"Republicans of all stripes must be made to acknowledge and accept that Trumpism is an experiment that failed," Noah Rothman wrote in Commentary.
It was October 2016 and Rothman was declaring the terms on which Never Trumpers would accept the surrender of Republicans after Trump’s defeat. Some "examples must be made", but after some political purges, the GOP could be reunited around "free trade" and "an internationalist foreign policy".
But instead of losing, Trump won. The disasters that Rothman was predicting, the loss of Congress and the White House, never came about. And the scorned prophets of Never Trump, instead of apologizing or being offered terms for rejoining the GOP, continued forecasting disaster and doom for the heretics.
Like Democrats, Never Trumpers were still stuck on an election that Trump wasn’t supposed to win. Democrats had predicted a Hillary victory and Never Trumpers predicted a Republican disaster. Both Democrats and Never Trumpers want to reverse the results of the election. The Democrats invent vast conspiracies and the Never Trumpers predict disasters that will never happen.
Never Trumpers are obsessed with proving to Republicans that electing Trump was a disastrous mistake.
So everything is a disaster. Trump is infuriating Europeans alienating Muslims, abandoning NATO and destroying the planet. The sky is always falling. The apocalypse is just around the corner. And when it finally arrives, Rothman and the rest of the gang can lay out their terms for reunifying the GOP around illegal alien amnesty, destructive trade practices and open borders for terrorist refugees.
Even after the election, President Trump still can’t win.
"Donald Trump's Republican Party Will Be Defeated," George Will predicted in his Washington Post column before the November election. The National Review chose to reprint his warning that Republicans must break with Trump. That would "determine how many of them lose with him, and how many deserve to."
When Trump won, Will dubbed it a, “A Disruptive yet Ruinous Triumph for the GOP”. Never mind that the GOP had won, it was really a defeat. “Will the Republican party learn the wrong lessons from its election victory?” he inquired.
And who better to turn to for the right lessons than the man who had predicted that Republicans would lose and who had declared “this was not my party anymore”, but still insisted on lecturing Republicans?
When Trump was sworn in, Will called it, “A Most Dreadful Inaugural Address”. He warned, "Donald Trump's Economic Policy Could Spell Disaster" and "Trump's Immigration Plan Could Spell Doom for the GOP."
And if the disaster isn’t forthcoming on its own, Will pleaded with the public “to quarantine this presidency by insistently communicating to its elected representatives a steady, rational fear of this man.” And there’s the National Review wing of the “Resistance” -- the left's effort to sabotage the Trump presidency and fulfill the prophecies that failed.
Back at Commentary, Noah Rothman had consistently predicted that Trump would lose. “When Trump’s Republican presidential bid flames out – and it will flame out,” he wrote confidently. “This “plan” is a road to electoral ruin,” he warned of Trump’s common sense migration reform.
Everything was Trump’s fault.
“Bilateral relations between the United States and Russia have cratered since Trump took office,” Rothman mourned. Obama departed office with relations at their lowest point in decades. Hillary Clinton had compared Putin to Hitler. But to Never Trumpers, it’s always Trump’s fault.
Elsewhere, Rothman bemoaned that Trump had "prioritized renewed confrontation" with Iran and China. To Never Trumpers, common sense policies were bad if they had Trump’s name on them.
But Rothman’s constant predictions of disaster, before and after, were nothing compared to even madder voices at Commentary like Max Boot; the Republican answer to Keith Olbermann.
“Donald Trump represents the No. 1 security threat to the United States today,” Max Boot declared. Greater even than Global Warming.
This month, Rothman echoed Boot's preposterous claim by invoking the conspiracy inside the conspiracy. “The Bannon wing is now a menace to global security.”
But none of the Never Trumper hysterics can actually define this global security menace. Trump has taken a tougher line on every enemy from China to Iran to Syria to Russia to Cuba to ISIS. Despite all the innuendo about Russia, it was Trump not Obama, who enforced a red line in Syria. Obama made a deal with the devil in Iran. Trump is beginning to roll it back. And the Russians aren’t remotely happy about it.
Trump stood up to China and North Korea. Unlike Obama’s fake pivot, Trump is staying the course. ISIS is being defeated. And that’s the problem for the Boot-Rothman fantasies.
Boot claimed that Trump was "embracing fascism" and had also embraced "war crimes". He argued that Trump was playing "right into the terrorists' hands" and "doing serious damage to American credibility and to collective security." Outside Commentary, Boot would go on to demand that “for the good of the country, Trump should resign before our new national nightmare gets worse.”
"Republicans Need to Abandon the Trump Ship ASAP," Boot insisted. He closed by echoing the conviction that, "the security of the United States might now depend on electing a Democratic Congress in 2018.” It would have been more honest of Boot to just join the Democrat Party.
The job security of Never Trump pundits certainly depends on a Republican defeat in 2018. If Trump doesn’t fail, how will anyone know they were right? And so, with the logic of the left, they insist that he must be made to fail. If Trump won’t fail and Republicans won’t abandon him, it’s time to vote Democrat. As a number of Never Trumpers actually did.
But neither the National Review nor Commentary can hold a candle to the sheer derangement of the Weekly Standard. The Standard pushed 25th Amendment and Electoral College shenanigans to stop Trump that were hardly seen outside left-wing swamps. It compared Paul Ryan to a Nazi collaborator for endorsing Trump. All of this was spiced with doom headlines that could have come from the media.
“Trump the Loser”, “Donald Trump, a One-Man Wedge Issue, Threatens GOP Future”, "Donald Trump's Plan to Destroy the U.S. Economy", headlines shrieked. “With Trump, It Only Gets Worse from Here.”
And even, “Is Trump Ruining Marriages?"
Is there anything wrong in the world Trump isn’t responsible for? Everything he did was terrible.
Even if Trump won, a story speculated that, “It is doubtful that he will have a commanding legislative majority.” Even if he does, Schumer will filibuster a Trump nominee and "If you think the Senate Republicans will blithely go along with eliminating that procedural tool, then you haven't been paying much attention to the Senate Republicans in the last decade” and “It beggars belief to presume that Trump can build a majority coalition in favor of conservative principles".
The establishment that was always right had spoken. Yet it kept on being embarrassingly wrong. Over and over again.
According to “Trump's Position Is Even Worse Than You Think”, the election was so hopeless that "the national polls are actually overstating Trump's strength." It’s always hopeless for the Never Trumpers. And that’s because their position is hopeless. The product they’re selling is defeatism. And that’s never been very popular. The only argument for defeatism is manufacturing a constant sense of crisis.
Throughout the election, the Standard warned that Republicans must break with Trump or go down with him. A single quote from “To Save the Party, Pull the Plug on Trump Now” will suffice.
"Understand this: Donald Trump is not going to win."
Even now, a Standard column insists that Trump will go the way of Nixon and Republicans must break with him. In the Never Trump camp, Trump and the GOP are always on the verge of destruction.
But the apocalypse never arrives.
In just one paragraph of one Weekly Standard article, President Trump is accused of undermining "legitimate checks on his authority", eroding "confidence in our electoral system" and tarnishing his office. And probably ruining your marriage too.
But after all this time the disaster still hasn’t arrived. Trump won. The alarmists lost. The stock market is rising and our enemies are afraid. The alarmism of the echo chamber has added up to nothing more than failed predictions, falling subscriptions and encouragement to Democrat seditionists.
Never Trump is really Never Wrong. Like the Democrats, they refuse to adapt to reality. Rothman and his Never Trump colleagues need to accept that Never Trumpism is an experiment that failed, apologize to Trump and the American people whose progress they are obstructing, and go home.