It’s been nearly eighteen months since the presidential election, and many are still left wondering what happened.
Despite often wishing that the reality before us looked quite different, Donald J. Trump is our president. He is the leader of a nation made up of staunch supporters, hostile opponents, and those resting upon some awkward middle ground who actively reject much of what comes from either side.
During campaign season, the #NeverTrump crowd became a powerful voice of pushback against the Republican candidate. While it’s true that all individuals within that camp weren’t current or former Republicans, many were. Because of that, the term is generally defined as those on the Right who took a very personal and principled stance against the party nominee and eventual president.
Early on, I subscribed to the #NeverTrump movement. There was no way I could support the GOP nominee. The rejection had many layers to it. Through election day I held my stance, voted third party, and – to this day – am still pleased with my decision. I am more of a conservative independent than anything.
Since January 20, 2017, I’ve done my best to give the president credit when due and have never shied away from calling him out when necessary. While I’m often not happy with the commander-in-chief, I no longer use #NeverTrump to define myself, because there have been times when I support his words or actions. There will be in the future, too. I find this is the only way to approach this or any future administration.
Possessing a one-size-fits-all mentality is really just a failure to be honest.
The designation #NeverTrump is still confusing to Leftists, though. Apparently, rejecting the president is supposed to mean acceptance of everything else. Or at least that’s the hope among some on the other side.
Jonathan Chait, proud Progressive, formerly of The New Republic, wondered aloud why more of the #NeverTrump persuasion aren’t joining his team?
— Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) April 16, 2018
Really? Is this all so difficult to understand?
Being anti-Trump, in any capacity or for any length of time, has never for one moment meant running into the arms of the ideological enemy. Progressives and social conservatives don’t see eye-to-eye, and a common dislike of Trump isn’t enough to establish a bond. Thankfully, Trump is a temporary feature of the Republican party. After he is out of the political spotlight, the party itself must scrub the residue left over from his tenure.
This won’t be an easy task and is sure to cause even more growing pains, but it must be done.
Still, at present, even Trump’s most egregious behavior isn’t enough to propel disgusted voters to the far side where people like Jonathan Chait hang out. This inability to gauge how disgruntled #NeverTrumpers and their allies are with both parties doesn’t bode well for Democrats, or even Republicans, looking to gain ground in the midterm elections.
Anti-Trump, in the #NeverTrump sense, has never meant pro-anything on the bigger, well-defined political scale. At its heart, those holding fast to the moniker have their own very personal reasons for choosing to withhold support from the man who hijacked the GOP.
And remember, those like Chait who are now wondering why current or former #NeverTrumpers won’t join them are the same individuals who have rejected our kind – the scary social conservatives – for years.
Maybe those on the left, looking at you @jonathanchait, should remember that they conspired against true conservatives to get Trump nominated before they expect us to join with them in stopping him. pic.twitter.com/om0ZZjYOG3
— TheLastGentleman (@AppreciatesNick) April 16, 2018
As someone on the other side of the political spectrum, I can appreciate Chait’s frustration. However, mine is for an entirely different reason surrounding the Trump phenomenon; the existence of poisonous tribalism within the GOP. Desire to win has replaced common sense within plenty of figures I used to admire. He is correct that the only want root out this sickness is through pain.
There comes a time when trying to patch things up and hoping for better days ceases to be a responsible choice, and one must conclude that the Republican Party’s straightest path to salvation runs through a cleansing fire of electoral destruction.
On that point, I agree.
NeverTrumpers on the Right wish for things to change, but they won’t be joining the other side. Instead, they’ll have to work through what is to come even while actively rejecting a man who now leads the party they once knew.
Follow Kimberly Ross on Twitter: @southernkeeks.