This may be my last post on Trump between now and November. Although it's possible that I'll have some afterthoughts, it's my intention to tie up the loose ends in this post.
1. There's a sense in which the NeverTrump movement has come to a dead end. Once he became the presumptive nominee, there's not much farther the NeverTrump movement can go.
I don't say that as a criticism. At this point it can be sufficient just to dissociate yourself from Trump. Say, "He doesn't speak for me". "He doesn't represent what I represent". It can be good just to stand apart.
2. Some members of the NeverTrump movement want to float a temporary third-party candidacy to thwart him. One problem with that desire is that any such candidacy will be severely underfunded. The donor-class isn't going to throw money at an ill-fated third-party protest candidate. In addition, it would split the anti-Hillary vote between Trumpkins and anti-Trumpkins. If the intention is to defeat Hillary, that's an exercise in futility.
3. Of course, if Trump gets shellacked in November, Trumpkins will try to pin the blame on conservatives who failed to support the nominee. If so, I'd say the following:
i) The fact that you support a particular candidate hardly obliges me to support your preferred candidate. You can vote for whoever you please. But you can't compel me to endorse your choice. That's not how voting works.
Indeed, it's self-refuting. If I'm obliged to support your choice, why aren't you obliged to support my choice?
ii) If defeating Hillary was your priority, then it was a monumental blunder on your part to foist on the rest of us a candidate who's repellent to most Republicans, and repellent to even more conservatives–not to mention repellent to many swing voters. If defeating Hillary was your number one objective, then you should have backed a consensus candidate.
In reality, you had two incompatible priorities: (a) defeat Hillary; (b) nominate Trump.
Take your pick, because it's unlikely that you can do both.
iii) You can't box me into supporting your candidate by eliminating every decent alternative. You don't get to dictate my choices to that degree. If your priority is to defeat Hillary, don't try to corner me by making it a choice between Hillary or Trump. That's counterproductive. Either defeating Hillary was never your number one objective, or else you're hopelessly incompetent in knowing how best to achieve your objective.
4. Some people think it's okay to criticize Trump, but unfair to criticize his supporters. I demur.
i) Trumpkins have created an untenable dilemma for conservative voters. If some of them opposed him in the primaries, but grudgingly vote for him in the general election, I don't blame them. That's not what I'd do, but I understand. They consider Trump to be the second-worst choice in a worst-case scenario.
Rather, I blame the people who created that gratuitous predicament in the first place: Trump voters in the primaries.
This was a critical election. This comes on the heels of 8 disastrous years of Democrat rule in the White House. The Supreme Court is in the balance. The Constitution is in the balance.
On the one hand, Hillary is an exceptionally weak candidate. On the other hand, we had an exceptionally deep bench of good conservative candidates this election cycle. It was a sterling opportunity.
The Trumpkins ruined that. They chose the worst of the worst. They're like vandals. They deserve our condemnation.
ii) From what I've read, many Trumpkins are working class voters. I'm very sympathetic to the plight of the working class. Many of my relatives are/were members of the working class.
However, that's not an excuse to be gullible, uninformed, or indifferent to social issues, the Bill of Rights, &c.
If they wanted someone who was good on working class issues, why not pick Rick Santorum or Scott Walker? But instead they went for the glitzy TV personality. They are just as frivolous as Trump.
5. Apropos (4), oddly enough, even though Trump is a closet Democrat, even though Trump got the nomination because Democrats invaded the GOP primaries, and even though Hillary may well be the worst Democrat nominee in the history of her party–which is impressively bad given the fierce competition for that dubious distinction–despite all that, some conservatives actually think the GOP is the enemy. The GOP ought to be destroyed.
To the contrary, doesn't all that point to the fact that it's the Democrat party that ought to be destroyed?
6. Apropos (5), some conservative critics have a bad habit of comparing Democrats to the worst Republicans. Of course, if that's the basis of comparison, then there's no appreciable difference between the two parties.
But that's very one-sided. Shouldn't we also compare Democrats to the best Republicans?
In fact, if we constantly lump all Republicans together, and judge them by the worst representatives, then there's no incentive for any Republican to be a principled conservative.
7. At the moment, the GOP is split between Trump supporters, Trump opponents, and undecideds. It's not split in the sense of having broken apart. We don't have two or three splinter groups in its place.
For now, it's split in terms of endorsing, supporting, or opposing, the presumptive nominee. How that ultimately evolves depends on what happens in November.