Behind all the moral posturing, David French lays out the true motivation of #NeverTrump: the political calculation that a Hillary victory is in the self-interest of “conservatism” because a victory for Trump would send the TruCons into exile:
“No, the conclusion will be that the GOP has fundamentally changed — for this election cycle and at least the next. It will prove that it can win with candidates who are indifferent, at best, to conservative social values. It will prove that it can win with candidates who are in favor of ever-greater government intervention in national and international markets. It will prove that it believes that international retreat advances American national interests. Because, make no mistake, a triumph for Trump will be a triumph for “Trumpism” — the made-up “nationalist” ideology that bears far more resemblance to that of old-school southern Democrats than anything recognizably Republican.
In other words, a vote for Trump is a vote to send conservatism into exile, largely walled-off from both political parties, with the best hope for conservatives to beg for scraps at Trump’s table — now and in 2020. It is vitally important that Trump underperform versus truly conservative candidates. Conservative senators should receive a greater share of the vote than Trump. Conservative members of the House should swamp Trump’s share in their districts. Your vote is the only concrete way that you can send the message that the GOP should remain a party of conservative ideas, a party that demands that its candidates believe and advocate a set of basic conservative values — not because we adopt our own version of conservative political correctness but because those values are best equipped to foster human flourishing, cultural virtue, and national prosperity. …
The election of 2016 is lost. An unfit candidate is going to become president. How many more elections do you want to lose? A vote for Trump in 2016 is a vote against Cruz or Sasse or Rubio in 2020. A vote for Trump is a vote for a man so unfit that he may destroy the GOP not for one election cycle, but for an entire generation. In begging for four years, you may lose 20. …”
Let the record show: win or lose tomorrow, #NeverTrump will never be able to take back these words. One way or the other, the TruCons are going to be held accountable for their sabotage. They are going to pay a massive price.
If Trump loses because of these #NeverTrumpers, the 2016 campaign is going to look mild compared to what comes next. The war we launched against “conservatism” lasted all of nine months in the primaries. This scorched earth campaign will go on for years.