Friends, it’s about time we sat down and had a chat.
For Trump apologists, as well as fervent supporters, there is this notion that there’s no difference between the #NeverTrump movement and the Trump Deranged. This is the discussion we need to have, because it’s as false as it is embarrassing.
#NeverTrump is a movement I can completely understand. I don’t identify myself with the hashtag, but I get how they feel. There was a roster full of solid conservatives and decent politicians sprinkled in that we had a shot to get some good, Republican ideas on the table. However, mismanagement and missed opportunities squandered a good bench and left us with Trump, who was and I believe still is demonstrably not conservative.
It is what it is, though, and there is really no point in re-hashing the election. Trump is the president.
For #NeverTrump folks, there is a sense of trying to get the Republican Party to realize what it has done to itself. It has hurt itself, in #NeverTrump’s eyes, and sullied the good name of conservatism.
Trump Derangement, however, is a completely different monster. It is an ideology… no, a pathology… that believes everything Trump does is wrong and evil and should be opposed. You can argue (perhaps successfully) that the Trump deranged would allow similar or even worse behavior from a different politician simply because that politician is not the crass buffoon Trump is.
You find a lot of Democrats among the Trump Derangement camp. You don’t find any in the #NeverTrump movement. And that right there is the difference.
I am not a part of the #NeverTrump movement, but I do recognize that it is absolutely conservative in nature. Conservatism believes in healthy criticism of politicians, whether they are our own or the other side’s. Many of Trump’s apologists or supporters, however, seem to enjoy thinking #NeverTrump is some sort of secret call sign for liberal spies who have been sprinkled about the conservative movement.
It is an absurd thought, but it prevails. There are two reasons why this has happened.
The first is the cult of personality. We have this problem on the right, just as the left does, where we like a person as much as, if not more than, his or her politics. This is dangerous because it leads to us sacrificing ideals in favor of people.
The second is the religion of chaos that a large segment of conservatism seems to have adopted. Many of our friends have decided that pissing off Democrats, socking it to the media, and disrupting the status quo are now just as, if not more, important than (again) our ideals.
Both of these are incredibly risky mutations of conservatism, and they distort the end goal of conservatism: smaller government and individual liberty.
If you’re just going to attack those on the right who oppose Trump the same way you do Democrats, however, then the state of our movement is in as much trouble as the Democrats’, who face their own identity issues. If the goal is to continue to win, then we can’t lose our minds when someone disagrees with us.
By the way, that last bit goes for #NeverTrump conservatives in how they deal with some Trump supporters.