#NeverTrump Republicanism Can Still Matter
During the 2016 presidential election, a vocal minority of Republicans resisted the inexorable rise of President Donald Trump without ever being able to support Hillary Clinton. We weren’t Democrats. We were Never-Trump Republicans.
In 2018, many of my fellow Never-Trumpers broke ranks. Some—George Will, Max Boot, Steve Schmidt, to name three—have advocated switching sides, at least for one November. Others made their peace with Trump because they like his judicial nominees or his tax cuts; some in the GOP consulting and lobbying world have bowed to the financial and occupational imperatives of a city that puts conformity before performance.
But at the risk of sounding like Monty Python: Never Trumpism isn’t dead yet. It’s just in hibernation. Those supporting Democrats for Congress aren’t born-again liberals; rather, they persist in the radical notion that Congress is a co-equal branch of government that must hold every president to account—something congressional Republicans have demonstrated absolutely no impulse to do with Trump. Some of my compatriots have gone underground, bowing to the current regime in order to keep the lights on. I’m still a registered Republican, even if I feel like a stranger in a strange party. There are days I stick around just out of spite, a human middle finger stubbornly reminding members of the Trump GOP that their souls are in hock to a con man, and some of us are going be here to pick up the pieces.
By numbers, Never Trump might look like a failure, but it has succeeded in one of its most important missions. As oppressive governments learn over and over, a leaderless resistance on the right side of history is hard to kill. No matter how badly beaten and battered we were by the Russia-and-Fox-powered Trump juggernaut, we are committed to preserving the memory of the conservative movement, some remnant of the faith in the Constitution, limited government, free markets, free trade and individual liberty. Like medieval Irish monks hunched over parchment by the light of a candle flame, we are illuminating the scrolls of conservatism while the storm rages and the tide of ignorance rises. We will be here when it ebbs.