by Julie Kelly
The love affair between the Left and NeverTrump Right appears to be over. For real, this time.
After working in tandem for four years to try to destroy Donald Trump and everyone in his orbit, NeverTrump and the Left are breaking up in a very public and a very ugly way. And for those of us who’ve been close observers of this twisted political romance, watching their divorce play out is deeply gratifying.
The split couldn’t be happening to a more deserving couple—or dare I say, in honor of former Representative Katie Hill (D-Calif.), a more deserving throuple since it also included a willing canoodler in the corporate media.
But, for now, it looks like they are done brushing each other’s hair and sending late-night boozy texts confessing their mutual lust and loyalty.
NeverTrump is getting the boot for breaching the boundaries of this toxic relationship by daring to opine about the seemingly unstoppable candidacy of Bernie Sanders. Trouble in paradise began when NeverTrump changed the mood music from Orange Man Bad to Crazy Bernie Bad as the commie senator from Vermont began to dominate early Democratic presidential primary contests.
NeverTrump, consisting mostly of Democrats disguised as Trump-hating conservatives so they can keep their gigs on MSNBC and the Washington Post, are encouraging Democratic voters to dump Sanders in favor of a more reasonable Democratic candidate (LOL) who could beat Donald Trump in November.
Now, NeverTrump isn’t exactly known for their inimitable political instincts. In fact, the collection of failed magazine editors, washed-up campaign consultants, and dullards from legacy conservative outlets have been spectacularly wrong about almost everything for the past few decades, but never more so than during the Trump era. Their collective losing streak basically started with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and has continued, nearly uninterrupted, from there.
Per habit, NeverTrump once again has overestimated their value in the political realm. They are useful idiots to the Left insofar as they stay in their lane, which is to supply a nonstop loop of temper tantrums about Donald Trump; warnings of impending doom; diatribes about the complicity of Trump-supporting Republican lawmakers; and various profane name-calling and mockery of Trump voters.
Their counsel about the internal affairs of the Democratic party, however, is decidedly unwelcome. And questioning how the intemperate gasbag now leading the most unimpressive field of Democratic presidential candidates since 1976 will beat the current Republican occupant of the White House is the equivalent of infidelity in this unholy alliance. “While no one should exclude the possibility that Sanders might beat President Trump, his manifest weaknesses and extreme ideology make such a victory unlikely, thereby subjecting the country to the horror of another four years of an unhinged, authoritarian president,” warned Jennifer Rubin, the alleged conservative columnist at the Washington Post who is not conservative. “We should shudder at the prospect of what the country might look like after another Trump term.” (Rubin also suggested that Joe Biden announce a woman of color as his running mate to bring some “pizzaz” to his fading candidacy.)
Bill Kristol, the de facto leader of NeverTrump, campaigned in New Hampshire earlier this month not for Republicans but for the Anyone But Bernie faction of the Democratic party. The founder of the now-defunct Weekly Standard urged thousands of independent voters to pull a Democratic ballot and vote for a “responsible and electable candidate,” meaning not Bernie Sanders. “We’re trying to save the nation from a choice between Trumpism and socialism,” Kristol told a local newspaper.
Other NeverTrumpers who’ve expressed alarm about the possibility of a Sanders acceptance speech from the Democratic National Convention stage this summer in Milwaukee include Max Boot, Bret Stephens, David Frum, and even the cretinous Rick Wilson who was last seen on CNN ridiculing Trump supporters as illiterate rubes. Their Bernie-bashing has landed NeverTrump a spot sleeping on the proverbial political sofa; these useful idiots are getting smacked down all over the place.
One Democratic activist confronted Steve Schmidt, the manager of the disastrous 2008 McCain campaign, about NeverTrump’s refusal to support Sanders. “If Donald Trump is the emergency that you say he is…and the Democratic Party puts forward Bernie Sanders and you tell me that you can’t vote for him then it seems to me that Donald Trump isn’t the emergency you say he is,” scolded Eddie Glaude, a Princeton professor. Schmidt also was upbraided by his usually collegial MSNBC host for claiming Sanders wants to give away trillions of dollars “in free stuff.”
CNN political analyst Kirsten Powers rejected NeverTrump’s unwanted advances. “Why do Never Trump Republicans think Dems have an obligation to cater to them? If they are serious about their criticisms of Trump (are they?) they would vote for the Dem candidate, period,” she tweeted on February 19.
Suddenly, the Left realized that not only are NeverTrumpers uninvited interlopers in the Democratic Party but they are outcasts in the Republican Party, too. NeverTrump, as all of us on the Right have noted since 2016, does not represent the views of the overwhelming majority of rank-and-file Republicans. The Jennifer Rubins and David Frenches and Max Boots of the world reflect a teeny tiny faction of disgruntled GOP voters, perhaps no more significant than the intraparty defection routinely faced by any president.
But NeverTrump occupies nearly all of the so-called Republican or “conservative” posts on cable news networks other than Fox (although their number at Fox is growing, too) and in elite media organizations from the New York Times to The Atlantic.
Parker Malloy, a columnist at the far-left Media Matters for America, noted that NeverTrump commentators unjustifiably dominate the airwaves and column inches, giving a false impression of discord in the Republican Party. “When Trump won, there was still the chance that he would face opposition from his own party as president, and these pundits could help provide insight into what the non-Trump portion of the party thought,” Malloy wrote over the weekend. “Instead, we exist in a world where their views are utterly irrelevant, and they’re just taking up time that could be better spent with people who represent actual political constituencies.”
NeverTrump pundits, Malloy accurately observed, “have pitifully little pull within the Republican Party, but you wouldn’t know it based on mainstream news coverage, where pundits like Rick Wilson, Jennifer Rubin, Steve Schmidt, and David Frum have continued to thrive.”
Which is what all of us on the rational Right have been saying for years. It’s odd that now this is some sort of stunning revelation, as if NeverTrump’s bleating about Bernie suddenly made them out-of-touch and unrepresentative of the Republican Party when, in fact, they have been all along.
Now, some NeverTrumpers are still sashaying in front of the Left, making sure they don’t totally offend the delicate sensibilities of their newfound allies. David French, whose harsh condemnation of Trump-supporting evangelicals borders on religious bigotry, tiptoed around the threat Sanders’ poses to the country. Sanders, according to French, isn’t “harmless” and would be “bad for America.” In typical Frenchian fashion, the Dispatch blogger pledged to vote third-party or a write-in candidate because he just can’t vote for Trump. (French also ignorantly claimed that Sanders would not be able to usher in socialism if elected president. Of course he can and he will.)
For most of the day Sunday, #NeverTrump trended on Twitter with thousands of accounts mocking NeverTrump’s incursion into Democratic presidential politics. With Sanders poised to win the nomination, Trump, meanwhile, is enjoying his highest job approval ratings even among independents. This combination pushes NeverTrump further into political obscurity where, truthfully, they have belonged for quite some time.
The Republican Party doesn’t want them back—ever. The Democrats have used them up and are sending them home on a social media walk of shame. The only question now is whether corporate media will finally wisen up to the fact that NeverTrump’s usefulness is over and if they are prepared to fill those spots with legitimate Trump-backing Republicans who represent at least half the country.
My guess, despite the current criticism, is no.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. After college graduation, she served as a policy and communications consultant for several Republican candidates and elected officials in suburban Chicago. She also volunteered for her local GOP organization. After staying home for more than 10 years to raise her two daughters, Julie began teaching cooking classes out of her home. She then started writing about food policy, agriculture, and biotechnology, as well as climate change and other scientific issues. She graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 1990 with a degree in communications and minor degrees in political science and journalism. Julie lives in suburban Chicago with her husband, two daughters, and (unfortunately) three dogs.
Photo “David French (Left)” by David French. Photo “Max Boot (Center)” by Max Boot. Photo “Bill Kristol” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.