Donald Trump’s supporters are getting nervous. They are starting to realize that maybe, just maybe, they made a mistake in casting their lot with a man who, according to Gallup, is disliked by 58 percent of men and 70 percent of women.
They are starting to see that a Donald Trump nomination would be a disaster — certainly costing Republicans the presidency, their Senate majority, and perhaps even their 250-plus supermajority in the House of Representatives. Hence, the rise of the #NeverTrump movement — a group of prominent conservatives who have made it clear that they will not vote for him under any circumstances.
But instead of publicly acknowledging their mistake and recanting their support of the ultra-divisive Trump, his Republican supporters are instead attacking their fellow conservatives who oppose “The Donald.”
Case in point on the April 12 edition of Hannity, where Trump supporter Laura Ingraham came on as a guest. Ingraham admonished viewers, “I think we all need to calm down, and remember why we’re here.”
She cited her conservative goals, including getting “constitutionalists” on the Supreme Court and battling the national debt.
But then, Ingraham went after conservatives who won’t support Donald Trump. She said she doesn’t take it well when people question her, Hannity’s, and other conservative Trump supporter’s “bona fides.”
“I don’t take well to people questioning my dedication to conservatism over the past–really, since I’ve been in college, getting sued by liberal professors…
“But we don’t sit there, stomping our feet saying, ‘Never Cruz,’ or ‘Never Rubio,’ No! We say, look, let’s get through this process, and let’s unite behind whoever is really close to getting to 1,237 (the number of delegates needed to capture the Republican nomination).”
Now, I don’t know of anyone who is questioning the “bona fides” of anyone else. However, I do know that many conservatives are stunned that such leaders of the movement are falling for Donald Trump — who told Scott Pelley of CBS News that “the government’s gonna pay” for universal healthcare, which goes against everything that conservatism stands for.
Let me put it another way. If Ted Cruz, John Kasich, or any other contender held Trump’s position on healthcare, Ingraham and Hannity would have gone vigorously after them. And perhaps they have gone after Trump on this issue at some point in time. But if so, it’s a long forgotten memory.
Having said all of this, I don’t find Ingraham and Hannity less conservative because they support Trump; as we all know, sometimes politics makes strange bedfellows. And for the record, I respect them for their years of service to the conservative movement. Nonetheless, I believe that they are making a foolish choice in supporting Donald Trump.
But more importantly, there is a reason why the #NeverTrump movement exists: as the standard-bearer for the party that claims conservative principles, Donald Trump would set the movement back 20 years.
Just how widespread is #NeverTrump? It’s gotten so big that even Ben Carson, who endorsed Donald Trump, said that he would be part of the #NeverTrump movement “if it was just me.”
Here’s the bottom line: Donald Trump will not get 40 percent of the vote if he gets the nomination. Count on it.
Donald Trump: Disqualified By Ideology And Electability
Why? And why are more and more conservatives becoming part of the #NeverTrump movement? Because of ideology and electability. The purpose of the former is to persuade people to join your cause which covers a broad spectrum of issues, and to guide you in your search for candidates who will promote them, while the purpose of the latter is to win elections.
Regarding ideology, the conservative movement has stood for a number of things like economic opportunity, the sanctity of human life, foreign and domestic security, and fiscal responsibility.
But there is a virtue of conservative thought that undergirds all others that sadly has been long abandoned: prudence, defined as exercising wise and sound judgment, and thinking the issue at hand through while considering all of its practical ramifications. Russell Kirk, founder of the modern conservative movement, listed prudence as one of the ten key pillars of conservatism.
“Any public measure ought to be judged by its probable long-run consequences, not merely by temporary advantage or popularity.” -Russell Kirk
With that in mind, how “prudent” is it to demand that Mexico pay for a wall on our side of the border — which is Donald Trump’s signature issue? What effect will such an insulting policy have on relations with our neighbor?
To be clear, I’m not saying that our southern border isn’t an issue. Of course it is. But as John Oliver humorously pointed out (warning: he uses bad language), Trump’s proposed wall will be costly and unworkable — not to mention imprudent.
Instead, how much better to pursue the course charted by Ronald Reagan and George Bush? In their 1980 debate, they spoke against “exacerbating relations with Mexico,” and for “working together to solve our mutual problems.”
Without even getting into Trump’s accusations about being treated unfairly, or his past comments on women, his idea for the wall along the Mexican border alone disqualifies him from leading a party that purports to be conservative.
So that’s my first point: Donald Trump will not get my vote because of ideology; he is about as un-conservative (and obnoxious) as a candidate can get.
Second, he is unelectable. The Real Clear Politics average of polls bears this out. On December 4, Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump by a mere 0.6 percent. That lead today has increased to 10.4 percent.
Additionally, a CNN poll found that 35 percent of Republican respondents would vote third party if Trump wins the nomination. Bear in mind, this is before Clinton unleashes her negative ads against Trump.
Simply stated, the more people get to know Donald Trump, the less they like him.
So if Trump gets nominated and loses big, then his conservative supporters can’t say they weren’t warned. This is why National Review, the magazine that started the conservative movement; George Will; Thomas Sowell; Brent Bozell; Erick Erickson, founder of #NeverTrump; Michael Medved; Ed Meese; Russell Moore; and many other conservative leaders will not vote for Donald Trump.
It’s not too late to join them.
[Photo be Andrew Reneissen/Getty Images]