What's Next for #NeverTrump?

As the reality of an incoming Donald Trump administration sets in, several Christians and conservatives who refused to vote for him (or Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton), known as #neverTrumpers, are reiterating their feelings about Trump albeit with a variety of qualifications.

(Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks at election night rally in Manhattan, New York, November 9, 2016.

The Christian Post spoke with an evangelical millennial #neverTrump conservative, who was a Republican county caucus chair and worked in 3 states for Senator Marco Rubio's campaign during the primaries. Commenting on condition of anonymity, he did not mince words.

"Donald Trump has harmed the American conservative movement in ways Hillary Clinton could never have dreamed of doing," he said, noting that in supporting the president-elect voters have chosen populism over principle.

"Even if he implements some conservative policies — and who really knows what he'll do? — he still represents in many ways the antithesis of [#neverTrumper's] vision for a compassionate and inclusive Republican Party ... It isn't difficult for me to imagine the Trump administration crashing and burning, with principled conservatives who never endorsed Trump or only did so nominally rebuilding the party in the aftermath," he added.

Worse yet, the heavy support Trump received from white evangelicals has all but destroyed their witness, the source continued.

"Whether not you believe the fear and concern being expressed by minority communities in the wake of this election result is justified, Christians must take time to listen to them, understand their concern is real, care for those who are fearful, and introduce them to the perfect love that casts out all fear."

Already similar opposition is being expressed on social media in light of Donald Trump's unpredictable ways, particularly his communication habits on Twitter. Trump's often unseemly tweets significantly shaped the news coverage during the campaign and continues to do so well after Election Day.

In response to Jill Stein raising funds to spearhead recounts of the election results in key battleground states like Wisconsin, an effort Hillary Clinton's campaign said Saturday it has joined, President-elect Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon: "In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally."

"This is an unbelievable lie," responded #neverTrump conservative and National Review writer David French on Twitter, who noted in a subsequent tweet that Trump's bad policies could be checked but his nonsensical claims "will further damage our political culture."

French, whose family was ferociously attacked by alt-right white nationalists during the campaign, wrote Monday on National Review that "[u]nless Donald Trump significantly changes course, conservatives should get ready for a wild, inconsistent, and exhausting four years."

Trump's erratic behavior, he said, is reminiscent of the Clinton's high drama ways and it does not bode well for the future of principled conservatives.

"Republicans need to decide: Will they allow Trump to Clintonize the GOP, or will they use their influence to hold him accountable not just to the party's professed principles but also to basic standards of decency and good sense? If they don't, then we can see their political tomorrow. It looks a lot like Hillary's today," French said.

Yet others like Maggie Gallagher of the American Principles Project believe it's time for #neverTrump to move on. Trump had a movement behind him, #neverTrump never did, Gallagher argued in a Nov. 11 op-ed for National Review.

"The American people have picked a president, and we should leave the caviling and whining to the Left," she added. 

"For better or worse, Trump now defines what the Republican party stands for, we do not. The success of the GOP for the next generation depends on whether Trump can deliver on his big promise: to restore vigorous economic growth that lifts the well-being of average American families."

Independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin, for whom many #neverTrump conservatives voted and was once thought to be a spoiler in the event of a electoral tie were he to win heavily Mormon Utah, said in a Nov. 9 Facebook statement to supporters: "You put country before party. You stood with us when many would not. We are still standing and our work is now more important than ever. Onward."

In a Nov. 16 article Robert Tracinski, senior writer for The Federalist urged conservatives who objected to Trump to not make partisan excuses for him, remain the loyal opposition, and embrace the "task of educating people about the ideas of liberty." In an age where leftists ruthlessly enforce political correctness and conservatives either don't understand or care, it is the job of principled conservatives to continue the good fight, he said.

"The next four years will see ups and downs, most of which will be forgotten a decade from now. The cause of American liberty is much larger and endures. Our response to the Trump years should be to keep our focus on that larger cause," Tracinski said.

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