I’ve heard a lot from the Never Trumpers inside the GOP who say that Trump violates their “conservative values.” Most of them were Bush and Kasich supporters. So I have a question:
Isn’t keeping your word a “conservative value”? Jeb Bush and Kasich and many of the other candidates took a solemn pledge to support the Republican nominee — and they did so in front of millions of Republican voters. Then they broke their word. Then they wonder why Americans are so angry and distrustful of careerist politicians.
The Bush brigades are the worst. Many of the W. Bush speechwriters and policy experts have denounced Trump. Wait. The people who gave us the Medicare prescription drug bill, the worst and most intrusive energy bill in American history, a massive expansion of the federal role in education, and the biggest bailout of private companies in history — TARP — are complaining that Trump isn’t ideologically pure? Mitt Romney’s Romneycare was the godfather of Obamacare, as the Wall Street Journal has pointed out many times.
How many of these sanctimonious conservatives who served under Bush resigned over the $700 billion bailout of the banks? This was arguably the single biggest betrayal of conservative principles since Herbert Hoover’s Smoot-Hawley tariff.
By the way, I think the answer to that question is zero, but readers are free to correct me if I’m wrong.
The Bush wing is angry because Trump’s victory in November will represent a repudiation not just of Obama’s ruinous reign, but of much of the Bush foreign policy adventurism and domestic policy over-spending. This is why so many are for Hillary. Their legacy of failure is less exposed and more durable if Trump loses. The Romney and Bush operatives lost fair and square and now they want people to believe that their anti-Trumpism is an act of heroism and principle. No, they are just sore losers. (And these are the people who lectured us for years about putting our differences aside to build a “big tent.”)
I certainly don’t mean to disparage conservatives who say they won’t vote for Trump. One’s vote is a matter of personal conscience. But to actively support Hillary is to put the other team’s jersey on and then run a lap around the stadium.
It’s worth examining the case of the Republicans for Hillary, because none of the arguments make much sense.
First, many say that Trump can’t win — it’s hopeless. These are the same political geniuses who a year ago assured us that Trump could never win a primary (he won most of them), then that he couldn’t win 50 percent of the vote (he did), then that he couldn’t win 50 percent outside of New York (he did), then they said he couldn’t win a majority of the delegates (he did)… On every occasion the Trump haters were wrong. How about a little humility if you’re batting 0.00?
The “Trump can’t win” mantra isn’t just wrong, it’s subversive. Of course, he can win. He is running against Hillary Clinton for goodness sakes. So why do they say this? Because the never Trumpers want Trump to lose because he is to the political class (Republicans and Democrats) the disrupter that Uber is to taxicab drivers.
Second is the complaint by some economists that Trump can’t be supported because he is not for free trade. Longtime Washington insider Vin Weber reportedly has said: “The world economic order and the Republican Party” would be “all in shambles” if Trump wins. “I think markets would collapse.”
Really? Hillary Clinton flip-flops every day on free trade, so why is it that only Trump would cause a recession? The Trump movement is a revolt against the world order.
Meanwhile, Trump is calling for the biggest tax cut and reform since Reagan. He is for massive regulatory relief and school choice. Trump wants to kill Obamacare. Trump wants a pro-America drilling policy on energy. Hillary wants to soak the rich, increase the debt, stop energy development, expand entitlements and double down on Obamacare. How is this a difficult choice for a free-marketeer?
Third, the Trump haters say we must throw Trump over the bus and concentrate on saving the Senate and House.
This is a foolhardy strategy because one can’t win without the other. As economist Donald Luskin puts it in his historical analysis of presidential races and Senate gains: “It is clear from history that the House and the Senate move in the same party direction as the White House, and with the same magnitude. That means the presidential candidate is like a boat that congressional candidates are riding on. It’s really stupid to torpedo that boat.”
Finally, there is the view expressed by Bret Stephens, my former colleague at the Wall Street Journal, who wants to “make sure Trump is the biggest loser in presidential history” so that we can “rebuild the conservative movement.”
Bret, if Obama/Hillary win a third straight presidential race, there won’t be a conservative movement left to rebuild. The Republicans will move to the left. Worse, for Obama to win effectively a third term will be a voter validation of all of the destructive policies of the last eight years. This will be one of the greatest victories for liberal governance of all time.
Do the “Never Trumpers” want to facilitate that? Do they want to hand the left its greatest victory for liberal governance of all time? If they do, they are the unforgivable betrayers of conservative principles.