NOTE: A version of this commentary was published by Chronicles magazine.
With Trump’s resounding victory in Indiana, the forces denoted by the Twitter hashtag #NeverTrump should fold up shop and accept the voters’ choice.
Some of them will. Senator Ted Cruz had the sense to realize that his play to deny Donald J. Trump a first-ballot victory in Cleveland would find even less favorable ground in New Jersey and California. We’ll see how many of the foot soldiers follow suit.
But the money side of #NeverTrump vows to fight on, even in the wake of Indiana: “The biggest anti-Trump super-PAC, Our Principles PAC, said it will continue pushing to force a contested convention as long as Trump remains short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination outright.” Our Principles PAC reportedly has a $2 billion war chest provided by Wall Street heavyweights with one mission: stop Trump. The venom exuding from this self-appointed pseudo-elite is more of a commentary on them than on Trump.
The question is, why are they so determined to undermine the presumptive GOP standard-bearer?
For a tiny but influential (and very wealthy) subgroup lurking under the #NeverTrump rubric, the answer is simple: they want to ensure that Hillary Rodham Clinton and her sex predator husband move back into the White House in January. Beltway Brahmin George Will and neoconservative ideologue Max Boot (settling for Hillary because Stalin is unavailable) have said as much.
There’s no mystery here. The Brahmins, neocons, and plutocrats are the #NeverTrump Who Know Why They Do What They Do.
For this faction, Trump is perceived as a threat to the bipartisan oligarchy whose wealth, power, and privileges depend on uncontrolled borders, globalized trade, and endless wars. The nomenklatura of the U.S. Deep State still hopes to throw Cleveland into chaos by denying Trump a first-ballot win, splitting the GOP, and offering up some luckless victim (until Indiana maybe Ted Cruz) as the Designated Loser. Or, failing that, if Trump does prevail, to have poisoned enough minds against him to cripple him in November.
With regard to this faction, there is little to be said. They are irredeemable enemies of the historic American nation. They cannot be appealed to, they can only be defeated and their snouts yanked out of the trough they’ve been slopping at for decades.
The mystery has been the motivations (in the plural, since they seem to have myriad reasons) of the other, more numerous faction of #NeverTrump, who now face a hard choice. These are overwhelmingly dedicated Republicans, often religious, Middle Class social conservatives, who don’t like Trump because (choose one or more of the following): he’s a liberal Democrat in sheep’s clothing, not a real, Constitutionalist, small-government, “Movement” conservative; he’s going to lose big time to Hillary (look at the polls!); he’s said lots of things to offend lots of people, and we can’t have someone that rude in the Oval Office. These are the ones who have been using every procedural tactic in the book to secure as many delegates as possible for Ted Cruz on a second ballot at a contested Convention, for example in the adroit heist of 10 of 13 at-large delegates for Cruz in Virginia, a state Trump won in the primary.
What has this other, much larger group been hoping to accomplish? This is where they have proved to be the #NeverTrump Who Don’t Know Why They Do What They Do.
What these people have intended to achieve is fulfillment of a desperate wish. They have wished that someone else more to their liking could secure the GOP nod and then whup Hillary in the fall.
If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. The fact is, there was no way their wish was going to come true. If, in the unlikely event Trump is denied 1,237 delegates by July, there is no way any alternative can be installed without incurring the just accusation by pro-Trumpers that they wuz robbed. Even if Trump were copasetic with that outcome (not likely . . .), his followers would erupt. The scenario of the moneyed #NeverTrump Who Know folks would become inevitable: Hello President Hillary.
The irony is, the design of Those Who Know can only succeed with the unwitting assistance of Those Who Don’t. Can the latter be reasoned with? The more decent if not necessarily more clever members of #NeverTrump Who Don’t Know need to wake up to the fact that they are following an agenda set by those like Our Principles PAC who consciously intend exactly the harm conservatives most seek to avoid and are using them to that end.
They now need to start using their brains, not just their hearts.
Jim Jatras, [email him] is a former US diplomat and foreign policy adviser to the Senate GOP leadership. In September 2015, he became the only announced prospect for the Republican vice presidential nomination. However, with his endorsement of Donald Trump in March 2016 and Mr. Trump’s locking up the GOP nomination on May 3, Jatras has ended his Vice Presidential interest until at least 2020, and will welcome whomever Mr. Trump picks for the second spot on the ticket. Jatras comments on financial and foreign policy topics and on U.S. politics in his publication TheJIM!gram.
“TheJIM!gram” Copyright © 2016 Jim Jatras. All rights reserved.