Remaining #NeverTrumpers Now Officially More Catholic than the Pope

 

This week in a lengthy statement posted on Facebook, Senator Ted Cruz (in the charming locution used by Laura Ingraham at the Republican National Convention) put on his big boy pants and endorsed the Republican nominee, Donald Trump, for President. Cruz thereby undermined the remnants of the #NeverTrump movement whose adherents continue to oppose Donald Trump and argue that they are supporting conservative principles while doing so.

Cruz avowed that his reasons for endorsing Trump were twofold. The first reason was that he had made a pledge which he felt obliged to keep. That’s all well and good.

Cruz’ second reason for endorsing Trump was in fact a litany of reasons why Trump would be better for America than Clinton. You can read the details in Cruz’ Facebook statement. There is absolutely nothing new in any of these points (concerning Obamacare, the Supreme Court, Immigration, etc.). I have written about them (as have many conservatives who started with or merged with Trump) here, here, here and here.

There was actually never any logic in being #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary at the same time. This attempt to square a circle ignored the simple formulation that the election is “binary” (unless you really think that Evan McMullin has a chance of winning…in which case you will find nothing more of value to you in this column). The attempt to attribute some moral (spiritual?) value to one’s vote – apart from the role it plays in indicating your preferred choice for one future set of policies as compared to another – is a misunderstanding of what a vote is.

Allow me one final joust in this regard. Imagine having a child who requires a medical decision (surgery or not, amputation or not, radiation treatment or not) to be made. Do you simply forfeit the decision? Do you decide not to decide because the choices are so horrible to you? This is what “lesser evil” is all about.

(Okay, if you live in a state where your vote essentially doesn’t count and it gives you some comfort to stick your tongue out at Trump, fine. That is no different from the other legitimate justification for not voting, namely that you are too lazy to bother).

But Cruz has taken the debate one step beyond the recognition that voting is simply an exercise in game theory and that it is irrational to not vote at all. Cruz has said not merely that you must make a choice between Trump and Clinton, Cruz has said that from the conservative viewpoint Trump is the clearly better choice.

I have been strongly pro-Trump for a year, so I have a bias. But for those who continue to maintain that Cruz is in error, I recommend that you read or watch some of Trump’s recent speeches (to parish of Pastor Jackson, on immigration, on the Second Amendment).

I continue to believe that my dear #NeverTrump friends have built up a loathing for Trump throughout the primaries as he trounced all the other candidates (with arguably objectionable methods). Having started, as most of my dear friends did, with bemusement toward Trump and having never grasped why in November of last year 35% of Republicans were supporting him, his victories were, to them, outrageous, horrifying and, more than anything, an indictment of an easily duped electorate.

To my dear friends, however revolting Hillary may be, she did not crush Bush, Fiorina, Rubio and Cruz – Trump did.

The flock of #NeverTrump is getting smaller. Jeb is left. Kasich is left. But for small government, Constitutional conservatives, Ted Cruz was the Pope.

There are columns out there from the left that talk about Cruz’ craven betrayal (I won’t link to them). I would hate to see that become the dominant viewpoint from the #NeverTrump right as well.

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  1. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    Preach it, Brother Stopa!

    • #1
  2. Keith Keystone Inactive
    Keith Keystone
    @KeithKeystone

    Michael Stopa: There was actually never any logic in being #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary at the same time.

    Of course there is logic in it. If you don’t believe either candidate is suitable for the office, then it is logical not to vote for either. I believe Hillary is a crook and Trump is completely nuts. So I’ll stay home. And if go to a restaurant and the only things on the menu are two versions of a crap sandwich, then I won’t order anything. I’ll wait for the next meal.

    • #2
  3. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Michael Stopa:There was actually never any logic in being #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary at the same time…

    Michael, I accept that you believe Donald Trump will be better for the country than Hillary Clinton. Is it really so unthinkable that fellow conservatives believe that they will be similarly terrible, or that insufficient information exists to make such a judgement?

    Sorry, rhetorical question.

    Okay, if you live in a state where your vote essentially doesn’t count and it gives you some comfort to stick your tongue out at Trump, fine. That is no different from the other legitimate justification for not voting, namely that you are too lazy to bother.

    First, I would suggest (again) that describing others in demeaning terms may not be the most effective means of persuasion. Just throwing this out there.

    Second, there is political value in withholding one’s vote from candidates whom one believes will serve the nation poorly. In politics, loyalty is generally rewarded with neglect and abuse: If your vote can be taken for granted, so will you (just ask African Americans). Declining to reward Donald Trump with my support when it counts is the best means I have to signal that similar candidates will not be tolerated in the future.

    • #3
  4. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Keith Keystone: Of course there is logic in it. If you don’t believe either candidate is suitable for the office, then it is logical not to vote for either. I believe Hillary is a crook and Trump is completely nuts. So I’ll stay home.

    Stop supporting Hillary by not supporting Hillary!

    • #4
  5. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Their numbers are dwindling even more in private as people do know they get  radiation  or chemo.    In private people don’t want their faces rubbed in this disaster and it’s good to respect that.   In the pundit world they really do need their faces rubbed in it.

    • #5
  6. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Wait why does Ted Cruz buckling to political pressure undermine NeverTrump?

    • #6
  7. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Michael Stopa: Cruz’ second reason for endorsing Trump was in fact a litany of reasons why Trump would be better for America than Clinton. You can read the details in Cruz’ Facebook statement. There is absolutely nothing new in any of these points (concerning Obamacare, the Supreme Court, Immigration, etc.). I have written about them (as have many conservatives who started with or merged with Trump) here, here, here and here.

    I’m glad you could provide cover for Cruz’s cowardly turn, but the simple fact of the matter is that those of us that remain NeverTrump don’t buy any of those points. Not only has Trump held every single possible position on those issues in the past, his naturally tendency at deal making will nullify any hope you had of him sticking to positions in the future.

    • #7
  8. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    I’m reluctantly planning to vote for Trump, but there are very good reasons to be opposed to Trump.  When he said that Bush lied us into war, that should have ended his chances of being the Republican nominee.  Likewise, when it was discovered that he apparently hasn’t met a dictator he hasn’t liked, that should have ended his run for the nomination as well.  But somehow it didn’t.

    The only reason I’m not NeverTrump is that my view of voting is very cynical.  I think the purpose of voting is to stop really bad people from getting political power.  Up until a few weeks ago I thought that a Trump presidency would be no better than a Hillary presidency, but in the last few weeks, I’ve come to hope that it might be slightly better.  And Democrats have reminded me of how appalling they are by accusing the police of murder with no evidence.  I don’t see any way that Trump could be a good president, but even as a bad president he wouldn’t be so bad that he would throw around wild accusations about…oh, wait…I don’t know.   I may have just talked myself out of voting for Trump in mid-comment.

    I may be one of the very few people who will be watching the debate tomorrow so that I can figure out how to vote.

    • #8
  9. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    Jamie Lockett:

    Michael Stopa: Cruz’ second reason for endorsing Trump was in fact a litany of reasons why Trump would be better for America than Clinton. You can read the details in Cruz’ Facebook statement. There is absolutely nothing new in any of these points (concerning Obamacare, the Supreme Court, Immigration, etc.). I have written about them (as have many conservatives who started with or merged with Trump) here, here, here and here.

    I’m glad you could provide cover for Cruz’s cowardly turn, but the simple fact of the matter is that those of us that remain NeverTrump don’t buy any of those points. Not only has Trump held every single possible position on those issues in the past, his naturally tendency at deal making will nullify any hope you had of him sticking to positions in the future.

    The reasons to vote for Trump, at least if they are about stopping Hillary, are very strong.  Likewise, the reasons to not vote for Trump, that he would damage the conservative cause long-term, are also very strong.  I object to the premise of the original post and I reject the premise of this comment that either side is being weak or cowardly.  If you’re a conservative, the right choice in this election is not in any way an easy one.

    • #9
  10. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I’ve been thinking that the reason Cruz endorsed Trump this week is because someone has told him that the nevertrumpers are so many that if the election were to be held today, it would go to Clinton. Trump is edging closer to Clinton in the polls. Perhaps the reality of a Clinton presidency, with the latest revelations about the activities of the Clinton Foundation in terms of securing positions in the State Department for donors, alarmed Cruz so much that he felt that he had to use whatever influence he might still have to persuade some nevertrumpers to vote for Trump. Cruz became a person in a key position to prevent Clinton from winning simply because of the numbers–Trump and Clinton are so close that the nevertrumpers could throw the election Clinton’s way. Occam’s razor perhaps.

    In other words, Trump has remained the same in terms of our (and Cruz’s ) uncertainty about what he will do. There have no new revelations about Trump in the past couple of months. In contrast, there have been a great many revelations about Clinton in the past two months. Whereas before, it seemed to him like six of one, half a dozen of the other, now it suddenly seems like Clinton might be much worse than Trump in terms of character.

    • #10
  11. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    Tom Meyer, Ed.: n politics, loyalty is generally rewarded with neglect and abuse: If your vote can be taken for granted, so will you (just ask African Americans). Declining to reward Donald Trump with my support when it counts is the best means I have to signal that similar candidates will not be tolerated in the future.

    Yes!  That’s a very important point.  Donald Trump doesn’t just have to be better than Hillary.  He has to be sufficiently better that the negative effect he has on the GOP is less than the negative effect that would be caused by a Hillary presidency.  Trump supporters tend to calculate a Hillary presidency as infinitely harmful, which isn’t literally true.  Some NeverTrumper seem to consider Trump inifinitely harmful as well, and that isn’t true either.  If Trump governs as a Democrat 80% as often as Hillary would, it would probably be better to just concede the 2016 Presidential Election as lost and work for a better nominee in 2020.  I’m not sure what Trump will actually do.  I’m somewhat encouraged by recent events that Trump can be influenced to be more conservative, which is why I’m tentatively (very tentatively!) thinking about voting for him.

    • #11
  12. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    There was actually never any logic in being #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary at the same time. This attempt to square a circle ignored the simple formulation that the election is “binary” (unless you really think that Evan McMullin has a chance of winning…in which case you will find nothing more of value to you in this column).

    There are many reasons to be happy when November 8 finally rolls around.  Not having to read this extremely limited  binary theory of voting ever again should certainly be one of them.  But why do I suspect it will get a second life in the search for scapegoats in the event of a Trump loss?

    • #12
  13. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Jamie Lockett:Wait why does Ted Cruz buckling to political pressure undermine NeverTrump?

    Why does Ted Cruz keeping a promise to support the nominee get equated with “buckling to political pressure”?

    • #13
  14. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    “Allow me one final joust in this regard. Imagine having a child who requires a medical decision (surgery or not, amputation or not, radiation treatment or not) to be made. Do you simply forfeit the decision? Do you decide not to decide because the choices are so horrible to you? This is what “lesser evil” is all about.”

    Allow me this joust. I have a choice between a vial of arsenic or a vile of cyanide. Now tell me what to do.

    • #14
  15. Publius Inactive
    Publius
    @Publius

    I’m seeing a bit of overthinking on Ricochet when it comes to the analysis of people who won’t vote for either of the major party candidates.

    Maybe there are people who are taking some sort of long-term strategic view that not voting for Trump or Clinton will somehow save the GOP or conservatism.  Maybe there were people who wouldn’t vote for Donald Trump because of something Ted Cruz said or didn’t say at a particular point in time.

    In my case, I don’t much care for Ted Cruz.  I don’t trust him one singular bit particularly after the government shutdown stunt that was clearly just a branding exercise for his presidential ambitions. The fact that so many of his Senate colleges have a negative opinion of him also is a warning sign to me.  I’m also not all that impressed with his resume from an executive leadership standpoint.

    I also don’t much care for the Republican party or the two party system in general. I’ve been an independent since the 1990s and I’m more than ready for both of these political parties to just go away.  The fact that the two party’s primary voters nominated Trump and Clinton, oddly enough, hasn’t changed my mind on this.

    My decision not to vote for any of the five candidates isn’t anything more sinister or complex than me refusal to vote for pro-abortion candidates. Ever. I won’t do it.  That eliminates Trump, Clinton, Johnson, and Stein right off the bat.  The leaves McMullen.   I can cross him out since I don’t think his resume qualifies him to be President of the United States.

    An additional reason for not voting for Trump or Clinton is that I think they’re both manifestly unqualified for office based on character and temperament.  I have additional reasons for not voting for either, but one is sufficient and two is more than enough in regards to these two.

    In my case, I simply run the math differently than most folks around here. I fully recognize that others set up the problem differently and come to the conclusion that they are going to vote for one of the candidates for their own reasons. I get it. I respect that.  It’s easy for me to understand.

    Why is it so hard to understand why some of us won’t vote for Donald Trump?

    • #15
  16. Malikashiqui Inactive
    Malikashiqui
    @Malikashiqui

    It comes down to appointments: not just Supreme Court appointments, but appointments of every cabinet secretary, deputy secretary, undersecretary, assistant secretary, commission member &c.  Hillary will appoint radical leftists.  God help us if she chooses another Attorney General like those Obama has foisted on us to “transform America,” which she will do given the chance.  It matters.  The bureaucracy is overwhelmingly left wing.  At least with Trump, Pence, Sessions, Giuliani, Christie, Conway, Coulter (?!), et al. in the administration picking these folks, there is some chance to push back.  On most issues, Trump will be a big picture guy and a delegator.  The people to whom he will delegate may not be as close to my thinking as Cruz would have picked.  But they will be a lot better than anyone Hillary will pick, at least for the most part.  Tomorrow we can worry about rehabilitating conservatism in the eyes of the American People.  Today, let’s not surrender every level of the Executive Branch and Judicial Branch of the Federal Government to Hillary’s leftist minions.

    • #16
  17. Malikashiqui Inactive
    Malikashiqui
    @Malikashiqui

    @mikerapkoch

    Regarding your choice between a vial of arsenic or cyanide, don’t swallow either.  But very carefully use the cyanide to manufacture a polymer or pharmaceutical that does no harm and maybe makes things a bit better.

    • #17
  18. J Climacus Member
    J Climacus
    @JClimacus

    The choice is more than binary because votes are interpreted as a signal of support. Suppose, for example, that 53% of voters vote for Trump as the lesser of two evils even though they loath him, Hillary gets 45% and third parties 2%. An 8 point win by Trump, with a clear majority of votes, would be a landslide and interpreted as a major endorsement of him by the American people, even though only a relatively small minority approves of him.

    Suppose, instead, he wins with 40% of the vote, Hillary gets 39%, and third parties 21%. He wins, but there is no endorsement of him by the American people. Not voting for a major party candidate, or not voting at all, is a form of protest.

    All this will be especially true if a majority of traditional conservatives vote for Trump as the lesser of two evils. If, say, 70% of evangelicals vote for Trump despite his long support for the pro-choice movement, this signals weakness in the prolife movement, whatever such voters true motives might be.

    This is why totalitarian states force everyone to vote. The mere fact that one has formally approved the state, even if everyone knows it doesn’t reflect your true feelings, has the effect of demoralizing and undermining opposition.

    • #18
  19. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Note:

    That's gross. --eds.

    [redacted]

    • #19
  20. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    My conservatism is more deep than merely being anti-Hillary. I have room in it for things like first principles.

    • #20
  21. I Walton Member
    I Walton
    @IWalton

    Never Trumps  conflate Trumps words with Hillary and the Democrat party’s reality.  Part of the foundation of conservatism is to acknowledge that we cannot know the future, trusting or not inherited institutions and traditions, recognizing that our clever abstractions about the future are usually wrong.  For instance, “Trump will destroy the Republican party”, during the primary many of us made that case.  It’s no longer relevant.  Losing elections harms the Republican party.  A Democrat win weakens the Republican party, but it is more.   Democrats  use their power to try to destroy the Republican party, the free market, free speech and the platoons where people live, work pray and form relationships.  The Democrat leadership and supporters are  totalitarian.    Ordinary Democrats are not, they’re just folks who have absorbed the totalitarian narratives by osmosis from the ubiquitous progressive propaganda machines, and some are being turned into dangerous mobs and that will get worse.   Alinsky following, nihilistic, neo marxist, rent seeking, ideologues who run the party are a real threat to this Republic.  Trump may be a threat, we can’t know, all we have are his words and his businesses.  Hillary? It’s the apparatus, the support, the wealth, the institutional power, the people around her including her dangerous far left VP and the momentum of the ever growing administrative state.

    • #21
  22. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    Keith Keystone:

    Michael Stopa: There was actually never any logic in being #NeverTrump and #NeverHillary at the same time.

    Of course there is logic in it. If you don’t believe either candidate is suitable for the office, then it is logical not to vote for either. I believe Hillary is a crook and Trump is completely nuts. So I’ll stay home. And if go to a restaurant and the only things on the menu are two versions of a crap sandwich, then I won’t order anything. I’ll wait for the next meal.

    I will vote for Trump, not because I like Trump (I think he’s an unserious narcissistic goof) but because I sincerely believe Hillary Clinton and those she surrounds herself with(Bill, Sid Blumenthal, David Brock, etc.), are criminally and morally much worse than Trump.

    The difference in the crap sandwich analogy, is that when you choose to not have either sandwich it does not cause the rest of us to eat the other (D) crap sandwich.   When you don’t vote (R) as you would normally, then you effectively give the more vote advantage to the (D).

    I have said this many times (ie: “effectively give the advantage to the (D) by not voting”) on Ricochet and some NeverTrump will insist I’m wrong…..but of course I’m correct….(10 Voters = 5 vote for Hillary,  4 for Trump, 1 chooses not to vote….yippee Hillary wins)

    • #22
  23. Ralphie Inactive
    Ralphie
    @Ralphie

    J Climacus: This is why totalitarian states force everyone to vote.

    I just told my husband last week I’m not voting while I still have the option. Perhaps there will be a day the President will claim he has 95% of the vote. No one will believe it, but the humilation of citizens with be nearly complete.

    Mandates matter. Bill Clinton did not win by a majority and was conservative by today’s standards.

    • #23
  24. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    EDISONPARKS: I have said this many times (ie: “effectively give the advantage to the (D) by not voting”) on Ricochet and some NeverTrump will insist I’m wrong…..but of course I’m correct….(10 Voters = 5 vote for Hillary, 4 for Trump, 1 chooses not to vote….yippee Hillary wins)

    Well unless that last voter was going to vote for Hillary…then it makes no difference. As I have said my not voting is the best compromise I can make in this situation, because really if I felt I had to choose (which I don’t) my view of them is so negative that for me it would be a coin flip who I actually voted for between the two. So really all the logic of your argument is based on the assumption that the Republican nominee is owed my vote. This is not the case.

    • #24
  25. Lois Lane Coolidge
    Lois Lane
    @LoisLane

    Cruz is the Pope???  That’s hilarious.

    I know that Trump voters want to embrace the idea that Cruz is just doing what’s right for the Republican Party, standing on bedrock principles about a *politician* keeping one’s word or some such nonsense.

    Here’s a different way to look at this?

    Maybe Cruz looked at his poll numbers in Texas when matched against other Republicans he’ll have to face in the primary and calculated that the blowback to his speech at the convention would damage his run in 2018 because there are a lot of Trump supporters in the Lone Star State.  He has to remember how he won office in the first place, after all, coming second in a primary and only winning the nomination in a run-off with lower voter turn-out.

    So I put forth his calculation has nothing to do with principles or wanting to save the country from Hillary.  Sorry.  It has everything to do with keeping his Senate seat, which is all about Ted Cruz.

    How does that undermine any belief of mine that Donald Trump doesn’t deserve my vote?
    You know who I will cast a vote against now with absolutely no qualms or pangs of conscience though?  Ted Cruz in the TX primary in 2018.

    • #25
  26. Severely Ltd. Inactive
    Severely Ltd.
    @SeverelyLtd

    Instugator:[redacted]

    We members are pretty tough, we’re big boys and girls. We can even decide for ourselves if something is gross or not.

    • #26
  27. Wordcooper Inactive
    Wordcooper
    @Wordcooper

    This is NOT a binary decision for the simple fact that the future exists. There will be more choices in four years, even if the next president triggers apocalypse. By leaving the Republican party and refusing to vote for Trump (or Hillary), I am voting against the choices of the two major parties. Yes, it is futile vote (this year). But if enough people take that route and more people come to their senses in the next four years, we may have better choices next time.

    • #27
  28. livingthehighlife Inactive
    livingthehighlife
    @livingthehighlife

    The obsession with #NeverTrump is cute.

    • #28
  29. Publius Inactive
    Publius
    @Publius

    Lois Lane:So I put forth his calculation has nothing to do with principles or wanting to save the country from Hillary. Sorry. It has everything to do with keeping his Senate seat, which is all about Ted Cruz.

    How does that undermine any belief of mine that Donald Trump doesn’t deserve my vote?

    Exactly. A politician does something cynical to save his political hide and now that’s a reason for me to vote for an even worse politician?

    • #29
  30. Severely Ltd. Inactive
    Severely Ltd.
    @SeverelyLtd

    Hoyacon:

    Jamie Lockett:Wait why does Ted Cruz buckling to political pressure undermine NeverTrump?

    Why does Ted Cruz keeping a promise to support the nominee get equated with “buckling to political pressure”?

    I thought this was such a good question I thought I’d repeat it down here. In case Jamie didn’t see it the first time.

    • #30

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