— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) May 15, 2016
Politico reports that eleven state GOP conventions took extraordinary measures this weekend to browbeat members into accepting Donald Trump’s candidacy for president of the United States.
Republican activists chose party unity over “never Trump” resistance Saturday, with party leaders in one state after another pressuring their members fall in line behind the presumptive nominee — and even punishing those who refused.
Eleven states held annual Republican conventions or party leadership meetings Saturday, offering a platform for those who still object to Donald Trumpas their party’s standard-bearer a prime opportunity to make mischief. But at almost every turn, they slammed into state leaders who closed ranks around a candidate that many once said they’d never support.
In Nebraska, this meant overwhelming passage of a resolution that indirectly scolded conservative Sen. Ben Sasse for leading the #NeverTrump movement and scuttling a countermeasure to condemn “degrading remarks toward women, minorities and other individuals” by presidential candidates…
Across the country, party leaders encouraged, coaxed and even browbeat their rank-and-file into a message of unity. And they did it by way of a consistent message: Trump is flawed, but Hillary Clinton would be far, far worse.
I understand the calculation in the final line from the excerpt: “Trump is flawed, but Hillary Clinton would be far, far worse.” If it were true, I think it would justify supporting Trump. But there is no evidence that it is true. And the beleaguered #NeverTrump movement is made up of those who are convinced that it is not true.
This is not to say that Clinton’s pro-abortion, religious-liberty-wrecking candidacy would be good for America. It won’t be. But there is no evidence that Trump would be any better on the abortion issue, on judges, or on religious liberty. You do have evidence that Trump is a pathologically lying authoritarian lecher who has no respect for the Constitution and who has no problem inciting his followers to violence.
I think Clinton is not qualified to be president and would pursue policies that undermine the common good. Trump would be all of those things plus be a proto-fascist underminer of our Constitutional order. His nomination also ensures the fracturing of the Republican Party and—more importantly—of conservatism. You don’t have to be a fan of Clinton to disagree with the proposition that she would be worse.
But here’s the thing. Trump is very popular among voters. His populist appeal has won him support from countless voters across the country (many of whom do not yet understand what he is). This tidal wave is moving statesmen and politicians (who know very well what he is) to support him. They are laying aside principle to go along with someone who they know is unfit for and disqualified from the office he seeks.
Before long—maybe next November or maybe over the next four years—it will be clear to everyone what he is. When that day comes, his fair-weathered supporters who knew better will be held to account. And they will not seem wise or shrewd. They will be seen as malevolent collaborators. They will own their dishonor, and there won’t be anything they can do about it then.
In the meantime, we are going to have to watch good men of principle—like Senator Ben Sasse—get censured and maligned. Take note. If you are taking the long view, Senator Sasse is not the one who needs to be ashamed or embarrassed. He will wear his #NeverTrump consistency as a badge of honor. For those with eyes to see, they know that it is already a badge of honor right now.
The headline to this Politico report could have been that the GOP has sold its soul to partisan expediency. If you think that is hyberbole, look how the GOP chairman is defending(!) the recent exposé of Trump’s horrid treatment of women (see video above). Reince Priebus uses Scripture to deflect attention from the moral bankruptcy of his candidate. He’s using the Bible to distract viewers from the fact that any other candidate would be disqualified after such revelations. But not Trump. No, the GOP chair says “judge not.”
There can be no question but that the GOP is selling its soul. That is exactly what is happening right now. The only question is how many more will be willing to throw themselves on the fire.