Well, #NeverTrump, here we stand. It is December 20, 2016, and Donald J. Trump is now officially the President-elect. The Electoral College has met, the votes have been cast, and the next President will be the Republican Party’s nominee.
And that is just something that will need to be accepted as we go into these next four years.
The time for opposition and defiance is over. The election is complete, and you got exactly what you knew you would get: a President that you did not want.
In many cases, it seemed that you opposed Donald Trump more than you opposed Hillary Clinton. And in some cases, I actually heard some people who called themselves politically conservative say that they would rather vote for her than for Trump.
No matter what Trump’s flaws are, and there are a great deal of them, that’s not something I find an acceptable alternative. But nonetheless, despite your opposition throughout the primaries and even the general election campaign, here we are.
So now the question is, where do we go from here? Now that you will have a President who you did not support, what do you do from here?
Take it from someone who did not support Trump at any stage of the campaign: be a constructive contributor, be someone who provides productive and useful commentary and criticisms of his policies. Let go of any bitterness you have, and for the good of the cause of liberty, seek to reconcile with those who did support Trump.
One thing that conservatives on both sides of the Trump debate need to realize is that we are not each other’s enemies. Just because one person opposed Trump and the other supported him does not mean that these two people should be enemies. That gets us nowhere. It only fuels dissension in our own camp, and gives the Left time to regroup for a counterattack.
And counterattack they will in 2020, with a vengeance never before seen. I guarantee it. We have four years to keep our unit cohesive despite a bitter divide that has grown among us. That divide must not grow any larger.
This issue is far bigger than just Donald Trump or this election. This goes to 2020 and beyond. This is the future of the limited government philosophy, and having a vehicle in which to operate. If we do not cease the bickering and finger-pointing, our forces will be divided and the Left will conquer once again.
It will be 2008 all over again, with a Democratic sweep and control of more levels of government. This is something that we must recognize, and in pursuance of preventing that, put aside such pettiness.
Now, let me be clear, I recognize that Trump is not a traditional conservative. He’s been a Clinton donor for years, supported a ban on “assault weapons,” and has supported government-run healthcare. Yet something in him changed, and he began to espouse more conservative-leaning beliefs.
However, he is still not a traditional conservative; he is a populist who played off of the waves of anger and frustration of millions of Americans, as many of them felt their country slowly slipping away during the Obama years (and they are right about that). And Donald Trump capitalized on that sentiment, and he won.
Now that he has won, we all must put aside the passions of the campaign season, and seek to reconcile with one another. Specifically, the Never Trumpers and the hardcore Trump base need to come to terms with each other. These are two important sects of the conservative part of the political spectrum.
Many of the Never Trumpers are intellectuals, many of the hardcore Trump supporters are blue collar workers of ordinary means and lifestyles. Both are important, in different ways, but necessary to the conservative movement.
We need the intellectuals to argue in the halls of power, and in the media, and we need the working class to spread that message to the everyday people, and to hit the polls on election days.
There must not be an irreconcilable variance between the two, for if a divide continues to grow between the Trump core and the Never Trumpers, conservatism will die a slow and painful death in this republic, maybe only to survive in a few locations, but never to return to its desired prominence.
This will require humility and graciousness on both sides. The accusations of “traitor,” and “cultist,” and “globalist cuck” need to stop, NOW. Every insult hurled only drives the wedge deeper and deeper, and coming back together when it matters will be all the more difficult.
In essence, this message is written to both sides, but mostly to the Never Trumpers. I was in your camp for a long time. Even after Trump was nominated, I still did not support him. I did not actively oppose him, but I did not actively support him either.
However, now that he will be our President, I want to contribute what I can to his governance, so that he will be a good President, one who will carry out the law properly. Am I skeptical about what he will do? Sure, but I am not wishing ill on him.
I will call him out when he is wrong, and will work to contribute positively to the national dialogue. He needs those who are ardent lovers of liberty to correct him when he is wrong. But when he is right, I will laud him and recognize it.
I strongly recommend, for the future of the limited government, liberty-minded philosophy, that we put aside our bitterness and anguish, and work to bridge the gap that this campaign season created. It is the only way that the principles you so strongly stand for can ever be realized.
The time has come to stop the fighting in the camp, lay down our weapons, and promote peaceful and constructive relations with all conservatives (and us libertarians who are in the mix as well). It is the only way forward that will be of any good for repairing our broken republic.