The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump Supporter Logic, Explained

Whenever I write against Donald Trump, I get dozens of replies that go something like this, “Did you see what McConnell and the GOP did yesterday? That’s what ‘principled conservatism’ brought us. Now it’s time for Trump.” I must confess that I wonder if intelligent, rational people are making this argument in good faith.

Here seems to be their reasoning: If I’m opposed to Mitch McConnell’s actions (which I often am, though I also know he and House leaders have done a great deal of good) — then rather than seeking to persuade him to change course and supporting politicians and primary opponents who I believe are both principled conservatives and men of integrity, I should cast my lot with a demagogue who — as I’ve said before — combines old-school Democratic ideology, a bizarre form of hyper-violent isolationism, fringe conspiracy theories, crass personal insults, and serial lies with an enthusiastic flock of online racists to create perhaps the most toxic electoral coalition since George Wallace.

Umm, no. While I’m often frustrated by GOP leadership (the weak response to AFFH and to Obama’s lawless transgender edict representing the latest examples), the idea that we should destroy their influence for the sake of elevating a far more liberal, ignorant, and dishonest human being to the height of American power strikes me as virtually insane. It would be like Lincoln firing his previous commanders and replacing them not with U.S. Grant but with Bill the Butcher.

To be clear, I’m not talking to those people who despair of the choice between Trump and Hillary and are making themselves vote for Trump. I’m instead talking about his core supporters, the people who didn’t just enthusiastically buy his con, they helped sell it to the rest of us. Many of them had previously spent years calling out RINOs and defining true conservatism. And now I’m either with their man — when not even they truly know where he stands – with the “establishment,” or with Hillary. I’ll stand on my ideas, instead. I don’t have to make their false choice. 

David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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