Dan McLaughlin is a #NeverTrump conservative at The National Review, and he asks and answers the following question: “Where Does Never Trump Go in a Trump Presidency?” He argues that there are three options for conservatives now that the party belongs to Donald Trump.
- Leave the Party
- Remain in the Party and Embrace Trump
- Remain in the Party to influence it
McLaughlin makes a solid case for number three. He argues that conservatives haven’t been evicted from the party and still have an opportunity for influence. He says that conservatives are now in the same situation they were in before the Reagan-era GOP.
This is a reminder that movement conservatives are rediscovering that we have a relationship with the Republican Party that is similar to the one our movement had between 1952 and 1976: the party is sometimes on our side, but it’s not consistently guided by our principles, and we have to work to turn it our way. Maybe in retrospect, that was truer in the past 20 years than some of us wanted to admit at the time.
So what is the role for conservatives who decide to stick it out with the party? He says that conservatives should not concede the GOP as the “party of Trump.” Rather, they should view it as the “party with Trump.”
We will and should view the incoming Trump Administration not as a natural friend but as a transactional ally to be kept at arms’ length, kept honest by criticism, done business with on an issue-by-issue basis, and fought forthrightly when it deserves to be. We can’t fool ourselves: those fights will sometimes be lonely and losing ones.
I think this is a thoughtful piece and worth your time to read the whole thing.