Most conservatives who claim to be #NeverTrump can’t bring themselves to admit that Hillary Clinton is a basically normal liberal politician, acceptable if the alternative is fascism. What’s less clear is how many conservatives who claim to be #NeverTrump think a bit of American fascism might be less bad for the country and the world than four more years of conventional liberalism. This may explain the strange spectacle of conservatives who say they find Donald Trump abhorrent rushing to his defense against the dread liberal media.
“Lester Holt tilted anti-Trump during the debate,” wrote Rich Lowry, editor of National Review, which dedicated an entire issue during the Republican primary to opposing Trump. “[He] got tougher questions than Clinton, who was spared queries on matters such as the Clinton Foundation and Benghazi. It was fair game to ask Trump about birtherism, but Holt asked two follow-ups about it. And he fact-checked Trump in real time twice, arguably getting his correction of Trump about a complex stop-and-frisk case wrong. Notably, Holt got positive reviews.”
Shapiro, who resigned from Breitbart over its Trumpian tilt, is ostensibly calling foul on liberals and the media for finding fault in the Trump campaign’s efforts to smear a former Miss Universe who gained weight. After all, a mere 50 years ago a Democratic president was quite a misogynist.
What the word “never” means seems to differ from one conservative to the next, but we should distinguish between conservatives who view “Never Trump” as a statement of civic obligation (those, in other words, who are seeking to defeat him), those who view it as a statement of self-absolution (abstainers), and those who view it as a way to cover their own hides, while hoping others carry Trump across the finish line for them.