What exactly are the high ‘conservative’ principles of Romney and McCain that Trump has failed to express?
A few days ago David Limbaugh, a widely-syndicated Republican commentator (and Rush’s less fiery younger brother) posted a commentary intended to de-escalate the tensions between Trump’s supporters and the ‘never-Trumpers.’ Limbaugh defines himself as a ‘reluctant Trumper,’ who decided to support the Donald as the lesser of two evils after his preferred candidate Ted Cruz stumbled in the primaries. Limbaugh does not hide his dislike for Trump’s free-wheeling rhetoric and believes that the GOP nominee’s critics on the right may be fully justified in doubting his ‘genuine commitment to conservative policies.’
Despite these doubts, Limbaugh endorses Trump for reasons that one also hears from Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Larry Elder, and yours truly. Trump has ‘many incentives to implement our [conservative] policies,’ while Hillary Clinton has absolutely none. He is also, not incidentally, bestowing on the Republican Party a large working class constituency; and even among racial minorities, he is doing at least as well, and in the case of prospective black voters, better than his GOP centrist predecessors, Mitt Romney and John McCain. Moreover, it is hard not to see Trump’s focusing on the problems of illegals and sanctuary cities as anything other than a ‘conservative’ issue. That remains the case even if most of his primary competitors and certainly the editorial board of the Wall Street Journalmight wish those issues had never been brought into the primaries.
Although Limbaugh dutifully provides the reasons that someone claiming to be on the right should vote for Trump, he still can’t resist extolling the never-Trumpers. (Although they’re not my buddies, they may be his.) These supposedly principled conservatives deeply believe that ‘the best chance of saving the nation, in the long run, is to avoid elevating Trump to president and leader of the party because he could forever destroy conservatism and the Republican brand.’ Although Limbaugh concedes that some establishment Republicans may be found among these noble idealists, most of the never-Trumpers ‘shared our frustration’ about where the party was headed in the hands of unprincipled operators. Limbaugh closes his remarks with this statement: ‘I respect the never-Trumpers and will not presume to judge them as abandoning the nation’s best interests.’
This post was published at Lew Rockwell on September 17, 2016.