Can #NeverTrump Elites Ever Be Reliable Voices for Republican Voters Again?

It was pretty nasty. And I was part of it once, too. But while I turned from being a #NeverTrump social media warrior to a Trump supporter during the summer, I have no illusions about who started it.

Donald Trump, the candidate, was an ass. From the slurring of John McCain’s service to his mocking of a handicapped reporter to that crap about Ted Cruz’s father being part of the Kennedy assassination, I hated this guy’s guts.

His posse was often worse. When a female reporter was manhandled by Trump’s thuggish campaign manager, she was smeared by her own employer. His biggest cheerleader, FOXNews host Sean Hannity was so over-the-top with his threats to and condemnation of GOP opponents of Ttump – many of whom were once friendy to him and his show – is now dead to me.

Trump’s failure to commit to supporting the GOP nominee in the beginning earned the mistrust he received. His repeat of  the Democrat line that President George W. Bush’s lied about committing the nation to the Iraq War disqualified him in the minds of experts like Eliot A. Cohen who writes in today’s Washington Post:

I am a national security Never-Trumper who, after the election, made the case that young conservatives should volunteer to serve in the new administration, warily, their undated letters of resignation ready. That advice, I have concluded, was wrong.

My about-face began with a discreet request to me from a friend in Trumpworld to provide names — unsullied by having signed the two anti-Trump foreign policy letters — of those who might be willing to serve. My friend and I had agreed to disagree a while back about my taking an uncompromising anti-Trump stand; now, he wanted assistance and I willingly complied.

After an exchange about a senior figure who would not submit a résumé but would listen if contacted, an email exchange ensued that I found astonishing. My friend was seething with anger directed at those of us who had opposed Donald Trump — even those who stood ready to help steer good people to an administration that understandably wanted nothing to do with the likes of me, someone who had been out front in opposing Trump since the beginning.

Cohen admits to making amends with his friend, but says this:

This was a tipping point. The tenor of the Trump team, from everything I see, read and hear, is such that, for a garden-variety Republican policy specialist, service in the early phase of the administration would carry a high risk of compromising one’s integrity and reputation.

The early placement and obvious influence of establishment republicans in Trump’s transition team – Vice President-elect Mike Pence, WH Chief of Staff Reince Preibus and Kellyanne Conway signal that the sort of animus Cohen experienced won’t be the rule. Trump’s refusal to listen to blowhards like Hannity to move for Speaker Paul Ryan’s removal further illustrates the sober, inclusive nature of what a Trump administration is becoming.

There are sure to be lots of exchanges like these going on right now and it’s fair to observe that Cohen is overreacting as a result of his own mind-set like what he writes here:

Trump was not a normal candidate, the transition is not a normal transition, and this will probably not be a normal administration. The president-elect is surrounding himself with mediocrities whose chief qualification seems to be unquestioning loyalty. He gets credit for becoming a statesman when he says something any newly elected president might say (“I very much look forward to dealing with the president in the future”) — and then reverts to tweeting against demonstrators and the New York Times. By all accounts, his ignorance, and that of his entourage, about the executive branch is fathomless. It’s not even clear that he accepts that he should live in the White House rather than in his gilt-smeared penthouse in New York.

Embolden print, mine.

A public servant of Cohen’s experience should have known these last two sentences would reveal his own bias against Trump.

Cohen is not alone among elite #NeverTrump voices who continue to snipe at Trump.  The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol remains smug. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, once among my own favorite conservative bloggers openly cheered for Hillary Clinton and now appears to write from the left in opposition to the name of her space, Right Turn. #NeverTrump’s hand-picked candidate, Evan McMullin, currently specializes in click-bait for lefty trolls on Twitter.

Republican voters came home and voted for the Trump-Pence ticket last week in stunning fashion. Their pick-up of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin and apparently Michigan could not have been accomplished by any other GOP candidate, giving Trump a mandate from republican voters.

#NeverTrump elites, like Rand Paul, are finding themselves on a shrinking island with only bitter fruit to consume. Meanwhile, the voters who sent Mr. Trump to the White House are going back to work and will have no need for their negative drive-by propaganda.  Especially when they focus more on their opposition to Trump than elements of the left they saved the nation from with their votes.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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