Requiem for a movement?


Donald Trump all but officially clinched the 2016 Republican nomination for president when Sen. Ted Cruz bowed out last night after a crushing loss in the Indiana primary. Bernie Sanders upset Hillary Clinton to keep his campaign alive, but because Democrats assign delegates proportionally, he gained little ground in the delegate chase.

Politico reports that Sen. Elizabeth Warren wasted no time in launching an assault on the presumptive Republican nominee, “hitting him with a blistering late-night tweetstorm in which she cast the presumptive Republican nominee as a racist with a dangerous authoritarian streak.” She defined the challenge ahead both for herself and the country:

Warren is not the only one. Republicans are already declaring they will not support Trump. A Republican foreign policy expert from the American Enterprise Institute tells Think Progress:

“If a conservative emerges that approaches foreign policy in a principled, coherent manner, and that understands and values the important role that America plays in world affairs, I will support them,” he wrote in a text. “Otherwise, I have faith that Clinton’s foreign policy would align with what I’m looking for, and she would have my vote.”

Philip Klein, the conservative Washington Examiner’s managing editor tweeted:

Perhaps the most dramatic response came in the form of a mea culpa posted to Red State Monday night, nearly 24 hours before Indiana polls closed. “Donald Trump is my fault as much as anyone else’s,” wrote Ben Howe. He built alliances with people with whom he fundamentally disagreed out of expedience:

I justified it quietly to myself the way we had at the beginning of the tea party when such things would happen. People would say outlandish things and I would find myself nodding my head and awkwardly walking away, not calling them out for their silliness.

After all, there were more pressing matters.

And so, as I said, I kept quiet about these allies in new media and in Washington. People who I thought I agreed with only 70% of the time. Which normally is a great reason to consider someone an ally, but not when the other 30% is cringe-inducing paranoia and vapid stupidity.

I chose peace over principle. I chose to go along with those I disagreed with on core matters because I believed we were jointly fighting for other things that were more important. I ignored my gut and my moral compass.

The result is that, almost to a man, every single person I cringed at or thought twice about, is now a supporter and cheerleader of Donald Trump.

It is perhaps too early to write the requiem for the conservative movement. Conservatism can never fail. It is only failed by people who were never really true conservatives. True conservatives will construct a stirring counter-narrative about how they were stabbed in the back once again by false ones who, as the Jesus-Only people believe, should be condemned to hell on a technicality because they failed to get the right baptism.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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