My vote doesn’t matter, but keeping a clear conscience does.
Dear Reader (In particular, my truly Dear Readers. You’ll see what I mean.), So, I’m back. Contrary to rumors of some sort of rapture-like event where the anti-Trump Remnant vanished in the blink of an eye (“What happened to Rich Lowry? He was here a second ago. His coffee is still hot and all his cats are confused”), I was merely on the National Review Danube cruise. A great time was had by all, mostly.
NR Cruises are special things. They are filled with friends of National Review, often lifelong friends. No one who hates the magazine plunks down that much hard-earned money to spend a week drinking, eating, and touring with its writers and editors (and other passengers who are fans of the magazine). As a result, nearly all disagreements are like family disagreements.
And so it was an interesting focus group, a kind of microcosm of what is happening across the conservative movement. There were some true Trumpers and anti-Trumpers, but there were many more people who simply think supporting Trump is making the best of a bad situation. I understand that position and I have sympathy for it. Indeed, despite the harping, carping, and barking claims from bullying party hacks and Twitter pests, the truth is I really don’t have much of a problem with normal Republican voters who feel they have to make a choice between two less-than-perfect-options.
As an institution, National Review has different priorities. As Rich Lowry explained on the boat, we have a sense of custodial obligation to the conservative movement. The dilemma for us isn’t simply, “What should I do with my vote?” it’s, “What should we say and write?” That’s why in 1960 we didn’t endorse Kennedy or Nixon, because neither candidate met the bar we set for a conservative candidate. Sometimes we grade on a curve, but sometimes the curve can only be bent so far. I’m sure most of the editors voted for one or the other. But who cares about that?The Airing of the Grievances
So if I don’t have major beef with the conservative voters struggling to figure out what to do in the Era of Trump, whom do I have a problem with? Well, here is a short field guide.
The Benighted. These are mostly decent people who, from early on, really thought Donald Trump to be a man well-suited for the job of president. As a generalization I don’t think these people are evil or bigoted. Basically, I just think they’ve been conned by a conman.
The Alt-righters. The less said about these creatures, the better. Mostly composed of Twitter and comment-section trolls, this coprophagic phylum is convinced Trump is the tip of the spear of some new white-nationalist takeover of the party and the country. They think it’s hilarious to bait Trump’s critics with Klan-vintage racism and Nazi-style anti-Semitism. Probably my biggest complaint about the benighted is the degree to which they make apologies for the bigots or don’t care that the bigots speak in their name.Read the rest of Goldberg's op-ed HERE.
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