You know the old expression: “On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you put…”
That precedes a request to “rate” something. However, the question is incorrectly posed. Why? Because the scale is wrong. The correct scale is: -10 to 10. In the first scale, all numbers are positive. That means that the thing being rated — read this well — can never be rated as negative.
That, however, is not how we people view things. We view them on a continuum that stretches from really bad (-10) to really good (+10), and all points in-between. And that is the secret to the relationship between Donald Trump and us on the political Right.
We on the Right, as does everyone, put the various candidates in the 2016 Presidential election field on the correct continuum: -10 to 10.
Hillary was easy to place: after some consideration, we right-wingers gave her, on average, a minus seven or so. The only reason she didn’t get a minus 10 is because there are plenty of prominent leftist half-wits between minus 10 and Hillary.(1)
Now, the problem was that many of us on the Right — yours truly included — put Donald Trump at something like a -4 or so. I’m using averages here. With the choice being either a hard-core leftist like Hillary, or a slightly less leftist like Trump, the Never Trumpers on the Right said: Never. We didn’t see it as a choice. It was like asking us: “Do you prefer to have your country scuttled by a hard-leftist or by a not-so-hard leftist?”
Our answer, Conservatives’ answer was simple, and it was the only correct, the only intellectually honest, the only moral response: “Neither, thanks.”
Sure, there were (are) lots of right-wingers who gave (still give) Trump a positive number, and even a high positive number. On average, though, we all had serious reservations about Trump.(2)
Furthermore, on the Right, there were plenty of candidates who were easy, obvious, no-doubt-about-it, positive candidates.
Some candidates were real, serious, heavyweight positives: Cruz, Fiorina, Rubio, Jindal, Perry, Walker, Santorum. I had a soft spot for Ben Carson, and his quiet, aw-shucks, innocent openness. Even our chumps — Kasich, Bush, Pataki, Gilmore — were at least 8 ratings points higher than Hillary. They were all candidates who were at least a 1… on a scale of -10 to 10. Except, that is, Donald Trump.
More to the point, as Republicans, we’ve never had a nominee who fell below zero on the real ratings continuum. Even squishes like Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney. Going all the way back, there were always at least good — if not great — Republican candidates. And also a lot of great candidates.
Then, of course, along comes Trump, a rude, crude guy who says a lot of great things — and a lot of nonsensical flapdoodle — but whose entire public life made him a New York moderate at best… a weird New York liberal leftist at worst.
We serious Conservatives looked at the deepest Conservative field in the history of Presidential elections and saw… Donald J. Trump — a New York moderate at best — stealing it all away.
We serious Conservatives recognized that the country needed some serious medicine after the soul-, brain-, life-sapping corruption and degradation of the Obama Administration. And we figured that the very best opportunity we had was slipping into the hands of… Donald J. Trump, as mentioned, a New York moderate at best.
So, bottom line, for the first time in American history we Republicans had nominated — after the wretched Barack Obama — a minus four! A man who (1) acted like a troglodyte liberal, (2) had long talked like a clueless New York liberal, (3) had the personal morals of Bill Clinton and (4) suggested that we ignore all that and vote for him.
We gave him a minus four, and we hated the notion that at this crucial juncture, it was to him — this minus four — that the Republican Party was turning to counter the odious Barack Obama. Now, of course, there’s a significant cohort of us right-wingers who still mistrust Trump.
Back at the election in November of 2016, we had the choice between a minus seven and a minus four, and a lot of us — including me — voted for the less awful. It was the right thing to do, but almost none of us liked it. Not one bit. That kind of thing isn’t something you forget overnight, but the policies of the Trump Administration — if not Trump’s personal demeanor — are doing a lot to bring the former Never Trumpers into the fold.
The impact to Conservatism is still to be determined, and will be deep. It’ll be the single most important ingredient in the mix of what determines the direction this country takes. Why? Because the only new thinking, the only creative, constructive notions, the only actually progressive ideas — ideas that would bring about actual progress for the country and for all of humanity come from… the Right, from Conservatives.
(1) Idiots, cretins, birdbrains, fatheads, scumbags and ghouls like Louis Farrakhan, Keith Ellison, Ron Dellums, Kamala Harris, Maxine Waters and more.
(2) One important reason for that is that throughout Trump’s previous public career, there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the things that Trump and Hillary said.