Failing to support Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee effectively means advocating a Hillary Clinton presidency as the least-worst option in 2016. And #NeverTrump conservative pundits should find the courage to do so.
The veteran US conservative blog Ace of Spades has nothing but derision for those conservative pundits, commentators and other associated “thought leaders” who denigrate Donald Trump at every opportunity while lacking the courage to state the obvious inference from their criticism – that they would rather see Hillary Clinton as president.
Hardest hit: The #NeverTrumper Pundit Class, who are depending on a blowout to maintain that their constant anti-Trump agitations cannot possibly affect the election.
Oddly enough, none of these people claim to have zero influence on the conservative population except when they agitate against Trump. I’ve asked several people to provide past resumes and book proposals to demonstrate they have previously claimed to have absolutely no readership or influence over other conservatives; none of them have come forward with such book proposals stating, “I vow to you that I have barely any readers at all and that my book, should you publish it, will make nary the faintest ripple in the national debate.”
It’s only now, during 2016 (specifically from May of 2016 to November 2016), that this obviously highly-self-regarding group of Thought Leaders is making this claim of having no importance and no following.
I imagine these claims will evaporate ’round the second week of November.
Then they’ll all be back in Highly Influential Thought Leaders of the Conservative Movement mode again.
Sorry, I consider these claims to be cowardly, dishonest, and utterly chickenshit. People who have been cashing checks for decades based on their very value as magnets for conservative eyes can’t suddenly claim that, at least for a six month period from May to November 2016, they haveno influence whatsoever and are doing nothing at all to advance Hillary Clinton’s election prospects.
It’s cowardice, pure and simple. If you consider Trump so terrible that you feel obligated to support Hillary, then at least have the guts to say that, instead of putting on this childishly dishonest and evasive act of claiming that words people care enough about to pay you cash money for suddenly have no impact on anyone, anywhere, ever.
This bullshit that obviously-influential people who get paid advances to write books on conservative politics don’t have influence is unworthy. If you want a defense, then say, “I’m doing what I always do: I’m arguing for what I believe to be for the best for America.” (And that just happens to be arguing for the One True Conservative in the race, Hillary Clinton.)
He’s not wrong. There is no characteristic more despicable in people who claim to be part of the political and media elite than political cowardice and the craven unwillingness to boldly state inconvenient truths. Nor is there a spectacle more corrosive to the public trust in journalism and politics in general than those plump, oily fence-sitters who hedge their bets at every opportunity while still demanding that the rest of us sit and hang on their every word.
This blog took the plunge back at the time of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Though the words “I’m with her” had to be choked out together with no small quantity of bile, I uttered them nonetheless and this blog nailed its colours to the mast. Now Trump fanatics and those who fantasise about a Trump administration “dream team” involving the likes of Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin can damn me if they wish, and never set digital foot here again.
A Hillary Clinton presidency gives the Republican Party four more years to come up with a more palatable option than John McCain, Mitt Romney and Donald Trump. In those four years, precious little will happen to fill conservative hearts with glee. But it is also highly unlikely that anything cataclysmicly, unfixably awful will happen either. That, to this blog, seems like a much better deal than letting Donald Trump loose on the Oval Office and potentially having him tarnishing the conservative and Republican brands even more than he has been able to as a presidential candidate.
Many of Trump’s desperate apologists try to trip up the #NeverTrump brigade by pouring scorn on the idea that Hillary Clinton is more conservative than Trump (see Ace of Spades’ sarcastic description of Clinton as “the One True Conservative in the race”). This misses the point. Many of us see Hillary Clinton exactly for what she is – namely a very calculating centrist with no core political convictions whatsoever. She was never the swivel-eyed leftist that Newt Gingrich tried to suggest – witness her glacial movement on gay marriage, only cautiously signalling her support once she was sure that Joe Biden and Barack Obama had not done themselves any political damage.
So the question is not one of whether Hillary Clinton is “more” of a conservative than Trump (though Donald Trump certainly is no conservative). The question is one of temperament and basic competence to execute the job. And while Hillary Clinton may be dogged by many legitimate ethical questions, few doubt that she could handle the levers of government, if only to maintain America on its present course.
Donald Trump, by contrast, is a complete unknown quantity, and a hugely volatile one at that. When he goes off-script he is liable to say or do anything (insulting the most sympathetic of characters or getting into Twitter wars with D-list celebrities) which comes to mind, and when he is on-script (as at his recent summit with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto) he sounds like he has been lobotomised. I have about as much confidence that Donald Trump has read, understood and respects the US Constitution as I believe his claim that “nobody reads the bible more than me“.
The choice, then, is not between a leftist ideologue and an honest, hard-workin’ conservative whose only crime is to be a bit politically incorrect sometimes, as Trump’s loyal cheerleader Sean Hannity loves to put it. The choice is between an ideologically rootless centrist who will likely maintain the status quo because she and her family have too much vested in it to see it fail, or a madman.
There are some occasions when the plucky, anti-establishment, populist insurgency is wrong. Shocking, I know, coming from an ardent Brexiteer, but true nonetheless. The cherished goal of Brexit – reasserting nation state democracy and reclaiming power from distant, unaccountable, technocratic elites – is pure and noble, at its best. Trumpism is not. Even if many of the complaints of Donald Trump supporters are valid – and they certainly are, and have been ignored by mainstream politicians for too long – Trump’s solutions are not equal to the difficulties he identifies.
“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present”, Abraham Lincoln once remarked in an address to Congress. True – and nothing represents the dogmas of the past better than Hillary Clinton. But still it is better to sit in the harbour and make scant progress for four years than to unfurl the Trump sail and set a course right for the centre of the storm.
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