I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been faced with the realistic possibility that I won’t be able to vote for the Presidential nominee of the party I favor. Most of us have been faced from time to time (maybe even most of the time) with the “lesser of two evils” choice. And I suppose, in a way, planting one’s flag on #NeverTrump Island is a form of that, as well. But it surely raises questions (and sometimes on social media – blind fury) from those who think he’s just peachy, and even from those who think he’s not, but still preferable to a Hillary Clinton (or substituted Democrat of your choice) Presidency. So, to the extent that it matters at all, I have some answers.
1. How can you say you’ll never vote for Trump when even his primary opponents (Cruz, Kasich & Rubio) say they’ll support him if he’s the nominee?
Hey, I’ll admit it – there was a part of me last night during the debate that hoped Rubio, or at least one of the non-Trumps, would boldly declare his refusal to support Trump on principle, but I’m a fairly pragmatic person when it comes to politics. The downside to doing so likely outweighed the upside. First, as Cruz rightly pointed out, they did all sign a pledge to support the nominee, so refusal to do so would be brought up repeatedly as evidence of their willingness to go back on their word. Second, as Rubio rightly pointed out, the Democratic alternatives really aren’t palatable. Third, while it appears likely Trump will be the nominee, he doesn’t have it yet. Thus, agreeing to support him if he is the nominee doesn’t mean agreeing not to continue fighting tooth and nail to prevent that from happening. So, no, I can’t find much fault with their answers. And I was gratified that Trump’s answer was that he, too, would support the nominee, even if it isn’t him.
That doesn’t change my stance. Because my #NeverTrump stance isn’t predicated on my support for Rubio (or Cruz or Kasich.) As I explained the other day In Defense of Marco Rubio and the #NeverTrumps, I was #NeverTrump before he even entered the race, and long before I settled on Rubio as my preference. And that Rubio is my preference does not translate into me thinking he hung the moon or can do no wrong. I don’t agree with everything he says and does. He’s a political candidate and a human being. Not a deity. Further, despite having selected Rubio as my choice, I’m #NeverTrump, not #AlwaysRubio or #OnlyRubio. I can (and will) support any of the other remaining candidates.
That’s how I can say I’ll never vote for (or support) Trump, regardless of what Rubio or Cruz or Kasich say or ultimately do.
2. How would you feel if someone started up a #NeverRubio movement?
Well, again, as I stated in my prior piece, I’d raise an eyebrow, shake my head, and possibly question the rationale behind it, but I wouldn’t berate them for it. If someone feels that strongly about opposing Rubio, then no, they shouldn’t vote for him or support him. That said, if the only motivation for doing so is to counteract the #NeverTrump movement, I’m not certain how successful it would be. First, it’s derivative. Second, it’s inaccurate unless one means that they won’t support or vote for him no matter what. Most people I’ve seen voice support for other candidates have said they could vote for Rubio in the General if it came to that. But, hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.
Lastly, as I tweeted out yesterday, “A criticism of your preferred candidate =/= a personal affront to you. If you take it that way, you may want to reassess perspective.” I wouldn’t be pleased with such a campaign (obviously!) but I wouldn’t take it personally. It’s not about me. I’m not Rubio, and he is not the vessel for all my hopes and dreams.
3. Are you okay with the RNC stealing the nomination away from Trump?
No. Not if it means monkeying with the rules as currently written. The odds of a brokered convention seem to be increasing. This piece and the prior ones linked therein set out the nitty gritty of how that might play out. It’s complicated and complex, and I haven’t fully wrapped my brain around it, but if it would take a sudden rule change in order to block Trump, I’m not on board with that. It doesn’t make much sense for me to take a (somewhat controversial) stance on principle, then turn right around and dismiss notions of proper process and fair play. I’m not an ends-justify-the-means person. Or, at least, I strive mightily not to be.
Regardless, I came to an unfortunate realization yesterday – the damage is already done. Not that there won’t be more – I’m sure there will. But the divide between the factions on the right has bubbled up to the surface, and I don’t believe it can be repaired in this election cycle. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised. This has certainly been a season like no other.