Ben Howe Releases #NeverTrump Documentary

 

As a prominent contributor and editor to RedState, Ben Howe has been Tea Party from the start. The conservatarian movement’s dedication to restoring a constitutional limited government that lived within its means was exactly what Howe was looking for. He took on ever-greater roles as an activist, communicator, and filmmaker to help achieve that lofty goal.

Then came 2016. Already frustrated by so-called “Tea Party” groups using the movement as a cash-grab, he was shocked to see “constitutional conservatives” throw their weight behind a candidate who made a mockery of their principles. Howe signed on early to the #NeverTrump effort, and wondered why so many of his former allies fell in love with one of Hillary Clinton’s most famous donors.

To answer this question, he created a 50-minute film and made it available online. You can watch it here:

When I attended a Trump rally in central Arizona, I drove his crew to the site and watched some of their interviews with the attendees (as a result, my name is listed in the ending credits). What I most like about the documentary is that The Donald’s fans are treated with respect, even though the candidate is most certainly not. If you are a reluctant Trump supporter, don’t let the overly harsh (in my opinion) title dissuade you from watching. The film is reasonable, measured, and powerful.

Instead of an attack on Trump, the film feels more like an elegy for the Tea Party. A documentary about a movement with such great promise and principle being cynically co-opted by a petty demagogue. If he loses on Tuesday, Donald Trump might have killed the Republican Party. But, far worse, he has discredited the best vehicle to reform the GOP establishment.

Being the weekend before the election, pro- and anti-Trump commentary is running hot. I look forward to reading your comments, but I request that you first to watch the film. Even if you disagree with its conclusions, I’m confident you’ll find it a thoughtful explanation of how Never Trumpers like myself have viewed this campaign, and why some conservatives in good conscience cannot cast a vote for this man.

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  1. Skarv Inactive
    Skarv
    @Skarv

    Jager:I get that Zurbin has the Nazi desk covered and you wanted to add content, but really you thought posting Trump is a Sociopath would lower the temperature of the debate?

    You had to know the type of responses this would generate. At this point this seems closer to picking a fight than fostering discussion

    You might have had a different comment if you watched it all. The title does not really reflect the content accurately. A lot of it is about the Tea party, how Trump became the nominee, and his supporters. So much has happened since Obama got elected that led up to this. I think the video is a valuable reminder. At least to me. If Trump wins – which is what I am voting for – we need to still remember that he is not likely to be a good President and we must focus on driving the right ideas to the forefront and stop his unprincipled and sometimes leftist impulses. Tempering of enthusiasm for the candidate you vote for is always healthy as all politicians will ultimately disappoint you. With Trump the need for tempering is much greater than e.g. Romney. In recent time, I can only think of Obama having similar overestimation among his ardent supporters.

    • #61
  2. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    TKC1101:

    Jamie Lockett: The responses on this thread have been rather comical in their predictable obtuseness

    I learned a long time ago that if someone hands me a bag labelled manure and tells me to “open it, it is real good” to assume I am being played. Given the choice of label, the disrespect is clear and the intent is clear. You may call that what you will.

    Given that you didn’t even watch the video you have no idea as to the contents of the bag. I certainly wish I was so intelligent that I knew everything without having to actually learn anything.

    • #62
  3. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Western Chauvinist:

    Jamie Lockett: The responses on this thread have been rather comical in their predictable obtuseness.

    Keep calling us rrrracist and stoopid. It’s been working great for the cause.

    Sorry when have I called you either of those things?

    • #63
  4. Jager Coolidge
    Jager
    @Jager

    Jamie Lockett:

    TKC1101:

    Jamie Lockett: The responses on this thread have been rather comical in their predictable obtuseness

    I learned a long time ago that if someone hands me a bag labelled manure and tells me to “open it, it is real good” to assume I am being played. Given the choice of label, the disrespect is clear and the intent is clear. You may call that what you will.

    Given that you didn’t even watch the video you have no idea as to the contents of the bag. I certainly wish I was so intelligent that I knew everything without having to actually learn anything.

    Is your point here that we should not trust other people to describe their own work? The maker of this video decided to title it The Sociopath. Most reasonable people would look at that and ascertain that  this guy made a video calling Trump a sociopath.

    I don’t know how helpful it is to call into question another members intelligence.

    • #64
  5. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Jager:

    Jamie Lockett:

    TKC1101:

    Jamie Lockett: The responses on this thread have been rather comical in their predictable obtuseness

    I learned a long time ago that if someone hands me a bag labelled manure and tells me to “open it, it is real good” to assume I am being played. Given the choice of label, the disrespect is clear and the intent is clear. You may call that what you will.

    Given that you didn’t even watch the video you have no idea as to the contents of the bag. I certainly wish I was so intelligent that I knew everything without having to actually learn anything.

    Is your point here that we should not trust other people to describe their own work? The maker of this video decided to title it The Sociopath. Most reasonable people would look at that and ascertain that this guy made a video calling Trump a sociopath.

    I don’t know how helpful it is to call into question another members intelligence.

    Would you reccomend to a liberal friend that they read Liberal Fscism and reserve judgement despite its inflammatory title? I certainly have. Have you every read the news paper and found that the headline doesn’t match the content?

    • #65
  6. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Jager:

    Jamie Lockett:

    TKC1101:

    Jamie Lockett: The responses on this thread have been rather comical in their predictable obtuseness

    I learned a long time ago that if someone hands me a bag labelled manure and tells me to “open it, it is real good” to assume I am being played. Given the choice of label, the disrespect is clear and the intent is clear. You may call that what you will.

    Given that you didn’t even watch the video you have no idea as to the contents of the bag. I certainly wish I was so intelligent that I knew everything without having to actually learn anything.

    Is your point here that we should not trust other people to describe their own work? The maker of this video decided to title it The Sociopath. Most reasonable people would look at that and ascertain that this guy made a video calling Trump a sociopath.

    I don’t know how helpful it is to call into question another members intelligence.

    Jaimie’s not calling you stupid — just your comments. Feel better?

    • #66
  7. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    Western Chauvinist:

    Jager:

    Jamie Lockett:

    TKC1101:

    Jamie Lockett: The responses on this thread have been rather comical in their predictable obtuseness

    I learned a long time ago that if someone hands me a bag labelled manure and tells me to “open it, it is real good” to assume I am being played. Given the choice of label, the disrespect is clear and the intent is clear. You may call that what you will.

    Given that you didn’t even watch the video you have no idea as to the contents of the bag. I certainly wish I was so intelligent that I knew everything without having to actually learn anything.

    Is your point here that we should not trust other people to describe their own work? The maker of this video decided to title it The Sociopath. Most reasonable people would look at that and ascertain that this guy made a video calling Trump a sociopath.

    I don’t know how helpful it is to call into question another members intelligence.

    Jaimie’s not calling you stupid — just your comments. Feel better?

    I never called anyone or their comments stupid.

    • #67
  8. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Jamie Lockett: I never called anyone or their comments stupid.

    You’re right, you used “obtuse.” That’s so much better.

    I’m outta this thread. I can have my intelligence insulted by watching CNN.

    I don’t need to pay for it.

    • #68
  9. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    I watched the Howe video prior to my earlier (#12) comment.
    One of the narrative devices used requires a further comment.

    Howe intersperses interviews with prominent public #NeverTrumpers, such as Jonah Goldberg, Liz Mair, Lachlan Markey and Rick Wilson. The interviews are filmed in studio settings with the subjects posed and poised and the end product, ostensibly, edited for clarity. They reinforce the thrust of Howe’s theses.

    There are other “interviews” of Arizonans attending a Trump rally. They are filmed outdoors, predominantly of older women, and done as the Trump supporters walk past the film crew. The responses captured are spontaneous, heart-felt, simple platitudes. They reinforce nothing earlier presented; instead, these “interviews” stand in sharp contextual and rhetorical contrast to the #NeverTrumpers’.

    A claim in the video is that Trump co-opted and conned the naively libertarian Tea Party movement. The reaction engendered by the dumbed-down portrait of Trump partisans furthers it: innocent, well-meaning people who have been tricked. The emotion one is left with as the use of these “interviews” increases is…pity.

    These are Jon Gabriel’s neighbors and friends, not talking heads or operatives like those with whom Howe contrasts them. They are speaking off-the-cuff to strangers in an open field, giving one sentence answers to shouted questions. No re-takes, no scripts. And they are made objects of pity and dupes.

    Howe and Gabriel use these folks as props for their contempt. They ought to be ashamed of themselves.

    • #69
  10. Jamie Lockett Inactive
    Jamie Lockett
    @JamieLockett

    I thought the treatment of Trumps supporters was actually very respectful. The contempt was leveled at those that twisted the TEA Party movement for personal gain.

    • #70
  11. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Jamie Lockett:I thought the treatment of Trumps supporters was actually very respectful. The contempt was leveled at those that twisted the TEA Party movement for personal gain.

    Yes, I caught that, and I agree that there were charlatans who rushed to capitalize on “TEA Party” enthusiasm.  There are many example of “grass-roots” organizations that sought to capitalize, and were more interested in gaining either money or notice than they were interested in advancing the smaller-government cause.

    I did not see any contempt aimed at the Trump rally attendees.  More like sympathy for the poor naive dupes.

    • #71
  12. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    MJBubba: I did not see any contempt aimed at the Trump rally attendees. More like sympathy for the poor naive dupes.

    Substitute “pity” for “sympathy” and you have captured my point exactly.

    (But sympathy works too.)

    Props for their (the filmmakers’) contempt.

    Contempt for the sociopathic con-man.

    • #72
  13. Polyphemus Inactive
    Polyphemus
    @Polyphemus

    Drusus:

    No, because Hillary will have an antagonistic Congress which will resist her, while Trump’s would be lickspittle.

    I can’t see this being the case, @drusus. We don’t really know for sure because we’ve never had someone like Trump before.  However, one could just as easily imagine Congress being often at odds with his administration. He didn’t exactly curry favor with his candidacy. If the Republicans retain the House and/or Senate with him as POTUS, it won’t be because of him in any clear sense. So they won’t owe him for his coattails. I rather think that they will in some ways butt heads and that may be the true danger. He may opt to just partner with the Dems for things that the Republicans don’t like. That scares me more than him having a lickspittle congress.

    That being said, his agenda will clearly be nowhere near as Left wing as hers will be.

    • #73
  14. Skarv Inactive
    Skarv
    @Skarv

    Jamie Lockett: Would you reccomend to a liberal friend that they read Liberal Fscism and reserve judgement despite its inflammatory title? I certainly have. Have you every read the news paper and found that the headline doesn’t match the content?

    Excellent point. The video brings up interesting points about how we got here and is a good (my opinion) for the post election discussion on he right.

    • #74
  15. Skarv Inactive
    Skarv
    @Skarv

    Freesmith: I watched the Howe video prior to my earlier (#12) comment.
    One of the narrative devices used requires a further comment.

    Watch first and then comment. Way to go! Your observations are interesting. I agree that Howe has a Trump negative agenda but I do not think he is portraying the Trump supporters negatively. I certainly did not think the Trump supporters seemed dumb when I watch the video.

    Just coming off having listened to NTK, I think the Howe video differs markedly in how it deals with the Trump supporters. Mona and Jay are going out of their way criticizing supporters and declaring that “I don’t want to hear from them ever again”, etc. Howe seems to me to be more of a “Tea party originalist” and I like that much better.

    • #75
  16. Lance Inactive
    Lance
    @Lance

    This little civil war of ours is proving to be worth the price of admission.

     

    Lets see if that value holds come Wed.  Ricochet was a place to find solace amongst comrades in 2012.  How much comradry there’ll be on Wed will be interesting to see.

    • #76
  17. Skarv Inactive
    Skarv
    @Skarv

    Lance:This little civil war of ours is proving to be worth the price of admission.

    Lets see if that value holds come Wed. Ricochet was a place to find solace amongst comrades in 2012. How much comradry there’ll be on Wed will be interesting to see.

    If we are forward looking in the post election debate and avoid blaming each other for how we came down on Trump there should be a reasonable chance to put humpty dumpty together again. The trick will be to focus on the ideas that we agree upon. Rob’s amnesty declaration on Nov 10 is a great start.

    • #77
  18. Spiral Reagan
    Spiral
    @HeavyWater

    Skarv:

    Lance:This little civil war of ours is proving to be worth the price of admission.

    Lets see if that value holds come Wed. Ricochet was a place to find solace amongst comrades in 2012. How much comradry there’ll be on Wed will be interesting to see.

    If we are forward looking in the post election debate and avoid blaming each other for how we came down on Trump there should be a reasonable chance to put humpty dumpty together again. The trick will be to focus on the ideas that we agree upon. Rob’s amnesty declaration on Nov 10 is a great start.

    Whether pro-Trump, reluctant Trump and Never Trump factions are able to unite after this election is over might depend on whether Trump decides to run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020.  This is assuming that Trump loses.

    If Trump decides to never seek elective office again, having lost to Hillary Clinton after over a year of campaigning, I think reconciliation is very likely.  Sure, there will not be universal enthusiasm for the 2020 Republican presidential nominee.

    But it’s unlikely that four years from now we will see a NeverCotton movement against Tom Cotton should he be the nominee.  Nor is there likely to be a NeverHaley movement against Nikki Haley.  But if Trump runs in 2020 and wins the nomination a second time, the division would remain.

    • #78
  19. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    The documentary certainly has anti-trump commentary and intentions. But it doesn’t lie. It doesn’t make him out to be worse than he is, or to make his supporters worse than they are.

    It is valuable to be reminded of the things that our nominee has said over the last year and a half, and how he looked saying those things, and the tone in which he said them. It is too easy to forget that teleprompter Trump is not the same person as rally Trump. Rally Trump is the guy who will be president if he wins.

    • #79
  20. Lance Inactive
    Lance
    @Lance

    Spiral:

    Skarv:

    Lance:This little civil war of ours is proving to be worth the price of admission.

    Lets see if that value holds come Wed. Ricochet was a place to find solace amongst comrades in 2012. How much comradry there’ll be on Wed will be interesting to see.

    If we are forward looking in the post election debate and avoid blaming each other for how we came down on Trump there should be a reasonable chance to put humpty dumpty together again. The trick will be to focus on the ideas that we agree upon. Rob’s amnesty declaration on Nov 10 is a great start.

     

    If Trump decides to never seek elective office again, having lost to Hillary Clinton after over a year of campaigning, I think reconciliation is very likely. Sure, there will not be universal enthusiasm for the 2020 Republican presidential nominee.

    But it’s unlikely that four years from now we will see a NeverCotton movement against Tom Cotton should he be the nominee. Nor is there likely to be a NeverHaley movement against Nikki Haley. But if Trump runs in 2020 and wins the nomination a second time, the division would remain.

    Great point you raise.  Interestingly, I am less inclined to support Cotton due to his position on Trump.  That may be harsh, but that honest inclination provides me an indication how deep these fissures are, and how difficult they will be to heal.

    • #80
  21. Arjay Member
    Arjay
    @

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Freesmith: It’s just what we at Ricochet need: another explication of the position of the NeverTrump faction. It’s a cause that hasn’t received a sufficient airing here.

    We had several explications of the position of the pro-Trump faction on the front page today, and earlier I posted an anti-Hillary ad. Ricochet has always expressed a diversity of center-right views. There are many websites that push only one way of thinking. Ricochet does not and we will not.

    I just kind of wish that you all would be honest about cheering for a Hillary win.

    • #81
  22. Arjay Member
    Arjay
    @

    Drusus:

    MJBubba:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    MJBubba: Some of us were surprised and distressed to find just how far left some of those “center-right” views turned out to be.

    Which views in the documentary are leftist?

    Every time they point out how far left Trump is, they build up to the conclusion that he is too far Left for anyone to vote for. This line of reasoning entirely brushes aside the fact that, however far left Trump may be, Hillary is farther Left.

    This becomes especially clear if you back away from the trees of flaws in Trump and Hillary, and consider just how much greater Team Hillary will be at advancing Leftist causes, in comparison to Team Trump.

    No, because Hillary will have an antagonistic Congress which will resist her, while Trump’s would be lickspittle.

    Republicans?  Effectively opposing a liberal president?  Really?

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Freesmith: It’s just what we at Ricochet need: another explication of the position of the NeverTrump faction. It’s a cause that hasn’t received a sufficient airing here.

    We had several explications of the position of the pro-Trump faction on the front page today, and earlier I posted an anti-Hillary ad. Ricochet has always expressed a diversity of center-right views. There are many websites that push only one way of thinking. Ricochet does not and we will not.

    I just kind of wish that you all would be honest about cheering for a Hillary win.

    • #82
  23. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    I watched it. I have two objections.

    1. It overstates Trump’s support in the Republican party.
    2. I think the thesis is wrong that the Tea Party is the main source of Trump support in the primaries. In the primaries the Tea Party ended as Cruz supporters.
    • #83
  24. MJBubba Inactive
    MJBubba
    @MJBubba

    Arjay:

    Drusus:

    MJBubba:

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    MJBubba: Some of us were surprised and distressed to find just how far left some of those “center-right” views turned out to be.

    Which views in the documentary are leftist?

    Every time they point out how far left Trump is, they build up to the conclusion that he is too far Left for anyone to vote for. This line of reasoning entirely brushes aside the fact that, however far left Trump may be, Hillary is farther Left.

    This becomes especially clear if you back away from the trees of flaws in Trump and Hillary, and consider just how much greater Team Hillary will be at advancing Leftist causes, in comparison to Team Trump.

    No, because Hillary will have an antagonistic Congress which will resist her, while Trump’s would be lickspittle.

    Republicans? Effectively opposing a liberal president? Really?

    Yes.  I believe that the primary reason that Republicans have been ineffective at opposing Pres. O. is because they fear Leftist mass media.

    If Trump wins, the Leftist reporters will delight in cheering on any dissention in Republican ranks.  GOP members of congress who stand up to Trump will become media darlings.   Just like in John McCain’s glory days as a maverick, before he became the GOP nominee.

    • #84
  25. Travis McKee Inactive
    Travis McKee
    @Typewriterking

    I fully endorse everything Jonah Goldberg said about Trump in the documentary, as he sees what has happened with the same puzzlement as I do. Rick Wilson’s parts were more emotionally stirring. The only issue I take with the documentary is the assumption that Trump’s support for nuclear proliferation is something conservatives are just assumed to be opposed to. I just don’t necessarily see what’s wrong with South Korea having nukes.

    This was the only portion of the documentary where I felt sympathy for Trump, and the only place at all where I saw a real parallel between him and Reagan.

    Overall, Ben Howe did good work with his little passion project. I already watched the doc over at The Resurgent (good site!) yesterday.

    • #85
  26. Mister D Member
    Mister D
    @MisterD

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: I’m seeing criticism of RedState, Ben Howe, Ricochet’s center-right bona fides, and the timing, but not much criticism of the documentary itself. I requested people watch the film first to prevent the typical ad hominem fallacies we’re seeing in this thread.

    Well, it is nice that you tried.

    • #86
  27. Mister D Member
    Mister D
    @MisterD

    Arjay: I just kind of wish that you all would be honest about cheering for a Hillary win.

    And many of us are tired of those who refuse to accept what we say on good faith. That is part of the purpose of Ricochet, after all.

    • #87
  28. Mister D Member
    Mister D
    @MisterD

    Lance:This little civil war of ours is proving to be worth the price of admission.

    Lets see if that value holds come Wed. Ricochet was a place to find solace amongst comrades in 2012. How much comradry there’ll be on Wed will be interesting to see.

    Honestly I fear for Ricochet’s future after the election. The membership drive isn’t halfway done, and there’s less than a month to go.

    If Trump loses (which I expect), there will be much gnashing of teeth and pointing for fingers by the Trumpers, and I expect many to walk away from Ricochet for “secretly supporting her.” And I don’t imagine my fellow NT’s will be in the mood to offer much in the way of aid and comfort for those who backed a loser.

     

    • #88
  29. Man With the Axe Inactive
    Man With the Axe
    @ManWiththeAxe

    Travis McKee:The only issue I take with the documentary is the assumption that Trump’s support for nuclear proliferation is something conservatives are just assumed to be opposed to. I just don’t necessarily see what’s wrong with South Korea having nukes.

    This was the only portion of the documentary where I felt sympathy for Trump, and the only place at all where I saw a real parallel between him and Reagan.

    I sort of agree with this point with one caveat. When Trump gives an opinion on an issue of world-historical importance like nuclear proliferation, I get the sense that he has never really thought about it, even for a minute, and that his thought process at this moment is really only about who is going to pay for defending these countries, and not whether their possession of nukes will prevent war or encourage it.

    He might accidentally light on the right conclusion (i.e., the one that I agree with) but I have no confidence that he has done so after careful consideration of the various complexities of the issue.

    • #89
  30. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    THis video is 90% accurate and excellent, and 10% hyperbolicly inaccurate and bush league.

    Just for an example, the ‘sociopath’ title is not backed up by any actual evidence, just some wild statement of someone’s, clearly never Trump, opinion.

    It also misses the vital link between the Tea party and Trump.  After the Tea party handed the Republicans a landslide victory in congress, they were denigrated (was it Hobbits we were called?), attacked, looked down upon as rubes, fools, whatever.  The party was OK with winning elections with the Tea party, but they were clearly embarrassed to be seen with them in the morning.

    The Republican party is the one who tried to usurp the Tea party.  And the Tea party wasn’t as simple minded as they thought.  Trump is the result.  If we want to know what is to blame for Trump, it is what Goldberg calls the ‘main stream or establishment, whatever’ Republicans.  (He seems to have misunderstood that term.  The mainstream is the rank and file.  It is the Tea party.  It is who voted for Trump in the primary).

    No matter the outcome, this election is the end of Goldberg’s ‘main stream’ running the party.  For better or worse, they had their chance, and were found incapable, untrustworthy, and elitist.

    • #90
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