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Outsiders vs. Insiders: If President Trump should fall who will lift the flag and carry on?

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize President Donald Trump is facing a fierce headwind of resistance in his now two-year old quest to make America great again.

What may be less obvious to the common observer is defining who is against him. There are the Democrats, street and campus-protesting leftists and liberals of all uninformed stripes who just hate the man and what he represents. Then there are the Republicans who maintain “principled” disapproval of the Trump presidency, Gloryoften referred to as #NeverTrump.

#NeverTrumpers’ objections are mostly behavior related and have little to do with policy; they despise Trump’s tweets; they also don’t care for his non-presidential manner of speaking; and they can’t tolerate the fact they’re no longer at the head of Republican cocktail party invite lists.

For this somewhat less-than-loyal “conservative” opposition, they claim it’s a “principles” thing.

Jim Jamitis of RedState wrote, “There is an epidemic of bad thinking on the right lately. Attributing it to one person would make it seem less of a problem than it truly is. In this particular case, the ridiculous claim in question was that principles are only a means to an end...

“Principles are not a means to an end. Principles are those things you believe to be fundamentally true. If you can easily set them aside in order to attain a goal, they weren’t principles so much as they were postures. If your moral compass is only something you use to gauge what you can probably get away with, it’s not really a moral compass. It’s more like your shady lawyer and you are someone completely unworthy of trust.”

In his post Jamitis attempts to debunk four myths Trump supporters (whom he insultingly labels the “Trump-publican Tribe”) supposedly pin to #NeverTrump; they are: one, Trump shouldn’t be criticized from the right because Democrats are worse; two, Trump’s critics on the right are sore losers; three, We are AT WAR! Trump is our general; and four, NeverTrumpers think they are morally superior.

Having written extensively about the #NeverTrump phenomenon for over a year now I can say without equivocation Jamitis doesn’t have a clue why conservative backers of other GOP primary candidates subsequently morphed into fervent Trump supporters and why us “converts” to the Trump cause continue to have problems with the president’s adversaries on the so-called right.

What I didn’t understand about #NeverTrump then and I’m having a hard time comprehending even now is the nebulous group’s unwillingness to admit the struggle to defend Trump is very much at the forefront of the larger fight to save the entire concept of constitutional government.

Jamitis is correct in saying we are not at “war” with Trump’s leftist enemies but we’re still in a non-shooting battle to save our ideas – and principles -- from people who would otherwise trample on and discard them at a moment’s notice.

Donald Trump the man is not and has never been the savior of all mankind, limited government or the concept of liberty; but like it or not Trump is the one that the left chooses to concentrate its fire on at current and will continue in that capacity until his agenda prevails or he is taken down.

It’s an either/or proposition that cannot be denied.

In the Civil War movie drama Glory, as his regiment is about to assault a virtually impenetrable position Colonel Robert Shaw (played by actor Matthew Broderick) famously asks, “If this man should fall, who will lift the flag and carry on?” The same question should be posed to the ragtag remnants of the #NeverTrump delegation. If Trump should “fall”, who would lift the banner of conservatism and carry on?

I’m sure all of the folks at RedState, Erick Erickson’s The Resurgent, National Review and The Weekly Standard – and even famous loser Evan McMullin – would swear they’ll be the next one to grasp the flagstaff and sprint towards the furious rhetorical artillery barrage of the Democrats and leftists.

There’s only one problem; hardly any of the conservative and populist “soldiers” in the Trump coalition would follow them if and when it ever happened. People have long memories for regimental histories, team sport loyalties and partisan leanings. It’s going to take years and a lot of contrition from the naysayers for Trump supporters to forgive the #NeverTrumpers for their mulishness and outright obstruction.

It may not yet be a “You’re either with us or against us” scenario but the #NeverTrumpers are effectively doing the work of the left without the haters even asking for the assistance.

If Trump should somehow be destroyed by the left over trumped up claims of collusion with the Russians, fantastic accusations about his tax returns, his Twitter habit or some other contrived reason – the credit will belong to the Democrats; but the blame will go to those on the right who failed to stand up and champion Trump when he needed – and deserved – it the most.

I’d guess the vast majority of Republican #NeverTrump holdouts are the personal guard to the dying Washington ruling class establishment which can’t get their arms around the fact they’re no longer calling the shots.

There’s another reason for continued skepticism of #NeverTrump. Even if you removed Trump from office, the next man in line will face just as determined a campaign to defeat him. In the end it really doesn’t matter who “fills the suit” behind the Oval Office desk. As long as he’s a Republican and represents conservative positions, the left will robotically resist.

A full analysis of the 2016 primaries and election is not yet complete but as of now the commonly held (and most likely correct) belief is Trump was the only Republican who could have won last year because he was the only one who could rouse a large enough coalition of voters to prevail in the Electoral College.

Some other non-Trump compromise candidate conceivably could have beat Hillary in the popular vote; but doing so would have won him or her the exact same prize the Democrats ended up with – an excuse to drink a lot of Chardonnay and complain about how unfair life is as a political loser.

If #NeverTrump disputes this point let them put forward the name of a Republican so beloved by the general electorate that he or she would have won in blue states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Republicans have been trying for over 20 years to reclaim the allegiance of the “Reagan Democrats.” Trump finally did it – and he’s keeping his promises to them.

What is so difficult for the #NeverTrumpers to accept?

There’s one good thing for the #NeverTrumpers -- if Mike Pence were to take over carrying the Trump banner forward, he’d be well prepared. Emily Goodin of Real Clear Politics reports, “No matter what the concerns are about Donald Trump -- his lack of government experience, his lack of discipline, his lack of knowledge on foreign affairs, his tweeting -- Mike Pence has it covered.

“He is well-versed in politics. In addition to his time in the lower chamber, he served a term as governor of Indiana. He is famously disciplined and on message (even if that message turns out to be wrong). He went to Europe in February in what was seen as a reassurance tour for U.S. allies, and was the steady presence abroad that he has been in the U.S. And none of his tweets have gone viral.

“’He’s absolutely a no-drama guy,’ [Indiana Rep. Luke] Messer told RCP. ‘One of my favorite Mike Pence wisdoms is ‘vote right and then go home for dinner.’ I think he applies the same way of thinking to the office of the vice president.’”

Pence is indeed a great conservative leader and his eternally calm demeanor is the perfect contrast to Trump’s. Pence is expertly taking to his role as the administration’s congressional liaison, negotiator and cheerleader. As the one who’s not under the constant glaringly negative spotlight of the media Pence is able to stay above the fray and let Trump be the public face of the GOP.

Trump needs someone like Pence if his agenda is to succeed. Trump has the Democrats and the media to worry about and of course there’s a desire among the conservatives in Congress to get something accomplished as a team. There will come a point – and soon – where the #NeverTrump opposition needs to make a choice to get behind Trump or be cut loose from the conservative movement.

Then it will truly come down to a “with us or against us” proposition.

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Ain't Gonna Happen

Trump will not fall. If anyone should have it was Obama, but since he was black there was a perceived taboo, a taboo which should have been ignored for the welfare of the USA, but was not, to the nation's ever lasting regret. Trump is a patriot and he will not be going anywhere.