Almost no thoughtful conservative columnists support Donald Trump. In my lifetime, I can’t remember a single political party nominee who engendered this intense a negative and acrimonious response from opinion makers and shapers, not even Barry Goldwater in 1964 and George McGovern in 1972, who lost in landslides. They each inspired true believers in the pundit class.
If you’re a Trump supporter, I suppose you could dismiss these “thought leaders” out of hand, but in doing so you’re probably rejecting reason, not Trump’s strong suit to begin with. I have yet to read a single column that lays out the arguments for Trump with an informed sense of reason.
Among so-called conservative supporters of Trump, there’s Bill O’Reilly, who is a bloviator like Trump rather than real conservative, and other “enablers” at Fox News, according to RedState.com, many of whose contributors oppose Trump.
There’s Breitbart.com, which betrayed its own female reporter after she was allegedly assaulted by Trump’s communication director, in order to curry favor with Trump, resulting in mass resignations from the news website.
Most traditional, thoughtful conservatives are scathing in their criticisms of Trump. Among them:
David Brooks, “No Not Trump, Not Ever”: “Donald Trump is an affront to basic standards of honesty, virtue and citizenship. He pollutes the atmosphere in which our children are raised. He has already shredded the unspoken rules of political civility that make conversation possible. In his savage regime, public life is just a dog-eat-dog war of all against all.”
Michael Gerson, “Republicans stain themselves by sticking with Trump“: “Trump is entirely unmoored and unpredictable….(Trump’s) answer to nearly every problem is himself — his negotiating skill, his strength of purpose, his unique grasp of the national will. But this is more “will to power” than separation of powers; more Nietzsche than Madison…All this leaves completely horrible options: sitting the election out, supporting a third-party candidate, contemplating a difficult vote for Clinton. But these are the only honorable options. As one Republican friend wrote me of Trump: “He would destroy everything Hillary Clinton would destroy, plus one more thing: the Republican Party.”
Jennifer Rubin, “The Frightful Prospect of Trump as Commander in Chief“: “Trump, first, would get wiped out by Clinton, and in any event, would be incapable of competently performing the most critical aspect of his job, the role of commander in chief.”
George Will engaged in a bit of wishful thinking on March 13, “Are We Finally Reaching ‘Peak Trump’?” He called Trump a bogus billionaire, a weed in the garden of conservatism, “an entertaining boor” who could become a bore; he reminded readers that Trump said George W. Bush should have been impeached. Earlier, he called Trump a “counterfeit Republican” whose “squalid performance and its coarsening of civic life are costs of freedom that an open society must be prepared to pay.”
Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard called Trump “an embarrassment to the Republican Party and the country…deeply demoralizing, historically horrifying…an utterly unprincipled demagogue…an utterly repellent pseudo-conservative rabble-rouser.” He threatened that real conservatives will rally around “an independent Republican candidate to save the honor of the party, and to offer a decent alternative to the American people.”
The National Review produced a special anti-Trump edition. Search for articles on Trump in NR, and you’ll find they are almost uniformly negative.