One of the more unpleasant features of the fall campaign has been the hectoring effort by pro-Trump voices on the Right – many of whom were not on Trump’s side during the primaries – to focus fire on “Never Trump” conservatives for standing on principle instead of voting “anyone but Hillary,” while the same conservatives are simultaneously attacked from the left for not voting “anyone but Trump.” Jonah had an excellent response to the latter in an interview with Slate the other day.
One of the more vitriolic critics of “Never Trump” from the Right has been the pseudonymous and always acid-tongued Ace of Spades, long one of my favorite reads even when I disagree with him. Ace went so far in a recent post as to argue that “Never Trump” resistance makes him want to go back to being a Democrat:
... Now, I have my own litany of rational arguments for continuing to refuse to support Trump (or Hillary), many of which overlap with Jonah’s, and my share of grievances with those who abetted Trump’s nomination, and I won’t repeat those all again here. By contrast, given how awful the available choices are, I have no intention of begrudging anyone on our side who has decided to vote Trump, or Hillary, or Gary Johnson, or Evan McMullin, or write in a candidate (heck, go ahead and vote Jill Stein if you just want to make trouble). As Noah Rothman notes, we’ll all need each other again after November 8 (we need each other before then to hold the Senate), and the opportunities for purges that aren’t counterproductive for the movement will be pretty limited.
Ace is appealing to the most elemental arguments of tribalism and party loyalty: there is Us and there is Them, and we should always vote for Us. Part of this is his view that a Trump Administration would use the machinery of government only against Them, not Us.
Neil Stevens argues that Ace is buying into a dangerous tribalist instinct that many of Trump’s primary supporters brought over from their old home in the Democratic Party, and I agree that this is not how we should look at politics in a constitutional republic. That said, there is a strong argument, if you believe in political coalitions, for voting for all of your party’s candidates for every office, no matter how much you personally dislike or disagree with them, except in the most unusual or extreme of cases. (I once voted for a literal blood-drinking pagan for City Council – and he won, and promptly got indicted for selling access to the GOP primary to Democrats). If the GOP nominee in this election was someone in whom I had very little confidence, or with whom I had serious disagreements – George Pataki, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul – I would almost certainly still be voting for them, because they are Us, and I respect the need to let different factions take their turn at the front of the bus if we’re all going to stay on the same bus route. ---Read Dan McLaughlin's full op-ed HERE.
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