Not all conservatives back the republican President Donald Trump. I divide the conservative leaning voters into three groups, the “Never Trumpers,” the pragmatic but ambivalent Trump voters; and the hard line conservative Trump supporters.
These groups do not include the alt-right, White Supremacists’ segment of voters who are reliably backing President Trump. It has been the republicans’ sub rosa tolerance of these republicans in their midst that motivated me to become registered as an Independent voter instead of remaining with the republican party in 2016.
This group includes the closet racists who deny even the existence of racism, and who if asked, would deny vehemently that they suffer from it. We all know the cues like attending a crowded event when one of the attendees says, did you notice that there are no Blacks in the impromptu crowd, when for the non-racist, this thought wouldn’t have crossed his/ her mind. They could drop not so subtle hints like ‘I have nothing against them, but you know my customers don’t like to deal with black personnel; there is so much Black on Black crime (when the same could be said of White on White crime). They are the ones who still believe that President Barack Obama was really born in Kenya and not in Hawaii. The list goes on.
Conservatives minus the alt-right, racist portion, are true believers who simply have a different world view about the role of government in our country from those who are more moderate and progressive in their thinking.
I do keep track of those in the third group, the hard line conservative Trump supporters. It is when leaders in this segment start becoming vocal against the Donald Trump, that I can see the crack becoming wider with those who are becoming more critical of President Trump. This crack is just beginning to widen.
For example, George Will and Charles Krauthammer have always been a “Never Trumper” but with recent anti-Trump-Russia news, hard line supporters like Trey Gowdy are becoming critical of the president and this is a sign that attitudes are changing.
Here’s the rest of the story…
There have been a host of republican conservatives who have been vocal in their opposition to the Trump presidency. They are called the “Never Trumpers,” and they include folks like, like George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Bill Crystal, all columnists; Stuart Stevens who was Mitt Romney’s Chief strategist; Avi Woolf who is the editor of Mida, a politically conservative Israeli website; Tom Nichols, a professor at the Naval War College; Ana Navarro, a frequent CNN guest; Senator Ben Sasse and a host of others.
Pragmatists but Ambivalent
There are those who were ambivalent like Erik Erikson. This is what he wrote on his 9/21/16 blog:
“The polling has drawn ever closer. More and more people wonder if those of us who are Never Trump should finally yield knowing that we can beat Hillary Clinton. I am in an odd position. I am mindful that should Trump win, the Republican establishment will blame people like me for giving rise to Trump. Likewise, I know if Trump loses, the Republican establishment will blame people like me for giving rise to Trump and Trump supporters will blame people like me for his loss. I suppose I should say not that I’m in an odd position, but that I am in a no-win position.”
“With Donald Trump’s rise in the polls and the increasingly competitive nature of the race, it is time to reconsider my opposition to Trump. After all, I view Hillary Clinton’s candidacy as anti-American.”
“I realize saying Hillary Clinton’s candidacy is, in my view, “anti-American” offends some or comes off as hyperbolic, but I think her candidacy is fundamentally anathema to and is fundamentally in opposition to basic, historic American values. I believe the founders of this country recognized individual liberty as negative liberty. It was not what individuals could do if government helped them that made this country great. Rather, it was what individuals could do if government left them alone.”
The Conservative Trump Supporters
On May 30, 2017, Dennis Prager penned the followimg opinion piece for the National Review, “Trump is too far from their ideal leader for some conservatives to support him.”
In the case of my conservative friends who still snipe (or worse) at President Trump, I have rejected option one. The reason — beside the fact that I simply like many of them — is what I refer to as “moral bank accounts.” Every time we do good, we make a deposit into our moral bank account. And every time we do something bad, we make a withdrawal. These conservatives have made so many deposits into their moral bank accounts that, in my view, their accounts all remain firmly in the black. That means my only choice is option two.”
“But to try to change their minds, I must first try to understand their thinking. I have concluded that there are a few reasons that explain conservatives who were Never-Trumpers during the election, and who remain anti-Trump today. The first and, by far, the greatest reason is this: They do not believe that America is engaged in a civil war, with the survival of America as we know it at stake.”
“While they strongly differ with the Left, they do not regard the left–right battle as an existential battle for preserving our nation. On the other hand, I, and other conservative Trump supporters, do.”
“That is why, after vigorously opposing Trump’s candidacy during the Republican primaries, I vigorously supported him once he won the nomination. I believed then, as I do now, that America was doomed if a Democrat had been elected president. With the Supreme Court and hundreds of additional federal judgeships in the balance; with the Democrats’ relentless push toward European-style socialism — completely undoing the unique American value of limited government; the misuse of the government to suppress conservative speech; the continuing degradation of our universities and high schools; the weakening of the American military; and so much more, America, as envisioned by the Founders, would have been lost, perhaps irreversibly.”
“The “fundamental transformation” that candidate Barack Obama promised in 2008 would have been completed by Hillary Clinton in 2016. To my amazement, no anti-Trump conservative writer sees it that way. They all thought during the election, and still think, that while it would not have been a good thing if Hillary Clinton had won, it wouldn’t have been a catastrophe either. That’s it, in a nutshell.”
“Many conservatives, including me, believe that it would have been close to over for America as America if the Republican candidate, who happened to be a flawed man named Donald Trump, had not won. Moreover, I am certain that only Donald Trump would have defeated Hillary Clinton.”
“In other words, I believe that Donald Trump may have saved the country. And that, in my book, covers a lot of sins — foolish tweets, included. The Never Trump conservative argument that Trump is not a conservative — one that I, too, made repeatedly during the Republican primaries — is not only no longer relevant, it is no longer true.”
“Had any Never Trump conservative been told, say in the summer of 2015, that a Republican would win the 2016 election and, within his first few months in office, appoint a conservative to the Supreme Court; begin the process of replacing Obamacare; bomb Russia’s ally Assad after he again used chemical weapons; appoint the most conservative cabinet in modern American history; begin undoing hysteria-based, economy-choking EPA regulations; label the Iranian regime “evil” in front of 50 Muslim heads of state; wear a yarmulke at the Western Wall; appoint a U.N. ambassador who regularly condemns the U.N. for its moral hypocrisy; restore the military budget; and work on lowering corporate tax rates, among other conservative achievements — that Never Trump conservative would have been jumping for joy.”
(But)Trump is too far from their ideal leader to be able to support him.
There is also a cultural divide. Anti-Trump conservatives are a refined group of people. Trump doesn’t talk like them. Moreover, the cultural milieu in which the vast majority of anti-Trump conservatives live and/or work means that to support Trump is to render oneself contemptible at all elite dinner parties.”
“In addition, anti-Trump conservatives see themselves as highly moral people (which they often are) who are duty-bound not to compromise themselves by strongly supporting Trump, whom they largely view as morally defective. Finally, these people are only human: After investing so much energy in opposing Trump’s election, and after predicting his nomination would lead to electoral disaster, it’s hard for them to admit they were wrong. To see him fulfill many of his conservative election promises, again in defiance of predictions, is a bitter pill. But if they hang on to their Never Trumpism and the president falls on his face, they can say they were right. That means that only if he fails can their reputations be redeemed. And they know that.”