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Outsiders vs. Insiders: It’s about time we ask: what would satisfy #NeverTrump's concerns?

It could be said Donald Trump takes controversy with him everywhere he goes.

The lifelong real estate tycoon, reality TV celebrity and tabloid fixation created waves when he announced his run for president three years ago last month. For years Trump flirted with seeking the world’s highest profile job GDP Growthbut no one really took him seriously. People thought he was bluffing or wanted to inflate his already oversized profile or simply sought to antagonize the many folks he’d tweaked over the decades by saying mean things about them in the political realm.

The New Yorker always appeared more preoccupied with his playboy image and catchphrases like “You’re fired!” than wading into the very haughty business of politics.

When Trump did formally declare his intentions most Americans thought it was a publicity stunt. Flame-throwing radio host Michael Savage featured Trump as a guest on his program many times but a celebrity voicing political views isn’t exactly rare – and they almost never carried through with a threat to run. Sure, Arnold Schwarzenegger used his famous name and signature accent to contend for and win the governor’s seat in California and former pro wrestler Jesse “The Body” Ventura rode a populist wave to the same office in Minnesota.

Besides, Trump looked to be riding anger as his driving force – and that’s not a legitimate motivator. Donald Trump and the presidency? No way.

Such was my initial reaction to Trump – and also those whose opinions I most respect around me. There were already several credible conservatives in the 2016 GOP primary race, so I figured why bother listening to Trump’s populist hot air when he was probably only a flash-in-the-pan anyway? Trump wasn’t a principled conservative, nor could he realistically side with the establishment (who hated him immediately). He was just a distraction that would fade soon enough.

But the polls indicated otherwise. Trump’s strong standing with the public allowed him to take center stage for the first Republican debate in August (2015) and he never relinquished the lofty position despite a multitude of insults and verbal flubs along the way, mistakes that would’ve permanently sunk other candidates in “normal” times.

Then when it became evident Trump might actually win the party nomination, a number of conservatives and Republicans declared they would never support him under any circumstances, even if he were on the ballot in November. These outliers wouldn’t necessarily choose Hillary Clinton instead -- but they also vowed not to bend and come over to Trump’s side, no matter what. Trump was uncouth; he was a liberal in Republican clothing; he bashed on the Bush family; he was a bad example for kids… the excuses abounded.

Things were said. Bridges were burned. Friendships were ended. Reputations were ruined. It was ugly. The #NeverTrump political suicide mission was launched and it wasn’t certain if it could ever be slowed – or even if it would register on the radar screen.

The election came, Trump won and some of the #NeverTrumpers begrudgingly accepted the result and agreed to at least back him and comment objectively on his presidency (Erick Erickson comes to mind). Others remained steadfast in their opposition. Never means never. Liberals accepted these lost souls under their tent as anti-Trump mouths, but Democrats never fully adopted them.

#NeverTrumpers are now in no man’s land. And Trump’s biggest senate critics (including a couple red state Democrats) are also the most unpopular members of the upper chamber. It turns out there’s no political benefit to constantly complaining about a winner.

W. James Antle III reported last week in the Washington Examiner, “The five least popular senators, according to a Morning Consult poll, have all clashed with President Trump.

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leads the list with a 30 percent approval rating while a staggering 56 percent disapprove. Frequent Trump foil Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., comes next at 30 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval.

“Perhaps more surprisingly, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has a 42 percent approval rating while 46 percent of Arizonans disapprove of his job performance. The next two are incumbents Trump and the GOP are actively targeting for defeat in November. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., stands at 40 percent approval and 44 percent disapproval. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is deadlocked at 44 percent apiece.”

Antle’s piece demonstrates how being exceedingly disparaging of Trump isn’t a worthwhile means to win over skeptical people – even if they’re members of the same party. Clearly Mitch McConnell isn’t anti-Trump or #NeverTrump, yet he’s still unpopular. But Flake and McCain have made it a virtual crusade to attack the president on a personal level and also let it be known they’ll never be swayed no matter what Trump does. You also won’t see either of them out expressing contrition to the media and begging forgiveness for being wrong.

Which begs a question: if you’re a politician (where opinions matter) and whacking the president doesn’t buy love with the voters, why keep doing it? Isn’t the old saying “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”? If you’re a Republican and Trump advances the party’s cause in just about every way possible wouldn’t it make more sense to be part of the revelry rather than wait outside and sulk?

Or if you’re a Democrat in a red state (like McCaskill and Heitkamp) shouldn’t you be emulating former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (in 2012) and invite the president to your place for a well-publicized stroll in a beautiful setting that ends with a hug and a pat on the shoulder?

Can’t some people just let bygones be bygones? How about burying the hatchet? Take a different path? Tomorrow is another day?

Not to #NeverTrumpers. One can almost understand why most Democrats play up the Trump hatred – they have to in order to please their radical donors and rabid leftist base. But why must Republicans do the same? It serves them no purpose whatsoever, especially since Trump is in office for at least two more years, the majority is theirs and there’s a real opportunity to do something positive for the country.

Why reject the party just because of Trump? Why have some #NeverTrumpers even advocated voting for Democrats to “stop” Trump? Thankfully not all #NeverTrumpers feel this way. David French thinks his fellow Trump holdouts should still vote Republican this November.

French wrote at National Review, “It is simply a mistake to obsess over Donald Trump and to base your political decisions entirely around his presidency. Like every American president before him, he is but passing through. Treating each election as an emergency is poisoning our politics. Our national destiny hinges not so much on the outcomes of individual elections but rather on longer-term cultural trends. Taking the long view exhibits greater wisdom and understanding of the nation we love than ‘charging the cockpit’ every time the polls open.

“For example, I find it fascinating that many of the same people who told me that all of America was at stake in 2016 now are laughing that Trump has ‘dismantled the Obama legacy’ in a grand total of 18 months of the first term of his administration. Which was it? Were 200 years of history at stake? Or was Obama so inconsequential that a few executive orders (and a congressional statute or two) could erase most of his work?

“Nationally, Democrats are responding to the Trump by moving left, by moving farther from my political values. How could I possibly urge my fellow conservatives — especially my fellow Christian conservatives — to reject conservative Republicans of good character to chase a party that is running away from them? And even in states — such as Tennessee — where the Democrats have selected more moderate candidates, it’s still unwise to reject a good conservative for the sake of sending a message to Donald Trump.”

French touts the virtues of GOP senate candidate and fellow Tennessean Marsha Blackburn, a fervent Trump supporter who’s being seriously challenged by a so-called “moderate” Democrat (former two-term former governor Phil Bredesen). French doesn’t believe his fellow #NeverTrump brethren should disdain people like Blackburn just because they like Trump.

How big of him. In his piece French reiterates he won’t vote for Trump in 2020 (unless the president has a complete “character transplant”) yet he’ll still support worthwhile conservatives in all other races. I’m guessing most #NeverTrumpers feel as French does – but it’s saying something that a guy like him has to come right out and say it: vote for the best conservative candidate even if they’ll help Trump’s cause when in office.

French seems like a good man despite his stubborn – and incorrect – preoccupation with Trump-the-man’s flaws over the policy aims of his fellow conservatives and Republicans. If Trump is doing a good job, which he is, and nearly nine-in-ten Republicans like him, which they do, it shouldn’t take a leap of faith to confess that it’s okay to vote for pro-Trump candidates – or Trump himself.

There’s an old saying in golf that the ball doesn’t know who’s hitting it – meaning a ball doesn’t favor any particular golfer over another. If you strike the golf ball well it doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro or a first-timer. Golf balls don’t discriminate.

In politics the concept is similar. When you go into the voting booth no one else knows who you’re voting for. If you’re a #NeverTrumper and vote for Republicans (despite their support for Trump) not only will other #NeverTrumpers not know the difference, you’ll be advancing your own cause. Assuming you approve of the party agenda it makes no sense to vote for anyone but the candidates who will further it.

It's a no brainer. Duh. Don’t aid the enemy. Wouldn’t it make you a traitor if you did?

Perhaps not but it could also be said you’re a fool if you do. J. Christian Adams wrote at PJ Media, “[T]he Never-Trumpers seem to be driven by something deeper, by some psychological tick.  Perhaps it is a bad memory from childhood, a playground ruffian who laughed at the adolescent intellectuals-to-be.

“For some of the Never-Trumpers, they are angry their Washington gravy-train ended when Jeb(!) was reduced to political rubble by Trump’s sharp blows. Some Never-Trumpers are upset they don’t have jobs and influence anymore. They want to manage and manipulate the federal leviathan just like liberals do, just better. They wish it was 2003 forever...

“They do this because they don’t like Trump personally. He triggers them. That’s why they’ll team up with the most radical Hollywood leftists to undermine one of the most conservative, pro-Constitution presidents since Coolidge left office.”

In his piece Adams discusses #NeverTrumpers who are effectively teaming with radical entertainment industry leftists to attack Trump and wonders why they’d cross the line. Adams quotes conservative Emmett Tyrell who thinks #NeverTrumpers have become so irrelevant they’ll soon be museum pieces. That’s a good way to put it.

With Trump’s job performance standing the test of time there’s no credibility to be gained with conservative audiences by continuing to “resist” the administration along with the likes of Maxine Waters and the bevy of Hollywood losers who snipe from afar without reason or consequence. These people are shooting themselves in the proverbial foot and will be gathering dust with other Trump opponents in due time.

Tyrell wrote at The American Spectator, “The self-styled conservatives who reflexively oppose the Trump Administration are increasingly in danger of becoming political curiosities, museum pieces.

“Come to think of it, now would not be a bad time to establish a proper site for the Never Trumpers’ museum. I would suggest Peach Bottom, Pennsylvania. It is a bit out of the way, being situated in an idyllic spot along the Susquehanna River, but it abounds with history. In 1789 it was nominated to be the capital of the United States. It failed to make the cut, but how different our history might be if President Franklin Roosevelt had conducted World War II from Peach Bottom. Peach Bottom might be an excellent place for Never Trumpers to contemplate life without Donald Trump.”

Yes, #NeverTrumpers may very well find themselves in an empty field picking daisies in the near future. Unless Trump suddenly loses his senses, he can’t help but succeed – almost everyone’s terrified of him – and the ones who aren’t are brainless. Who would’ve thought?

Conservatives didn’t know what to think when Donald Trump ran for president but now that he’s established himself as a capable chief executive, the prospects for the GOP look promising. As for his #NeverTrump opponents the future is less clear; their days in exile may just be beginning.

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