NeverTrump Makes a Left Turn

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 November 9, 2017|
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National Review in February 2016 published “Against Trump,” a special issue that made a reasoned case for why conservatives should oppose Donald Trump’s nomination as the Republican candidate for president. Nearly two-dozen conservative writers and influencers weighed in; most of them cogently—and correctly—explained that Trump was not a “true conservative.” He had supported progressive causes in the past (including abortion and single-payer health care), and did not possess the intellectual mooring that conservatives value. Some writers faulted Trump for his boorish, impulsive temperament and populist rhetoric.

It was a measured assessment by fair-minded people, some of whom—such as Cal Thomas and Thomas Sowell—have helped attract millions of devotees to the conservative movement. Young, energetic newcomers, including Ben Domenech and Katie Pavlich were also featured. Some highlights:

Ben Domenech (editor, The Federalist): “Conservatives should reject Trump’s hollow, Euro-style identity politics. But conservatives have far more to learn from his campaign than many might like to admit. The Trump voter is moderate, disaffected, with patriotic instincts. He feels disconnected from the GOP and other broken public institutions, left behind by a national political elite that no longer believes he matters.”

Mark Helprin (novelist): “He doesn’t know the Constitution, history, law, political philosophy, nuclear strategy, diplomacy, defense, economics beyond real estate, or even, despite his low-level-mafioso comportment, how ordinary people live.”

Katie Pavlich (editor, Townhall): “Trump’s liberal positions aren’t in the distant past—he has openly promoted them on the campaign trail. Conservatives have a serious decision to make. Do we truly believe in our long-held principles and insist that politicians have records demonstrating fealty to them?”

Of course, Trump went on to win both the nomination and the election. Several of the writers, grown-ups who love their country more than they love proving they were right, managed to move on in life, staying true to their conservative principles while praising and criticizing the president as the occasion warranted.

But a handful of other alleged conservatives, who joined forces before the general election to form the “NeverTrump” movement, saw an opportunity. Rather than keeping a much-needed policy check on an unpredictable president and gobsmacked Congress, they positioned themselves as “conservative” Trump foes, and, in the process, boosted their number of followers on social media and number of appearances on cable news shows.

People such as Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, and Bret Stephens have carved out a niche for themselves as the go-to source for reporters to get blistering commentary about Trump, or his administration, or his family, or his congressional allies, or his voters. Kristol’s number of Twitter followers has nearly tripled, as he churns out hourly rants that veer from impeachment pleas to far-fetched conspiracy theories on Russia, Mike Pence, and Trump’s inner circle. They promote the darkest narrative, not just of Trumpism, but of Republicans in general, mimicking the same, weary warnings Democrats have shrieked for decades—that Republicans are racist, sexist, homophobic, and plain stupid. These self-proclaimed guardians of America’s modern conservative legacy have ceased talking about anything of substance. They are as reactionary and emotive as high school sophomores.

It is all Trump, all the time. In the process, they have abandoned both their party and their principles.

This past week proves how unhinged, dishonest, and untethered to conservatism some NeverTrumpers have become. Not only are they backing away from a fundamental conservative belief—the constitutionally-protected right to bear arms (Stephens last month wrote a column supporting the repeal of the Second Amendment)—they rooted for, then celebrated, Ralph Northam’s gubernatorial win in Virginia.

Let’s start with the Democrats’ big win on Tuesday. On Election Day morning, Evan McMullin, Kristol’s handpicked puppet to challenge Trump as an independent last year, tweeted this:

(Side note: On what planet does this dullard have 400k “conservative” Twitter followers? Does he know he’s being used? That these people aren’t who they say they are?)

Kristol followed-up with a non-endorsement endorsement of Northam as well:

Kristol’s wife, Susan, donated to Northam’s campaign, and made no secret about her support for a candidate who wants to protect Obamacare, allow abortion-on-demand, and repeal concealed carry:

Jennifer Rubin, who has the gall to call herself a “conservative blogger,” and the Washington Post has the gall to present her as such, spent the past few weeks mocking prayer, demonizing the NRA, defending the estate tax, and smearing Ed Gillespie. In her post-election piece, Rubin wrote (I literally cannot stop laughing as I read it):

The mood of the country a year after Trump’s victory may not be as anti-government as some thought. Instead of unrelenting hostility toward government, verging on nihilism, we see voters going for pro-government candidates, even ones seeking to expand health care. You never know what you stand to lose until you look into the abyss and see the loss of a politically sane and functional government.

Do it with me: LOL

She wasn’t the only one dancing in the NeverTrump end zone. Kristol, Stephens, Rick Wilson, and other devoted NeverTrumpers posted and retweeted the election news in an “I-told-you-so” way that had nothing to do with conservatism and everything to do with political revenge. Fox News’s Brit Hume took notice of the celebration, and tweeted, “this is what the never-Trump movement is becoming—a cheering section against Republicans.” Stephens stepped up to defend his NeverTrump compatriots in what could be the most dishonest tweet of the day:

(Keep in mind, Stephens not only wants the Second Amendment repealed, he became a recent climate-change convert after years of calling it a sham.)

Hume fired back:

The fray was not unnoticed. Erick Erickson, a contributor to NR’s “Against Trump” issue, summed it all up: “I’ve wanted to say NeverTrump died with the election, but there really are Republicans now who’d cheer on the devil if Trump said he believed in God.”


So, where do these NeverTrumpers go from here? There seems to be a gradual split in the ranks and a recognition that the most fervent among them have lost their senses. There is also no compelling strategy to “take back” the GOP with any policy platform or candidate development effort. (The best they could do is come up with a letter to support Robert Mueller. Not exactly a winning message for 2018.)

Kristol is rooting for the implosion of the GOP because that’s what he predicted would happen if Trump was elected. With a history of poor political prognostication, Kristol is hell-bent on making sure the Republican Party pays the price for nominating and electing Trump, even if it means the other side, with its destructive agenda of progressive policies, wins. Kristol, Rubin, Stephens, are now de facto, if not actual, liberals. We should stop allowing them to get away with calling themselves anything but that; the media will rub them in our faces until we do.

 Soon, however, the Virginia election will be a memory, these NeverTrumpers’ social-media fist-bumping will end, and they will still be left with a president they detest, an electorate they ridicule, and lost integrity they won’t be able to recover.


About the Author:

Julie Kelly
Julie Kelly is a freelance writer in Orland Park, Illinois, where she covers food, agriculture, science, and politics for several outlets including National Review Online and The Federalist. Her work has also been published in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Hill and the Chicago Tribune.
  • BurkeanMama

    He lives rent free in their heads. How dare he get elected without their permission? The only person the NeverTrumper destroys, is himself.

  • DMalcolmCarson

    They’re just exposing themselves for what they’ve always been: progressives.

    • E. +Goldstein

      They are all ego, all the time. For Never Trumpers nothing is more important than the “Great Me..” Trump does not have near the ego of any of them.

  • My Providence grant us the favor of a future in which the NeverTrumpers are cosigned to the dust-bin of history.

    • Altalena

      Minute 14 and counting…

  • Redneck Redemption


  • TwoInchPattern

    Julie recognized the extreme lengths to which these Never Trumpers have prostrated themselves. They are now kissing the feet of the prince of darkness trying to sell their souls for a magic bullet that will take out the duly-elected POTUS. They should be banned from participating in all future GOP events.

  • The Grand Wizard
    • ca1


    • Altalena

      Sorry about the IQ/Nobel Prize thing. South Indians and Eastasians are ahead of you, too. So you got the shit end of the genetic stick. Not the end of the world. Happy Wal-Mart greetery!! BYE!!

      • D A

        East Asians and Ashkenazi yes…. south indian no.

        • Altalena

          🙂 Watch an American spelling competition. Not just Indians, but south Indians. The long surnames are often a giveway.

          • D A

            Meh ….. spelling competition ?

            There are smart folks in every demographic. I’m referring to the average IQ numbers. Whites…then East Asians….then Ashkenazi Jews. I am not either an East Asian nor an Ashkenazi btw.

          • Altalena

            The Ashkenazim are atop the list, by almost all measures, save that of walking down the street in Cambridge, MA, as I have… you could be in Seoul or Beijing. Can’t say for sure, but my guess is about 80% MIT students or young STEM grads working for the biotech companies. The Dravidian Indians are the new kids on the IQ block, so to speak, but IMO this is a matter of underexposure.

          • D A

            Dravidians ?….Not according to data. And Harvard is not a measure of anything but admissions agenda.

          • Altalena

            Are there studies that break this down between southies and, say, Kashmiris/Punjabis?

            Tamil IQ? Malayalee IQ? I found this, but of cpourse it’s anecdotal, not a study:


          • D A

            My understanding is that East Asian is a separate category from Caucasian which includes Indians, Kasnmiris. Malay would be included in the East Asian.

          • Altalena

            Wrong all the way through. Indians are south Asians.

            Malayalees are not “Malays”; they are Indians from the state of Kerala

          • D A

            I know the designation South Asian. It has nothing to do with genes. Indians are Caucasians in the broadest sense……Aryan /Vedic invasions-migrations and all that.
            I thought you meant Malaysians not Tamil Malaysians. Non Tamil Malaysians are a mix of Caucasians and East Asians.

          • Altalena


            I was not talking about either Tamil Malaysians or Malaysians of any sort. Malayalees are Malayalam-speakers from Kerala. Tamil Nadu is a separate state. I don’t know where or how you dragged in the other stuff from, and will do you the favor of not commenting on it.

          • D A

            You were unclear. Suffice it to say the Dravidians are not East Asians and are not included in their IQ demographic studies.

            Your thinking is muddled. I’ve noticed this with many atheists. And I myself am not even religious ….. more agnostic. But that gives me the advantage to view the religious mind with a certain detachment. And trust me atheism is a religion. It’s adherents display all the characteristics of religious zealotry.

          • Altalena

            You didn’t know the difference between Malayalees and Malaysians, nor do you know “its” from “it’s”. But, yeah, MY thinking is muddled.

            And yes, all atheists and indeed all religious skeptics “display all the characteristics of religious zealotry.” That’s a good one… those horrible atheists in Denmark and Finland, um, SAVED JEWS during the Shoah, while much of religious Europe couldn’t kill them rapidly enough. Any more brilliant pronunciamentos for the board today? “All people who are 6’4″ like chunky peanut butter,” perhaps? “All people from Ann Arbor hate old Fleetwood Mac albums,” mebbe? This is great stuff.

          • D A

            Yeah I already said I mistook Malayalees for Malaysians.

            You expose yet another difference …… folks like me are honest compared to Zealots like you. You known by your words and actions.

          • Altalena

            Actually, you were notably dishonest; you presumed to prattle on knowledgeably about something about which you were utterly ignorant. Zealotry and honesty are unrelated, and the evidence on which you call me a “zealot” (capital Z, yet, presumably for emphasis, and I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt there) is non existent. Everyone who has opinions is emphatically not a zealot, otherwise the term would apply to all humanity and be meanaingless.

          • D A

            I know about the studies relating demographics to IQ. Your “benefits” are irrelevant …… and even Irrelevant.

            You asked a question about demographics and then went on to include a microcosm sample which is more related to political agenda and admissions quotas then to scientific sampling. Which is irrelevant . You seam to have a predilection for such, making your own loci among the average of the studies I referenced.

            That along with the usual arrogance and ZEALOTRY which comes with highly charged religious Atheists.

          • Altalena

            Oh, so intelligence is irrelevant, and IQ scores do not correlate with future success. Also, the moon is made of Vegemite, and deer are fish.

            As for this “admissions quotas” stuff you raise, apparently you come from some alternate universe in which Jews, Eastasians and Indians are actively sought out by college admissions officers. Do you have children, much less children of college age?

            And, yes “zealotry” does indeed mean “having opinions,” just the same way “tall” means “being between 4’3″ and 5’5.” As for being “highly charged”, yes, I have synapses. So do you and so does the rest of humanity. As such, in your view, everyone is a zealous pantheistic high-IQ dumb Malaysian who gets a free ride at MIT due to anti-black admissions officers.

          • D A

            You’re dissembling and rambling now. Never a good sign. Recommendation is a cup of some kind of Tea….and a lie down.

          • Altalena

            No, I’m holding your ideas, such as they are, up to the cold, hard light of ridicule. If all of it sailed far over your head, I am not in the least surprised.

            But I already took your recommendation as to tea, though the lower-case version… specifically Snapple iced, raspberry. Just one of my many, um, zealotries.

          • CosmotKat

            This is largely the result not of intellectual superiority or inferiority, but rather the depth to which many of schools have sunk, and the hunger of those immigrants who came here for the American Dream. Gifted and ambitious Americans still exist in great numbers however; the state of our education and the hunger and ambition to pursue a better life is no longer as deeply embedded in the wealthy nation of the United States. Our poor live better than anywhere else in the world and this has tamped down the aspirations of many and you can trace this demise to be a direct result of the rise of the welfare state.

          • Altalena

            “…you can trace this demise to be a direct result of the rise of the welfare state.”

            Well, hey, that, erm, construction proves your own point. Bien fait!!

      • CosmotKat

        A detail that is hardly indicative of what you think it means, chump.

        • Altalena

          Translation: “Your a fag and I hait you.”

          • CosmotKat

            Are you having an identity crisis or just an emotional moment of serious self doubt?

          • Altalena

            Neither. Bye.

          • CosmotKat

            So, perhaps Eric Hoffer had you in mind when he wrote, “Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life.”

  • ca1


  • Sam McGowan

    Could it be that these people are only conservative in name only? Several of them are Jews and are much closer to progressivism than they’d ever admit publically. What they don’t understand is that voters not only don’t pay attention to them, most have never heard of them.

    • Shoelace Von Hitlerpants

      “… voters not only don’t pay attention to them, most have never heard of them…”
      LOVE IT! This is such a great point, and it saddens me to think that some elitists may NOT care if anyone listens to them…or has heard of them… or understands them…Solipsistic elitists?

  • StarTripper

    Kristol is a neo-con elitist, McMullin is a CIA Deep State flunky, and Stephens at the NYT so he can’t be conservative. That these Swamp Creatures hate Trump is not a surprise to anyone.

    • Call him a neo-con artist.

  • CL

    Wow, Ms Kelly. What a concise, eloquent summation of the Never-Tumpers’ attitude. Loved it..

    • Hopefully Ms. Kelly will be replacing somebody of these NeverDopers as a major conservative voice.

  • Peta Johnson

    Bill Kristol was a Henry “Scoop” Jackson supporter – a liberal Democrat hawk. Probably America’s greatest pubic intellectual, David Horowitz, also a Jew, has described Kristol as a “renegade Jew”. Kristol grew up as a Trotskyite. Kristol has just gone home to where he belongs – the Red Army.

    • Altalena

      Ever see Kristol and Bob Woodward in the same room together?

  • 84Cheetah

    They can repeal the 14th, 17th, 20th, and even the 13th and 23rd amendments. The government CANNOT repeal the 2nd amendment or any other of the 1-10 “Bill of Rights” amendments. The Country’s founders determined that 1-10 were “God given” rights of the citizenry; rights that the citizens had and and some that the citizens “allowed” the government to use.

  • BayouKiki

    I stopped listening to Kristol a long time ago

  • Number 6

    Spot on! Kristol and his ilk can go pound sand and go take a long walk off of a short pier. And please take Mr. Potato Head (Karl Rove) with you!

  • SamWah

    The Fifth Columnists STRIKE.

  • Doctor Bass Monkey

    It’s good that they were exposed for the frauds they were: people who found they could make a living proposing the GOP be Democrat-lite. Full blown Trump Derangement Syndrome is a sad thing to witness. The loss of NR from serious magazine to circle jerk of lunacy has been particularly disappointing.

  • Jayne

    Mystified by the N-T Republicans. It is funny, in a pathetically sad way, that one of the things I love about conservatives is their free thought, always weakens us politically. People on the left, as if sharing a single hive mind, always fall in line and never trashe their own. Therein lies a lot of their power.

  • Neo Conscious

    Follow the money to understand the never-Trumpers in the media.
    Trump’s Republican party threatens the big corporations and big-wig donors.
    Most journalists don’t live in the real world. However, they do live in places with very high expenses, so who can blame them for taking a job that pays better?

    • CosmotKat

      “Trump’s Republican party threatens the big corporations and big-wig donors.”

      I quibble only with the notion that Trump threatens big business. He wishes not to threaten them but enable them to be successful while attempting to level the playing field for the real drivers of new industries the small businesses and entrepreneurs.

      • Neo Conscious

        I agree with you. He doesn’t directly threaten them, but his immigration policies are causing wages to rise, and they don’t like to see that happen.

  • mind gorilla

    Kristol, Rubin Stephans…hmmm. I wonder what they have in common?

    • CosmotKat

      Deceit and duplicity which is an innate trait with these neo-cons.

  • itsy_bitsy

    Agreed! Kristol ceased being a Conservative a while back and he has now become a Democrat! He might as well register as one too! I will always refer to him as such from here on out! One thing is for sure though, he and his opinions do not deserve 5 minutes of discussion time. He may as well be kneeling on the football field while the National Anthem is being played or the Pledge of Allegiance is being recited, that’s how radical he has become.

    • bc3b

      A case can be made that Kristol was never a conservative. Wanting to see other people’s children and grandchildren killed in meaningless wars is hardly a conservative value.

  • ladychurchillusa

    Kristol always was and always will be an elitist snob who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. He is that republican who would clutch his pearls when Reagan called the Soviet Union the evil empire. He is everything that the republican party should walk away from and never ever look back. I became a republican because I was fairly certain that Reagan was the new republican party, the one that Trump has rediscovered, the one that cares about the country and her people more than ideology.

  • FlatCityGirl

    Kristol and the rest of that ilk still don’t have any understanding whatsoever of why Donald Trump is President; they can’t grasp that in large part they are responsible for his Presidency. They can not grasp what We, The Great Unwashed out here in the hinterland mean when we say “establishment Republicans.” If you come right down to it, they don’t have any real understanding of what a True Conservative is, and further [to quote Rush], Conservatism is not on the ballot this year [2016]. “The Establishment” is what was on the ballot, and We, The Deplorables understood that Conservatism didn’t stand a chance until the Establishment was banished.

    Drain the Swamp.

    To put Kristol in perspective, he has never really ever been a Conservative. He’s a Neo-Con.

  • Warrior1

    Well put Julie. They really are dirtbags, particularly the vile and loathsome kristol,rubin and flake. Stephens is just an opportunistic hack slimeball.

  • jfhdsiu

    The “never Trump-ers” were “NEVER Americans” first………….

    • bc3b

      Neocons are Israel first. Sad, but true.

      • jfhdsiu

        The glaring facts are that “never Trump-ers” are NOT for America. They are for ‘themselves’. “Never Trump-ers” were “never Americans” first and they AREN’T Americans in their hearts, minds and souls NOW. Whatever else they are aside from that doesn’t enter the equation…… I am speaking from the standpoint as an ‘American FIRST’. If they aren’t for America FIRST they aren’t Americans in their hearts. It’s so simple that even weak minded people can see it’s so. Provided they aren’t “never Trump-ers” themselves……..

  • Great article. Don’t forget Mona Charen as part of the unhinged NeverDopers.

  • Hugh Jazz

    Experts at nothing.

  • carl Jung

    The AmericanInterest, National Review, Cal Thomas, Thomas Sewell are all “clean hands conservatives”. As such they have accomplished exactly 0 as far as helping to solve America’s problems. While the man they think they are superior to (and manifestly are not) has accomplished so much in such a short time, in getting America back to health. As a marine captain told me once, “shit in one hand, and talk in the other, and see which one fills up first”.

  • Jon Carry

    There is no difference between the NeverTrumperTantrumists and Hillary supporters. They are Big Government leftist moonbats who scream helplessly at the sky.

  • MissScarletwithaRevolver

    Perfectly stated Julie. I have to say though, I am quite enjoying their distress.

  • bc3b

    The idea that neocons like the Kristols and Rubin were ever conservatives is laughable. Neocons are liberal globalists that became upset with the Democrats because they weren’t pro-Israel enough. They side with the Dems 80% of the time. Like Joe Scarborough, Bret Stephens will dance for whomever pays him well.

  • Herbert Robinson

    They hold the failure of Gillespie’s faux Conservative campaign to excite Virginia’s Trump supporting base as a sign that MAGA is a dead issue. The same is true of Alabama’s race, when the swamp dwelling Luther Strange proved unelectable the RINOs circled the wagons around a report from the disreputable Washington Post, magically appearing just before the election, to attempt to ensure another Democrat win. How can the never-Trumpers proclaim themselves pure” conservatives when they want a Democrat led socialist paradise?

  • CosmotKat

    What’s left out this article is lunatics like Max Boot and the neo-con crowd over at Commentary Magazine. Jon Podhoretz exemplifies the deceit and duplicity that has become the Jewish neo-con community at Commentary as does the three Amigos of Kristol, Stephens, and Rubin.

  • 57nomad

    The vast, vast majority of the citizenry at large, including Republicans have never heard of any of these bozos. Each and everyone of them is aboard The Midnight Train to Political Oblivion and they aren’t coming back. Meanwhile, the Deplorable Trump Train rockets into the future on the back of BOOMING Donaldnomiics.

  • bmarie55

    It’s so sickening that they sold themselves as true conservatives in the past and lectured the rest of us about ‘values’ we needed to protect only to abandon any pretense of values themselves when they saw a chance for power. Bill Kristol will not be ashamed of his leftist turn because he has lost all sense of shame, all narcissists do.

  • roastytoasty

    The ABC affiliate in Birmingham Alabama couldn’t find a single likely voter who believes the allegations against Judge Roy Moore. That’s gotta tellya something about the DC Neverland state of mind. The DC Swamp Dwellers are doing all the wrong things perfectly. It is a beautiful thing:

  • Severn

    There’s a huge amount of projection going on in neverTrump land. They themselves are what they claim to find objectionable about Trump – that is, they are ignorant bigots, animated by nothing more than the desire to hurt certain racial, ethnic, or social groups. In this they are identical to the left.

    where do these NeverTrumpers go from here? There seems to be a gradual split in the ranks and a recognition that the most fervent among them have lost their senses.

    I don’t think they have lost their senses, they’ve simply dropped the mask.. Most of these people were never conservatives in the first place, in fact they’ve hated conservatives since long before Trump came along. That’s been made much more obvious of late, but the signs were always there for anyone who bothered to look. Most of these so-called “conservatives” were big fans of George W Bush – the most unconservative Republican President ever to sit in the Oval office. They were also fans of Mitch Romney and John McCain, whose sins against conservatism are far too numerous to list here. And, to an extent which has not been acknowledged, they were fans of Barack Obama and his “fundamental transformation” of America. All of these people have attacked Trump with a ferocity which they never displayed towards Obama. In fact they were downright respectful and even admiring of Obama.

  • Good to see that from Erickson. There is one admission we need to hear from all of the #NeverTrump rump. Doesn’t #NeverTrump mean #4verHillary? Be like Beck and just flip. Be a proud Hillaroid. She could use the back-up.

  • Tommy Jeff

    Bill Kristol is a twat.

  • brianOO7

    Great piece, full of truths about neo-liberal former conservatives.

  • FreeMarketMaven

    They might get more listening if their attacks didn’t come across like just another way to marginalize us deplorables. With all that writing talent, they were unable to convince anyone outside of the choir to embrace conservatism. They could’ve used their “NeverTrump” fame as a platform to explain conservatism anew, but instead they aligned themselves with anti-American Resistors. Worse, they wilted against the inanities of the social justice warriors. I’ll keep reading Bret Stephens because he is a unique writer, solid defender of Israel and questioner of the climate change religion, but his suggestion to repeal the Second Amendment was a capitulation to Left and tyranny and a betrayal of constitutionally-grounded conservatism.