Over in the Twitter-verse, I’ve noticed something of late: I now think I’ve got more Progressive followers than Never Trump Conservative followers. Over the past month, the Never Trump contingent has faded away. I admit to being the instigator of the un-follow in a couple cases (they just got too irritating), but mostly it has been them un-following me. I think I know why.
Just as Pride is the worst sin, so is Humility the best virtue, at least in my opinion. Pride gets you into all sorts of trouble, but being humble tends to keep you far away from such things. It is easy to want to take a proud person down, but it is hard to punch a humble person. Someone who has already admitted their limitations is nearly possible to insult, as it were…if someone were to really dig into me, I guess my response these days would be along the lines of, “wow, you found out I’m imperfect: alert the media!”. I used to be quite proud. I still suffer from the sin of Pride. On the other hand, I’m now 12 years into actually trying to be Christian and some humility has been able to creep into my worldview. I no longer have to win: I no longer have to be right: I no longer think I’ve got the answers – at least not in any sense which would make me want to get down and dirty with someone over it. Discuss things: fine. Fight in nasty terms about things: sorry, I’m busy. What is wrong with our Never Trump Conservatives is that they are too proud.
If pressed, I do believe they’ll admit to being wrong about their predictions in 2016 – though I suspect they wouldn’t like it if you brought that up. But one thing I’ve yet to see is a post-mortem on themselves. Not once have I seen one of our prognosticators admit, boldly, that they missed some pretty obvious things and that they are not wise and knowing beings. One of the things I kept bringing up to them last year was the about net 100,000 Democrats who switched to Republican in Pennsylvania. That was my first indication – real, solid indication – that the result in November might not be what people thought. I kept bringing it up, they kept shooting it down. And that was fine. It was just one, isolated data point…while the polling and the long-term political trends were all in favor of Hillary. But after the election, when it was all laid bare and we could see what happened, I never saw one of them say, “man, did I miss some easy-to-see things! Wow, what a fool I was. I promise to be more careful in the future and I’ll try not to fall into seeing only that which confirms my Narrative”.
The result of this lack of introspection is what we see, now. The prediction was that Trump would lose – and not only lose, but bring down the GOP Congress with him. Complete and utter electoral defeat was the result of nominating Trump! Don’t nominate him! For goodness sake, if you do that, you’ll be destroyed! But, the GOP voters went ahead and nominated him anyway. And from the point Trump wrapped it up until election day, all the Never Trumpers were gleefully reporting about just how badly Trump was going to be wiped out, and the GOP with him. It was going to show those dratted fools that you can’t nominate someone like Trump. I’ll bet that many of them were already working on their post-election articles and books about how the Lesson of Trump was to never, ever trust the yokels. That the yokels had better get with the program and start doing as their betters told them.
And then Trump won.
I think all of us have had a good laugh watching replays of election night – the way our liberals just started to go to pieces as it became ever clearer that Trump was the next President. But what we don’t have is the same thing for the Never Trump Conservatives. And that’s a pity – because they went to pieces just as badly. Fundamentally, the reason the Never Trump Conservatives are signing on to the bizarre Trump/Russia theory is that Trump still must prove to be a disaster. He was supposed to be a disaster on November 8th and, dang it, he’s going to be a disaster no matter what! Almost unconsciously, I think, the Never Trump Conservatives are falling into a weird world of paranoid conspiracy theories because that is the only place where their judgement of Trump still holds water. It doesn’t hold up to the electoral result and it doesn’t hold up to what Trump is actually doing (you know, all that repealing regulations; securing the border; rebuilding our position in the world; nominating Conservative judges and department heads). They only have two ways out – flat out admit they were wrong, or go along with theories about Trump which are increasingly divorced from reality. Pride is preventing them from doing the former and just about forcing them to do the latter.
Some of the people I used to respect are becoming unreadable these days – because what they write is ultimately based upon the stupid theory that there was collusion between Trump and Russia to throw the election. They won’t admit it, but that is what it comes down to. Trump couldn’t have won otherwise, you see? After all, they have their historical voting patterns in Pennsylvania and turnout models for Michigan which demonstrate conclusively that Trump lost the election…and if reality isn’t fitting the theory, then reality is wrong! All the stories about disarray in the White House; about Trump people turning on him; about Congressional GOPers getting ready for impeachment…it all stems from a wish that it were true, because it must be true, because if it isn’t true then the Never Trump Conservatives are wrong. Admitting to being wrong is one of the hardest things to do…and Never Trump isn’t even close to admitting it.
As I’ve stated elsewhere, I suspect that most who have persisted in being Never Trump Conservatives to this point will wind up Progressives in the near future. The only ones who won’t are those who finally climb off the high horse and actually think about things. Maybe Trump will wind up a disaster…but, meanwhile, there he is actually doing things and people of wisdom will look at what he’s doing and work on that to determine if he’s doing well or poorly. They won’t, that is, work from the assumption that he’s a disaster and then present carefully served up bits of information (true or false, it doesn’t matter) to confirm their belief. For most of them, though, it’ll be easier to say, “I stopped being a Conservative because the Conservatives proved themselves wrong by electing Trump”. They’ll then go on to work out the mental backflips necessary to ensure their friendly reception on the left – they’ll keep their desire for lower taxes and for randomly bombing things, but they’ll drop the rest of it (and, for some of them, it’ll be a gigantic relief…you can tell they don’t really like being aligned with people so out of it as to respect the traditional family and other tiresome things).
As for me, I say “good riddance”. Conservatism, as it was from the 1950’s until Reagan is now dead. It had it’s point and it’s victories – but mostly it was about defeating the scourge of Communism. In that, it patched together a coalition which was dedicated to defeating Communism…which was fine, but not everyone who is anti-Communist is Conservative. It just seemed that way, for a while. I look forward to a new Conservative movement – one which is actually in the business of conserving things. Trump is not the guy to bring this about – though in policy it looks like he’ll help matters along in a lot of areas. He’s not, however, going to tackle some crucial things like entitlements, nor does he seem particularly interested in such matters as private property rights. That’s ok. No politician is ever going to be our savior. We true Conservatives will back him as he advances what we like – and work to a future where a genuine Conservative movement can capture power of itself, and then begin the arduous task of making America a Conservative nation.