Conservatism: Is ‘Never Trump’ dead?
It’s past time for “Never Trumpers” to make peace with the president, said Rich Lowry in NationalReview.com. Like many Republicans, I was initially skeptical that Donald Trump would govern as a true conservative. But he’s given Republicans nearly everything they wanted on judicial appointments, social-conservative causes, regulation relief, and tax cuts. His approval rating among rank-and-file Republicans has risen to 86 percent. Yes, he’s taken populist stances on trade and immigration and conducts his administration “like a reality TV show.” But “Never Trumpers” should remember that Republican presidents have always tapped into the party’s Archie Bunker wing. Even the Waspy aristocrat George H.W. Bush ran in 1988 as a flag-waving, anti-crime crusader. Trump is no longer “an outlier” in the GOP, and if you think Trumpism will soon fade, you’re “in denial.”
We just witnessed the conservative movement’s “final surrender” to Trumpism, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag.com. During the 2016 GOP primaries, Lowry—as editor-in-chief of National Review—devoted an entire issue to “Never Trump” essays. Conservatives warned that embracing an unscrupulous grifter and racial demagogue would taint the Republican Party forever, and warned of Trump’s authoritarian tendencies. “Nothing in Trump’s presidency has quelled these fears.” Trump has demanded personal loyalty from the FBI and Justice Department, and threatened networks, newspapers, and private companies with retribution. But since it’s the Constitution that Trump is trampling, not the conservative agenda, Lowry has decided that “an authoritarian can be a Republican in good standing.”
No, he can’t—and that’s why I’ll always be “Never Trump,” said Michael Gerson in The Washington Post. It’s not normal or tolerable for an American president to compare immigrants to “dangerous vermin,” to characterize federal law enforcement as a “deep state” plotting against him, or to describe our free press as an “enemy of the people.” Trump’s crude cultivation of “anger and tribalism” will leave a lasting stain. Principled conservatives cannot keep silent while their party slips into “moral squalor and (eventually) electoral irrelevance.” Taking back the GOP “won’t be easy,” said Mike Murphy in Politico.com. But if Republicans get crushed in the midterms this fall, and/or a war erupts, they may view Trump differently. We’ve “seen how fast support can crumble when a party sees its very survival at stake.”