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.

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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