#NeverTrump,  Politics

State GOP conventions sell their souls to destroy #NeverTrump

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.


  • Mike Gantt

    Denny, your words are awfully strong. Do you really mean to say that no one can in good faith conclude that Trump might not be as bad as Hillary?

    Just consider one issue: the Supreme Court. We can be completely certain that Hillary will nominate left-leaning activist judges. With Trump, we cannot be certain that he will name justices like Scalia and Thomas. How does this mean Trump would be worse?

    Of course, there are more issues than this, but, issue by issue, isn’t this how someone in good faith arrives at a conclusion about which would be worse?

    • Ike Lentz

      Mike, I think it’s reasonable to compare the policy positions of two candidates, but in this circumstance, Trump’s temperament disqualifies him from a serious comparison.

      Trump has claimed that he’ll force the military to kill women and children. He has threatened to go after critical journalists with executive power. He has made fun of the disabled and women numerous times in public and private. He has courted, and accepted the endorsement of racist organizations. He has made jokes about his genitals on live television. He’s the most unfit person to ever run for president.

      • Ian Shaw

        One could make the argument that based on what secular culture in this country has become (and within some Christian circles as well), he’s the perfect candidate to lead.

        You know what they say about manure running downhill-well, it appears to have picked up a lot of speed.

    • philwynk

      Trump’s Supreme Court approach is very easy to predict. He’s ignorant of the law, and truly does not care about policy. He cares that people see his pick as sensible, even superior. So he’ll find names that get uniform praise from the people he cares about–the media. That means he’ll pick mainstream leftist jurists, like Larry Tribe. He’ll be picking the same names that the major networks invite to comment on the Supreme Court for their news journals. They’ll all be reliable leftists.

      For Trump to pick a true constitutionalist would take an enormous accident, practically a miracle. It’s not absolutely impossible, but it’s so unlikely as to make the probability effectively zero.

      No, he’s not worse than Clinton. He’s just as bad.

      • Ezra Thomas

        Unless Democrats win the Senate and for whatever reason decide to confirm Trump’s nominee to the SC there is simply no way that this happens. No GOP senate would confirm Larry Tribe, or any leftist, to the SC for a Republican President. Be realistic.

    • Scott Shaver

      If Denny Burke and Russell Moore can’t support Wiley Drake for President this all a bunch baloney. Wiley Drake meets perfectly their core criteria for a candidate yet they don’t even mention him as a choice.

      Put your vote where your mouths are fellers.

      • buddyglass

        “Wiley Drake meets perfectly their core criteria ”

        I’m not so sure. His use of imprecatory prayer might rub Denny the wrong way. Or Drake’s opposition to the appointment of a gay man as a U.S. ambassador. Or his vocal celebration at the murder of George Tiller. Or his signing on to a lawsuit alleging that Obama isn’t a U.S. citizen.

        His comments about praying for God to strike down Obama prompted the SBC to issue this statement, “Mr. Drake does not represent Southern Baptist actions, resolutions, or positions in his interpretation and application of imprecatory prayers.”

  • Christiane Smith

    I don’t think people can ‘compare’ Trump and Secretary Clinton using the same parameters and come out with they are equally bad for the country OR that Clinton is ‘worse’ for the country than Trump.

    REASON: Trump’s comments about nuclear weapons. THIS is the worst evidence we have concerning why he should never take the office of President . . . . mis-use of nuclear weapons means the end of life on Earth as we know it . . . the end of OUR country’s way of life forever

    In my opinion, the ‘argument’ over which to vote for (or against) is moot. Trump voted against himself when he mentioned abuse of nuclear weapons. We should fear his intentions on the nuclear issue above all things.

  • Ezra Thomas

    The #nevertrump is doomed to survive only amongst a small core of the conservative intelligentsia. Most GOP politicians will get behind Trump because the party is their vehicle to social and political advancement. Rubio, Cruz et al prioritize their personal advancement in politics which is through the GOP. The state GOP organizations will have to deal with the post-Trump era so they can’t afford to alienate current GOP voters who support Trump. Practicality is the reason that the party has largely fallen in line.

    Unfortunately, the US is stuck with the two-party system. The founders more or less intended it to be that way to avoid the instability of parliamentary politics.

    Re: to what Mike Gantt wrote above. Many Republicans see Trump as an unrepentant liar, hedonist, racist, and misogynist. That’s how he has behaved as a person. It’s hard to let that go just because he’s the nominee facing someone as known as Hillary Clinton.

  • Barbara Jackson

    I have been watching with horror as they keep falling like dominoes. Maranatha! It seems to me that I need to begin thinking about being prepared to flee when the fruit of whichever person takes office comes knocking and makes it impossible for a committed Christian to live and work here. And praying earnestly at the same time, because if nothing else it is a sobering thing to watch happen.

    I was disgusted with the RNC when I first got a survey that was worded in very leading ways. I sent it back to them and with a note that if they wanted to be taken seriously they needed to be more honest in the way they conduct their surveys. So they stopped sending them to me. I am beyond disgusted watching partisanship take priority over the good of the country. When this is the answer to the progressive agenda, who can blame the progressives for their airs of moral superiority? And all this using the name of Christianity as a cover. I am appalled. Saddened. Grieved. Angry. The way of truth is maligned because of them. Lord, have mercy.

  • Mike Gantt

    None of you seems to have understood the question I was posing to Denny.

    It seems that his post is saying that those who have decided that Trump would be worse than Hillary are doing so on a principled basis, and that, conversely, anyone who decides that Hillary would be worse than Trump is doing so on an unprincipled basis.

    This reminds me of the way Obama argues: “Anyone who agrees with me has principles; anyone who disagrees with me is an unprincipled person.” I was asking Denny if he really means to be framing the issue in this strident way.

    It’s one thing to say #NeverTrump, it’s another to say that only #NeverTrump people are principled. Denny seems to be saying both. If he wants to say the latter as well as the former, that’s his prerogative – but those are awfully strong words. Yes, I see a lot of opportunism at work among politicians and voters who are recently coming to support Trump, but I cannot go so far as to say that none of them could have done so without selling his soul.

    • Denny Burk


      I mentioned in the post that I don’t believe everyone is seeing Trump for who he really is. There are people who are going to vote for him because they think he’s better than Clinton. I get that calculation. But as I said, I think they are underestimating the threat he poses. I think our statesmen and politicians do know who he is and bear a greater responsibility for going along with him.

      BTW, if he turns out not to be the threat that I think he is, no one will be happier than me to admit I was wrong. I don’t want a proto-fascist authoritarian in the White House. I would be very relieved for him to prove all our concerns wrong.


    • buddyglass

      It seems pretty obvious that some folks are supporting Trump not out of principle, but out of a desire for personal advancement. Consider Rick Perry and Steve King (NY)’s earlier comments about Trump vs. their current choice to support him nevertheless.

      With individual voters its obviously not about personal advancement. I’ll just say that it’s possible for support a candidate “on principle” while still being ignorant and/or delusional and/or possessing “principles” that don’t align with the “principles” commended to believers in the Bible.

  • Curt Day

    All of this goes back to the fact that how conservatives want to solve many problems by opening up competition, has never been applied to our political system We have restricted ourselves to 2 party system where, in the end, we are given a choice between voting for the them and not them party candidates. And the only thing each candidate has to do is to show that he/she is not like this/her counterpart from the other party. Thus,, we measure these candidates more by what they don’t do than by what they do. With the bar set so low, no wonder why the choice for candidates gets progressively worse each Presidential election year.

    The time for supporting third parties is yesteryear.

  • Dan Phillips

    Denny, you are, of course, right, and this is an excellent summary.

    I’d add one more, and maybe it’s an older-guy observation. This reminds me of the Democratic Party in the nineties. Before Bill Clinton, it was possible to imagine there were some decent Dems, exceptions to the rule. But then the party collectively sold its soul to nominate and defend Clinton, and then to keep him in the White House when he proved to be just what all were warned he would be.

    The party’s never recovered. It is morally bankrupt, and cannot be taken seriously in any ethical area.

    Now the GOP seems to be eager to do the exact very same thing, to nominate and defend someone who arguably is just as bad or worse (Clinton at least never made the size of his penis the subject of a political debate).

    Further, this will brand the GOP. The slanderous lie of the left for years has been that all Republicans are hateful, sexist, racist, fat-cats who are unconcerned about the poor and irresponsible with wealth, jingoist, xenophobic hypocrites. This has been a slander. But now, if the party unites around someone who actually is all those things and more, they will validate and embrace the slander — making it “our” truth. Foretaste: http://bit.ly/1V65DdT

    • Ike Lentz

      Isn’t Trump’s nomination already proof that it isn’t a “slanderous lie”? He won by a majority vote.

  • Terry Galloway

    I agree with Mike Gantt. I don’t like either option, and I have discernment as a spiritual gift. America is on the brink of the Judgment of the Lord especially for the killing of the unborn. Trump repulses me to the reasons mentioned earlier, but when Hilary is so pro late term abortion, I have to pray and hope that Trump wins and will at least be held to account to be pro-life whether he really is or not. We Christians should be hanging on to the sovereignty of God (he used unbelievers in the past), thanking Him for listening to our prayers and holding them in golden bowls in front of His throne in heaven. We need to be pleading for His mercy on this horribly immoral and idolatrous nation, preparing ourselves to be fully confessed and forgiven for our own sins as He may return at any time, and I think, be #NeverHilary and pray for God to transform Mr. Trump’s heart, mouth, soul and spirit.

    I have prayed for President Obama, Israel and all the people who think that they are Christians who are blinded by Satan and haven’t been born again. God have mercy and bring revival to this sinful nation. He is the Lord Almighty, and He is mighty to save!

  • Jeff Sams

    I have no intention of voting for Trump, as I make abundantly clear when asked, but I understand what it’s like to have weaker moments of worrying about ensuring Clinton’s election. I’ve had those moments. I’ve been researching independent and third-party candidates, but can’t find anyone suitable. I’m certainly willing to entertain suggestions. Oh, for a third-party founded on socially-conservative values!

    • buddyglass

      Could always vote Constitution Party if it still exists. Not my cup of tea, but it sounds it would meet your criteria.

      It bears repeating: unless you live in a “purple” state the whole question of the presidential vote is more-or-less moot. My state hasn’t voted for a Democrat since Carter in 1976. That’s not going to change this year. So my vote is inconsequential, except insofar as I have to explain it to people who ask me how I voted.

      Since “helping to determine the outcome of the election” is off the table, I plan to vote according to the second thing: being able to give an answer I’m not ashamed of when asked how I voted.

      • Jeff Sams

        I’ve looked at the Constitution Party’s website. They seem to be leaning to far in a Libertarian direction for my taste. Also, that bit about states being in voluntary association with the Union sounds a whole lot like belief in the right of secession. Seeing as we’ve already fought a Civil War about that, I find that to be counter-productive. There were other things that I found.objectionable, but that’s all I can remember.

        • Ian Shaw

          I believe Texas has details in their state constitution for being able to succeed. Not sure the details though.

          • Jeff Sams

            I couldn’t remember the details about Texas’ state constitution, either. However, I did some online research and learned that several reputable sites, such as the National Constitution Center (blog.constitutioncenter.org) pronounce this a myth. The original Texas annexation agreement States that Texas, at its own discretion can divide itself into a number of new States, but is silent on a right to leave the Union. At any rate, the 1868 Texas v. White Supreme Court ruling codified what the Civil War had already decided de facto.

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