The NeverTrump, AlwaysTrump Problem
Disagreeing with Trump’s trade war isn’t NeverTrumpism, it’s a policy disagreement and a recognition of the harm tariffs have on U.S. consumers and businesses. Disliking Trump’s personal behavior, demeanor, tweets, and attacks against those he views as his enemies, real and imagined, does not make you NeverTrump.
Typically, it’s the attacks you endure by AlwaysTrump folks that breeds a resentment for Trump beyond the disagreements with a handful of his policies that creates a psychological intolerance for the President and his movement. It’s the feeling that unless you’re AlwaysTrump, you’re NeverTrump, that fuels the frustration of those who come off as NeverTrump.
Many folks like myself disagreed with numerous policy positions of George W. Bush. The TEA Party began in opposition to W’s handling of the on-setting recession and the feeling that the Republican establishment had abandoned its base for the government itself.
Yet, we were never called NeverBush. There was far more Republican opposition to Bush and his Republican establishment than there is Republican opposition to Trump, and yet Trump’s faction really believes that Trump is more maligned by other Republicans than was W.
When the base began targeting the establishment for spending and debt far less egregious than that we’ve seen under Trump, George W. Bush never attacked us. While Boehner and McConnell may have hated us and thought we were bad Republicans, they never demanded 100 percent loyalty like the AlwaysTrump crowd.
The fact is, the moderates and the populists have very different ideas about how Republicans should act. They fight each other for power. Yet, many moderates must have voted for Trump for him to get elected, just as many Tea Party people voted for Romney and McCain. No one was Never anyone. Or at least not enough to matter.
Folks in the liberty wing of the party have been trampled by both groups and most of us have remained, or tried to remain, team players and good Republicans.
This is all to say that all Republicans must recognize that we’re a big tent that disagrees on a number of issues, but that most vote Republican every election anyway. Any faction that demands 100 percent support, however, will meet with fierce resistance from all the other factions.