Donald Trump’s sudden rise to the Republican presidential nomination has been as historic as it has been sensational. Claiming to attract new voters to the Republican Party, Trump also has alienated and offended enough parts of the GOP, giving rise to the movement and distinct social media hash tag, #NeverTrump.
These people, in the wake of Trump’s victory in Indiana that took out his last standing rival Ted Cruz, today are posting comments online like “It’s Mourning in America” and citing the poignant Alexander Hamilton quote, “If we must have an enemy at the head of Government, let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible.” In other words, these Republicans will not—no matter what—support Donald Trump, even against the likes of Hillary Clinton (or a third party candidate).
This gives rise to the question, who is #NeverTrump and what impact will they have in November? I will leave it up to political experts and pundits, and time itself, to tell the answer to the second question. Though the obvious answer is if there are enough #NeverTrump people, someone else will win the presidency.
I see at least three groups, as part of #NeverTrump, who traditionally vote with the GOP:
- Social conservative Republicans who actively attend church. Southern Baptist leader Dr. Russell Moore along with other social conservatives have been vocal critics of Donald Trump’s character and platform. This wing of #NeverTrump cannot stomach’s Trump’s personal history of serial adultery and divorce, and his coarse language toward large groups of people in society. Above all, this wing of #NeverTrump seems unwilling to give the reins of power to Mr. Trump, largely because of character issues.
- National security Republicans & Neoconservatives. A major wing of the GOP under Ronald Reagan were people who consider national security above all issues, and parts of this group seem to populate #NeverTrump. These Republicans seem to distrust Trump’s foreign policy temperament and instincts. They “would not entrust the nuclear codes to such a loose cannon” nor do they want America to become more isolationist. The people tend to read publications like National Review or The Weekly Standard.
- Business/Chamber of Commerce Republicans. These people, who read publications like Fortune magazine or The Wall Street Journal, have been part of the GOP for a long time (think of Mitt Romney). This election cycle, many from this “camp” seem unimpressed by Trump’s business talk and background. I think they look at Mr. Trump as that crass, new money person who has crashed their cocktail party.
The #NeverTrump people within the GOP may be few in ranks and less influential than some might have thought, seeing as they were not able to stop Trump from getting where he is today. That being said, there may be enough of them who, though they cannot stomach the thought of President Hillary Clinton, will find another option somehow, some way.
As an Evangelical Christian with socially-conservative views, I am most interested in group number one of #NeverTrump. Time will tell if they change their tune or stick to the #NeverTrump pledge.
One thing is for sure. This presidential race is by no means over. To borrow a Churchill phrase, we are not at the end. We are not even at the beginning of the end. We may, however, be at the end of the beginning.
Whether you are #NeverTrump or not, I would encourage you to pray for our country. Let’s ask God to give us the leader we need, not the leader we deserve. As Christians, whether we are part of #NeverTrump or not, we need to be seen as #AlwaysForJesus!