thus compete with these new mediums.

Coupled with diverse, emerging new-sources were propaganda outlets, unreliable and unsubstantiated faux-news, gossip sites akin to supermarket tabloids, and fantastical bloggers out to prove any number of conspiracy theories. Confusion and frustration with unsubstantiated claims inadvertently caused the inception of partisan echo-chambers, and within those, willful blindness.

Old and new mainstream media continued to feverishly employ a range of outdated practices and new highly-effective tactics to enshrine their preferred political ideology into every level of government, corporate boardrooms, education systems, intelligencia and even pop-culture. All appeared to be going as planned— until the election of 2015-2016 when millions of enraged citizens put their support behind the one man openly cursing the media bias and political class corruption.

His rabid anger, by and large, seemed appropriate. Finally, someone powerful could see what was happening and wasn’t afraid to fight back. It did not matter that he was not always factual. For years the citizenry has busted US Government officials intentionally mischaracterizing the facts or bald-face lying, and those constitutionally entrusted to fact-check them by way of a “Free Press” weren’t always factual either. Underestimating the public’s sheer disgust with politicians and the press, the left-leaning media succumbed to both their addiction to ratings, along the pleasure it brought watching Trump terrorize 17 GOP competitors and the republican party nationwide. Supposing they could take him out before he did any real damage (to their interests), they donated billions worth of free media exposure to his campaign. As media attention and Trump’s support base grew, the more politicians, celebrities, and private sector figures across the political spectrum bestowed legitimacy to the idea of Donald Trump serving as President.

By the time anyone realized he was getting way too close for comfort, and therefore needed to be stopped, it was too little too late. Trump would become the GOP nominee. And sadly, just as many of us had long suspected, the GOP establishment feared losing their power over losing their decency.

Now, here we are. A turbulent narcissist might very well become most powerful man on earth. And, how does the US media and the political opposition respond? Just as expected, they’re attempting to wholly ignore, stall, spin and downplay any and all problematic reporting on Democrats. Exactly the same plan as before, but this time with more fervor in effort to destroy Trump. The problem is, that while many are “Never Trump”, the majority of GOP voters are not. So, although polls appear to show defeat now, will the media and political elite once again overstep the bounds of public tolerance and disrupt the current dynamic? Quite possibly.

Here’s an example: As social media is bustling with outrage over the treasure trove of cronyism and corruption uncovered, all of mainstream media was not. And, when they finally did, their short-lived indignation quickly shifted away from DNC and twisted into blame of Russia. Yes, they seriously expect voters to overlook the numerous incognito democrat-operatives posing as journalists in the media. Please disregard all those culturally insensitive and nasty things said by Democratic Party leaders when they thought you couldn’t hear. Hillary’s campaign immediately rescuing ‘disgraced DNC Debbie’ with a highly-coveted, make-believe role inside the deified Clinton machine is no big deal. Standard practice. And 42% of the party who supported Bernie by showing up at the polls, knocked-on doors, made calls, and donated their hard-earned money under the assumption he at least had a chance of winning? When can they expect their well-connected, powerful, multi-multi-millionaire gov’t insiders to emerge in defense of their faux-honor? Sorry, not sorry. Hear me lemmings? Get over it, All of it. Now “unite” as you’ve been instructed to beat Trump!

And, the GOP’s battle-plan? Capitulation, exile, and mass-defection to arguably the most dishonest, contemptable politician alive in the US today, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Yesterday, it was over 50 GOP security officials who worked in the George W Bush Admin. Today, it was long-time Senator Susan Collins from Maine. Who will it be tomorrow… at this rate, God only knows.

The US electorate is fed-up with the corruption, nervous about their future, and concerned for their country. If the media sticks to their past behavior, they’ll once again risk Trump appearing as if he’s a champion of the people. Attacking every insensitive, unmannered and nonsensical thing Trump says, while practically ignoring legitimate scandals such as the $400M in unmarked cash to Iran, is dishonest and unethical. And the American people know it. Now more than ever before, the lack of impartiality and honestly in media coverage is gambling the fate of our republic. Let’s hope they prevent the world at large from resting in Donald Trump’s tiny hands.

The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Enemy

Now that the GOP has officially declared #NeverTrump conservatives an enemy of the party–wait, how, you ask–we need to consider how to respond. How we are enemies of the party? Republican party leadership did everything possible to find the weak link; cajole, threaten, and deal for Donald Trump to “crush” any attempt to free the delegates.

Trump then did his usual “I dance on your grave” two-step.

It wasn’t #NeverTrump that was crushed at the convention’s rules committee. It was #FreeTheDelegates, which was a long shot in any scenario. I, for one, fully expected the convention to be a coronation of the King of the Orange Throne. This is the reason I didn’t go as a delegate when I had the opportunity.

The #NeverTrump movement lives on, hopefully with the new goal of making Trump suffer a catastrophic loss in November, to teach the GOP an object lesson on selling its soul in the future. Dogs don’t respond to scolding unless you punish them in the act of misbehavior. Lining up behind Trump then shouting “bad dog!” when all is lost will accomplish nothing.

Speaking for myself alone–I realize some conservatives who find Trump to be loathsome will still support him to keep Hillary Clinton out of office–I think the option is to save at least one party to live on in some form, and that means Trump losing. I prefer The Samson Contingency, which is a Trump loss in all 50 states while preserving down ballot races in the Senate and House for the GOP.

The media calls the GOP the party of obstructionism, preventing “progress.” Good. We are especially good at that, and if we lose the Senate (which is a looming probability at this point), we lose a whole lot of leverage stopping Hillary. If we lose the House, we’re back to 2008, but much worse. Backing Trump almost guarantees a loss of the Senate–and in 2018, the House.

Hillary Clinton must be stopped. If she can’t be stopped in the general election (and I don’t think she can against Trump), then she must be stopped in office. Even if Trump makes it (by some confirmation bias of conspiracy theories) into office, the Democrats, and many Republicans will join to thwart his insane economic suicide agenda. The GOP will be destroyed.

At least temporarily, the GOP under Donald Trump has declared itself my enemy. Hillary Clinton is my enemy. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy. The false dichotomy of “Trump or Clinton” doesn’t play in the real world, and everyone in Washington D.C. knows it. They only use it to raise money.

Trump in the White House with a Democratic congress is infinitely worse for the future of conservative thought, small government, and economic growth than having Hillary opposed by a Ryan-led House, with Cruz and Rubio in the Senate. This has been the #NeverTrump position all along. The party and Trump supporters have done nothing–zero–to assuage those concerns. I have to conclude it’s because they have no answer.

#NeverTrump lives on, and its effect will be seen at the ballot box in November–or it won’t be, and America will moe into a less favorable position, and conservatives will have to find another party to carry the banner.

Evangelicals Threw In The Towel On #NeverTrump

Evangelical leaders who pray for revival,  miracles, signs and wonders demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit, have doubts about Trump. But when faced with the certainty of Hillary Clinton as president, they throw in the towel.

If you’re old enough to never wear skinny jeans or Birkenstocks to work, you might remember the lyrics to “American Pie” (the song, not the movie) by Don McLean.

And the three men I admire most,
Father, Son and the Holy Ghost;
They caught the last train for the coast
The day the music died.

The Christian teacher I admire most (still living) is Dr. Michael L. Brown. Dr. Brown was on the platform at my own baptism in 1999. He earned a Ph.D. (not honorary) in Near Eastern languages from New York University. He studies the Torah and the New Testament in the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek; he is a Jew who follows Jesus, converted at seventeen in the early 1970’s out of a life of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll.

To say I’m a close follower of Dr. Brown is severely understating his impact on my life. The few times I’ve met him in person, the power of God was manifest in his presence, in his prayer, and in his knowledge of God’s Word. There are few people on the planet in whose wisdom regarding God’s plans and purposes I trust as much as Dr. Brown.

That being said, I was beyond shocked to read Brown’s latest article: “Why I’m Actually Rooting for Donald Trump.” The subhead was even more a sucker punch for me: “Maybe, just maybe, the words of the godly Christian leaders Trump surrounded himself with will sink in, even just a little bit.”

I thought: It’s over. This is the end. The fact that Brown began his essay by asking the reader not to overreact to the title did nothing to cure my involuntary gasp and heart palpitations. If someone of Brown’s stature has succumbed to the “maybe Trump is inevitable” virus, then surely evangelicals have thrown in the towel on #NeverTrump.

Nonetheless, when I say that I’m actually rooting for him, what I mean is that I could not possibly vote for Hillary Clinton, and with Trump surrounding himself with so many godly Christian leaders, I’m hopeful that something will sink in and that God will deal with him in a radical way. Perhaps he is listening to some of the solid evangelical leaders who have become close to him?

That failing, I’m hoping that even in his Christian ignorance, even with his glaring character faults, even with his waffling on major positions, he still desires to be a champion of Christianity and genuinely desires to see America turned around and will therefore make the right decisions if elected.

I feel like how Jonah Goldberg felt when Newt Gingrich went all-in for Trump. First it was political conservatives, then it was political evangelical Christians, and now it’s solid-as-a-rock evangelical scholars moving to the argument that Trump is inevitable for the GOP.

I feel an air of inevitability building among many strong, church-going Christians and Christian leaders. These are not the ones to whom Erick was referring in his warning “You Are Not Daniel.” Brown similarly rebuked those charlatans and milquetoasts. No, this is a different air–one of resignation.

These are Christians who pray for nations to repent, who commission missionaries to go into Muslim nations and preach the Gospel only for the reward of hopefully returning alive (many do not); who pray for revival in America and miracles, signs and wonders demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit, and for the breaking of our hearts over the scourge of abortion.

But when faced with the certainty of Hillary Clinton as president, they throw in the towel. They cite words of prophetic vision about Trump’s being raised up as King Cyrus, which Erick correctly equated to idol worship. Dr. Brown admitted he asked himself if that specific prophecy could be true–without endorsing it. Before Trump, these holy people stand gob smacked and scratching their heads in puzzlement.

The fact is that Trump’s popularity against all wisdom seems preternatural. It’s either ordained of God as our national salvation, or it’s ordained of God as our national judgment, or it’s as Don McLean wrote and God has uprooted His standard from America and left the lights on for us to see what happens in His absence.

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll shows Trump has rebounded nationally, leading Clinton 43 to 39 percent, with 12 percent going for another candidate (Gary Johnson?) and 5 percent undecided. Granted, the RCP average shows Clinton with a 4.8 percent lead head-to-head and a 4.9 percent lead with Johnson polling at 8 percent. But Clinton’s lead has indeed narrowed since last week.

Dr. Brown’s capitulation to the inevitability of Trump is troubling, even though he tempers it with honest, heartfelt prayer for Trump’s soul.

But as the one real alternative we have to Hillary, I’m hoping for the impossible and praying for God to do something radical in the life of Donald Trump for the good of the nation of the Church.

Stranger things than this have happened in history, and given the bizarre nature of the current presidential elections — more importantly, given the nature of God — all things are possible.

I also pray fervently for Trump, but I’m truly disheartened that evangelical leaders have abandoned what should be the focus of their prayer.

Going into the GOP Convention in Cleveland, church-going, solid evangelicals will have an outsized representation on the floor, with plenty of Cruz supporters in attendance. These are the people who have within their power to deny Trump the prize he seeks and avoid the nightmare scenario of having to embrace Trump as God’s choice (for good or ill).

Why not pray for the delegates to have supernatural strength and resolve? Why not pray for that group to see the presence of God manifest in Cleveland?

Let’s assume that we are faced with an oncoming train driven by a blind engineer as we are stalled on a one-track bridge. Do we pray that the oncoming train engineer would suddenly see us and stop; or do we pray for our own engine to start to move out of the way? Or do we pray for the bridge to open up before us so the oncoming train plunges into the chasm below?

Hillary is the chasm, Trump is the blind engineer, and the GOP is stalled on the tracks. I think praying for the blind engineer’s eyes might just be as useful as praying for bridge failure. But the blind engineer is surrounded by Godly people, so maybe, just maybe, God will heal him.

Evangelical leaders have lost their faith in God stopping Trump, so now they pray he won’t discard Christians if we help him win the presidency. As one trusted pastor has said, and I’ve quoted many times: “if we elect this man to the White House, the first time Christians disagree with Trump, we will get everything that is coming to us.”

Only GOP Delegates Can Avoid the Trump-Terror-Train-Wreck

Donald Trump is counting on another terror attack on U.S. soil. Without it, there’s absolutely no possible way he can beat Hillary Clinton. And President Obama is obliging Trump’s request against his own party’s interest by tolerating acceptable losses and turning the focus to gun control.

Trump’s numbers paint a brutally stark picture of disaster. In one chart, the Washington Post spoke ten thousand words of Trump’s toxicity.

wapo_rcp_support

Worse, the orange-maned Manhattanite doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about having a national organization, or a ground game, or a campaign staff to handle a billion-dollar run for the White House. Trump has farmed that out to the GOP, and even then, he’s phoning in his part, dealing with large donors and fundraising. He has no intention of doing anything that any previous nominee did. Instead, Trump is counting on the terror bump to win him the White House.

Imagery and news have an incredibly powerful effect on our notions of good leadership and opinions on people. Vanity Fair (of all media) pointed out how President George W. Bush’s approval rating went from 51 to 90 percent in the two weeks from September 10, 2001 to after the attacks. The president standing on rubble with a megaphone, dealing with a national crisis, and declaring we as a nation will win was strong medicine.

Trump, it’s clear, seems to understand this reality. In fact, he appears to view it as a political opportunity. He has found a way to conflate an actual attack with the mere threat of one. After declaring that he “would bomb the SHIT out of” of ISIS, or articulating that “when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” Trump recently went on National Border Patrol Council’s Green Line radio show and claimed that refugees entering the United States will launch a massive terrorist attack against America. “Bad things will happen—a lot of bad things will happen,” Trump said. “There will be attacks that you wouldn’t believe.”

This article was written on May 18.

Trump misfired on his response to the Orlando terror attack, and came off smug with the humblebrag declining “congrats.” In the wake of his Judge Curiel remarks, he played right into Team Clinton’s trap of confirmation bias that Trump is a racist.

But Trump’s terror-based confirmation bias is much stronger than Clinton’s. It’s because Trump, in fact, really isn’t a racist. He just puts up with them–and probably understands them–much more than SJW-inculcated Democrats (many of whom are actually racists). Clinton, however, is a certifiable featherweight on national security.

Knowing that the GOP candidate is waiting for an opportunity to appear “presidential” in the wake of a national crisis, in which people die, and is actually counting on that to happen as a campaign strategy, is rebarbative. It’s like eating at a barbecue and coming across a pit where they’ve discarded the pig’s decomposing carcass, filled with maggots. One’s appetite is killed.

The shaft of light in this morbid tunnel is the fact that the train wreck is avoidable. That other people in the GOP, who have also arrived at the sickening truth are openly talking about dumping Trump at the convention.

About 1,000 Republicans nationwide participated in a conference call Sunday night discussing the effort to prevent Donald Trump from getting the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention next month, according to organizers.

The figure would represent a sharp rise from the roughly three dozen people who were said to have taken part in a similar call last week, according to CNN. News outlets were unable to independently confirm the number of people on the call.

The Trump-terror-train-wreck can be avoided, and there’s still time to field a candidate who can beat the weakest Democratic candidate since Walter Mondale. The very existence of the Republican Party is at stake, along with the role of conservative values in America for the next 20 years. Only the delegates can stop the Trump Train.

They Pretend They Don’t Get #NeverTrump

“Let me say it one more time, for the umpteen-thousandth time: Donald Trump is not fit for the office of President of the United States. No political argument can ever or will ever change that fact.”

Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer made sure that she was dead. I get it. #NeverTrump is dead. There’s zero chance of a miracle (short of the divine kind) that would prevent Donald Trump from being the Republican nominee. We’re down to two choices: Hillary Clinton or Trump.

But every time we wax metaphysical, non-political about Trump, they creep up from behind again…

This time it’s the Wall Street Journal.

Conservative pundits say Mr. Trump has authoritarian tendencies, but then they should want principled leaders in positions of power to restrain him. This week Mr. Ryan and his GOP colleagues are starting to roll out their own agenda for governing next year. It includes tax, health-care and financial reforms, as well as measures to reduce poverty and restore Congressional authority.

This is smart politics, not least because it gives GOP candidates for the House and Senate something other than Mr. Trump to promote and talk about. Voters will be able to see that Republicans stand for something beyond Mr. Trump’s passions.

Agreed. It’s smart politics to keep the House and Senate, and secure conservative victories with a Republican White House.

It isn’t clear what Mr. Ryan’s critics want him to do in any event. Do they really expect a House Speaker to deny support to the GOP nominee, making the Trump-Ryan division a running story through November? There’s nothing like a bloody Republican civil war to dampen turnout and produce an election rout for the other side. As for a third-party run, no one has volunteered for that duty precisely because it has almost no chance of success.

In a word: Yes. We expect someone of Speaker Ryan’s cut of cloth to understand that statesmanship goes beyond politics. We expect him to “get it.”

Let me say it one more time, for the umpteen-thousandth time: Donald Trump is not fit for the office of President of the United States. No political argument can ever or will ever change that fact. And it is a fact.

One of my favorite writers on the question-and-answer site Quora, physicist and author Richard Muller, nailed the reason it’s so hard for #NeverTrump-ers to explain our position to those who don’t get it.

Many people in the United States (and around the world) believe that it takes no particular skill or knowledge to be President of the United States, or the head of any government. These are people who believe that intuition and feeling is more important than expertise.

In this line of thinking, it doesn’t matter what Trump says or does, or how clearly he demonstrates his ignorance. The man’s (probably) a billionaire, a reality TV star, a bona-fide celebrity with his own Boeing 757.

But people who think this way are terribly, terribly wrong.

Those who support Trump out of party loyalty, political calculation, or brazen self-interest can be forgiven for their error. But the more grievous, perhaps mortal sin, is the one made by intellectual conservatives who have calculated that it’s worth giving Trump a try for four years, because, they think, how much damage could he do?

These people play stupid and stand aside while those of us who remain #NeverTrump are thrown under the bus again and again–or to continue the metaphor, Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer came down upon our heads. Back to the WSJ:

The criticism of Mr. Ryan comes with particular ill-grace from the conservatives who seeded the ground for Mr. Trump. Many of the most devout Never-Trumpers have spent years fanning grassroots hostility against immigration and Mexicans.

Ill-grace? Seeded the ground? Maybe we plowed the ground, but Trump was not the seed we planted. He was the weed, the equivalent of Kudzu that grew and choked out the real conservatives like Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. And conservatives like Newt Gingrich and Ryan chose to pretend that this is a matter of mere politics. As Erick wrote, damn them for that.

I realize Ryan is between a genuine Scylla and Charybdis. There’s precious little room to maneuver. But the course he’s chosen is impossible: Trump is either owned fully, racist statements and all, or not at all.

Trump himself sees nothing in terms of statesmanship. Everything political is a game to him, which is why he could support Renee Elmers (who thankfully lost), nearly the closest thing to a Democrat in the GOP congressional caucus, while claiming positions she almost 100 percent opposed. Hypocrisy is irrelevant to Trump and many of his core supporters, because they see the entire system as corrupt (read Muller’s answer from above).

Conservatives playing the “risk four years” game with Trump are proof positive that these Trump supporters are right. They are, like the GOP establishment, exactly who we thought they were. We expect them to get that statesmanship is a bigger sphere than politics, but they pretend not to get it.

For example, if we had foreknowledge that an actual Manchurian Candidate, a red-controlled plant, was actually running, even if the electorate fell for the ruse, the politicians who knew the truth would stop the charlatan from gaining power. If we had foreknowledge that a candidate would let the missiles fly (like Christopher Walken’s character knew about Martin Sheen’s “Greg Stillson” in Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone“), we’d be justified in stopping that candidate at all costs (and no I’m not advocating that solution).

Here we are with thirty-plus years of history on Donald Trump. Hundreds of thousands of words written about him have painted a picture of a monster-in-waiting, a proto-despot with no moral compass, and a history of racism, sexism, cupidity and sin. We don’t have to guess what the man will do in office. We know.

But many of our party leaders pretend they don’t get it. Either they’re genuinely stupid, or they’re being willfully ignorant and intentionally obtuse. For my part, I don’t think they’re stupid.

And they just stand aside while the political press continues to swing their silver hammer at #NeverTrump, laying the blame at our feet. Swing away; we’ll take the blame. As long as it keeps that man out of the White House. And yes, we are taking names.

Reactions To The #FrenchRevolution

The media has picked up a rumor, a tremor. There’s a disturbance in the Force that keeps the tidy flow of politics confined to the love triangle of Sanders, Clinton and Trump.

Since Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol hinted that someone is about to step up and make #NeverTrump a real thing (now that there’s nobody in the GOP to do it), most of the media has been skeptical, if not cynical. Now it has leaked out that the candidate is none other than National Review’s David A. French (from NBC below, CNN also picked up the story).

National Review staff writer David French is considering an independent presidential run, sources close to the #NeverTrump movement confirmed to NBC News.

French is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and attorney with a concentration in constitutional law, according to his biography on National Review.

Bloomberg Politics first reported the news.

French is considering a run at the encouragement of Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, who has been openly courting a conservative alternative to Trump.

Personally, I don’t know French other than some positive online interaction as a fellow conservative blogger and on social media. From that, I do know he’s a man of faith in God and in his country’s honor. I know that I very rarely disagree with a single word he’s written over at NR. I know that his wife is as committed and talented as he is, and that together they are raising a wonderful family.

I know that French’s family will be the focus of the attacks against him, and for that I pray for him and for them, their safety, and their peace of mind. If French is running, it’s going to change his life forever. I pray that his courage never falters.

Oh, and, yes, I would vote for him.

Here’s how others (and some of our own) on Twitter reacted to the news of a potential #FrenchRevolution:

https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/737752677489201153

https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/737767771057053697

To be fair, Shapiro had some objections.

https://twitter.com/Aaron_RS/status/737768147067883520

If it reads like a who’s who of #NeverTrump, that’s because it is.

Our own Josh Hammer had some concern about National Review and the GOP. I think that bridge was on fire quite a few months ago.

https://twitter.com/josh_hammer/status/737786813163679744

French’s editor at NR is fully behind him.

The best reason for French to run? It will cause Trump’s neo-Nazis to come out and proud for him like cockroaches needing to be stamped out.

https://twitter.com/RWDS1488/status/737808274502778881

https://twitter.com/RWDS1488/status/708081122375127040

I couldn’t resist this one.

We will be hearing a lot more about David French in the coming days, I suspect. If he indeed is running (which seems by accounts to be true), I will do my very best to support him.


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