Most respectable conservatives I know who were lumped in as “NeverTrumpers” recognized, as I did, that the label was officially dead the moment that Trump won the presidency. Given that the title meant by definition a principled decision to never support Trump in his 2016 campaign for the presidency, it had to be null the moment that campaign ended (either in victory or defeat). As I wrote about a long time ago, “Never Trump” never meant a refusal to ever support a policy, statement, order, or effort in his presidency.
This has been the understanding of men like Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, Erick Erickson, and Ben Shapiro.
Still, there appear to be some holdovers from the original group who never got the memo that the election has ended and it’s far more useful to support Trump when he does good things, and oppose Trump when he does bad things, then it is to blindly oppose anything and everything the President touches.
Conservative professor and author Tom Nichols is one of those guys. Nichols loathes Trump and is committed to resisting his presidency, even in the area where Trump is performing perhaps most admirably to this point: the judiciary. Almost inexplicably, Nichols seemed to be leading a charge against the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“Republicans are the new Democrats: determined to get via the courts what it cannot achieve at the ballot box, at any price, ignoring any principle. The GOP of 2018 has internalized the lessons of the culture wars in the 1960s and 1970s and has become the thing it fought against.”
Frankly, I’m not really sure what Tom is talking about. Actually, I’m not sure that Tom even knows what Tom is talking about. Republicans dominate state legislatures, state governorships, both houses of Congress, and the presidency. They have owned the ballot box and are capable of advancing whatever legislation they can unify enough to advance, whether at the state or federal level.
Conservative determination to secure a safe majority on the highest court in the land isn’t born out of a desire to legislate from the bench, it’s born of a desire to prevent the bench from legislating. The right doesn’t need the Supreme Court to advance their agenda; the public has voted for it. The right needs the Supreme Court to prevent the tyrannical undermining of that agenda by judicial activists on the left.
Everyone knows that, including Tom and others who feel compelled to oppose everything Trump does. I’m not sure what they see as the benefit of this kind of silly rhetoric – either for the cause of conservatism, the security of constitutional order, or their own standing amongst staunch conservatives who (like them) don’t particularly care for Trump, but who can certainly appreciate his critical contribution to good government with the Kavanaugh appointment.