Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas, hosted by NBC News and MSNBC. (AP Photo/John Locher)
With a Bernie Sanders victory in the Democratic primary shaping up to be a reality, an interesting question has arisen. Yesterday, on social media, a myriad of larger (and not so large) conservative accounts offered their opinions on what the Never Trump movement re-merging with the broader conservative movement should result in.
And to be clear, we aren’t talking about Jennifer Rubin, Bill Kristol, etc. who would no doubt scoff at the mere suggestion. Those people are not only too far gone to ever be welcomed back, they’ve allowed their egos to grow to such obscene levels that they are now pledging to vote for a communist anyway. There’s no reconciliation possible there.
But what about those who’ve spent much of the last three years being Trump skeptical, but not necessarily insane about it? Here’s the tweet that prompted the discussion.
If a Bernie nomination pushes NeverTrump types back to GOP in 2020, Trump supporters would be smart to welcome them back rather than rubbing their noses in it
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) February 24, 2020
To be honest, I don’t know Peter’s complete history on this topic, although he seems to be fairly typical of a certain wing of the right media sphere who certainly aren’t Trump fans. Fair enough, I’m not gonna waste time making further generalizations past that. Whether he’s been a hardcore Never Trump in the past or not isn’t really the point. It’s his statement that is ultimately being critiqued here.
And critiqued it was, as lots of conservative thinkers chimed in to give their opinions.
This. Build the coalition. There are two choices: Liberty or socialism. https://t.co/7597yLGuNq
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 24, 2020
1000% correct, and Trump supporters WILL welcome them the back the same way they welcomed back a lot of people who hated Trump during the 2016 primary. https://t.co/kPPrL2nHON
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) February 24, 2020
Others were more skeptical.
My unsolicited take — too many GOPers let their ego get in the way of the bigger picture (judges, tax bill, etc.) & instead of riding it out, they sowed major discord within the party & even openly supported democrats. These squishy folks don't deserve a seat back at the table. https://t.co/ICxpKtfJva
— LB (@beyondreasdoubt) February 24, 2020
So much of Conservative, Inc., under the eventual NeverTrumpers was about policing who got to be in and who was expelled. All might be welcome but all mustn't be leaders. Particularly these folks. Many of their views (e.g. interventionism) are toxic to the big tent and its goals.
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) February 24, 2020
Here’s what I’ll say on this topic. Bernie Sanders represents the greatest threat to American norms, whether it be culturally, economically, or in foreign policy, in modern history. That’s not hyperbole. This is a guy who’s grown up lauding communist dictatorships. The best spin you can put on his platform is that it’s just a little more radical than British Labour, and that’s no compliment. He surrounds himself with outspoken anti-Semites while promulgating racist inter-sectional theory.
With all that said, we need every vote we can get, and not just every vote, but every person we can get that will help get the message out there that Sanders can’t be President.
So what does that look like with those leaving the Never Trump movement to support Trump (remembering that we aren’t talking about the absolute crazy people)? I don’t think it looks like rubbing their noses in it, although some humility and mea culpas should be expected. They certainly shouldn’t expect to walk into the room and start dictating to everyone else again either. But what I do think any reunion absolutely demands is a serious level of buy-in toward gaining a victory in November, because their newfound faith in a binary choice to defeat Sanders will be tested.
Here’s what I mean by that. There is going to be some October surprise, some new Ukraine-esque “scandal,” and/or any number of misleading or outright false leaks in the meantime which will seek to damage Trump. When that happens, how will these former Never Trumpers respond?
Because if it’s going to just be immediate teeth-gnashing and virtue signaling, then a reunion probably isn’t worth it. It’s actually counter-productive at that point. But if there’s a willingness to realize that Democrats are about to throw everything they have at the Republicans in this 2020 cycle, that they are going to be dishonest in doing so, and that it’s time to lay egos aside and actually fight, then an alliance around the common goal of stopping a communist from being elected makes sense.
If that’s not doable for some coming out of the Never Trump movement, then it’s best they stay where they are.