With the fire of a thousand bags of shit on America’s doorstep, flaming NeverTrump diehards like Rick Wilson and Marybeth Glenn are reaching supernova on this, the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as America’s 45th president. The day they screeched mockingly would never come, is here. And boy, they sure seem mad.
And boy, are they about to become irrelevant. Not merely “less relevant than the more influential people” but racing off into insignificance, actively fading from the realm of the germane, they will become like black holes in the social world.
Tonight they are objects of laughter but tomorrow and in the days to come they shall be objects of indifference and perhaps pity, former politicos whom only the twisted or stupid would heed.
But before we run down the list of burning head NeverTrumpers, let us point out one positive story that may bode well for the state of Virginia:
After writing what was quite possibly the dumbest political post of 2016, when the shellshock of Trump’s victory apparently still rang in his ears, Kenney did what Kenney rarely seems to do, which is to shut the hell up.
Though he still mucks about on Twitter Kenney has largely abandoned the topic of Donald Trump. But what we really appreciate: No more bloviating, self-righteous, holier-than-thou and more-conservative-than-thou blog posts – in fact no blog posts whatsoever. This is a huge improvement for America, for Virginia Republicans, and probably for the fate of Shaun Kenney’s immortal soul. Maybe after a few years of self-reflection, he will reappear bearing the mark of humility that, thus far, seems utterly foreign to the oh-so-godly conservatives at that faux-Republican website who ultimately failed to put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
But you know who hasn’t shut up, but just keeps on keepin’ on like a man whose inner moron never sleeps? The bald, burning noggin of Rick Wilson – who just two years ago was, unbelievably, considered a witty, savvy GOP insider.
Today, Rick Wilson’s desperate attempts at wit consist of reposting items from left-wingers like Salon.com.
Tomorrow, Rick Wilson will watch the Republican Party turn the bend far down the road and leave him behind, forever.
Our next smoking ember of melted brain tissue is the Wisconsin wabbit, Charlie Sykes, who quit his gig as a “conservative” talk radio host and disappeared into a hole in the ground, piping up occasionally feeble, ignorant comments about America’s president-elect.
Irrelevance, outsider status, and being generally wrong about everything are a challenging trifecta for any career in political commentary, so it may be a long time before Charlie Sykes makes it back into the funny papers, much less an op-ed page that anyone wishes to read.
We can’t really talk about flaming NeverTrump diehards without mentioning the brightest burning head of all, David Frum: former White House speechwriter, current “editor” at a once-relevant media operation …
…and tomorrow, just another dumbass in America.
Because when you claim that anything coming out of Merkel’s government qualifies as a “stiff warning” to Donald Trump, then you, my friend, have beclowned yourself. Hard.
From certain beclownings, there is no coming back. And sadly enough for David Frum, the the circus has closed.
Finally on our list of heads exploding in fire with the ascension of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land, is another Wisconsinite; Queen of the flaming NeverTrump diehards:
Marybeth: who alone knows good from evil. Marybeth: who alone recognizes Donald Trump as a monster.
Marybeth, who in one human being encompasses the entire spectrum of whining-toddler NeverTrumpism like perhaps none other whom the Lord has sent down from Crybaby Mountain to yell at His people.
Many Americans are giving Donald Trump a chance to at least get into office before judging his presidency, and many Republicans who at one time did not support Trump have recognized that Trump has earned their support for now, and could turn out better than many U.S. presidents – including the last two Republicans.
But there remain a few rabid NeverTrump disordered personalities, unique in their willful ignorance and in their lack of self-awareness. We marvel at their self-destruction.
Today, we can actually begin to count down the hours until Donald Trump assumes the presidency, and the flaming NeverTrump diehards are but a distant, unpleasant odor.
Shortly after the November 8 presidential election in which Donald Trump lost the state of Virginia, Bearing Drift’s Shaun Kenney wrote a howler of a blog post essentially blaming Corey Stewart for the 2016 Virginia Republican loss – despite the fact an obvious case could be made that in fact Bearing Drift lost Virginia for the Republicans.
Corey Stewart is running for the 2017 Republican nomination for Virginia governor against, among others, Kenney’s former boss, Ed Gillespie.
It was an interesting argument for Kenney to make because, first, it may signal an ongoing NeverTrump proxy war in Virginia throughout 2017, but also because we think it denoted Shaun Kenney’s “Oh shit” moment upon realizing the full import of the November 8 results.
One could argue that several Bearing Drift writers played a key role in helping Republicans lose Virginia in 2016, by encouraging people not to vote for the Republican presidential ticket.
There is no need to even build a case that Bearing Drift was a major source of anti-Trump vitriol beginning at least last December. In our view, Bearing Drift owned the Republican anti-Trump propaganda effort in the state.
Instead of listing all their broadsides, therefore, let’s just review some of the impact. After all, Bearing Drift proudly bills itself as “Virginia’s loudest and most read conservative website” and “one of the leading voices of Republicans in Virginia.” Lest any doubts remain about their GOP pedigree, they profess dedication to upholding the state Party’s “Republican Creed.”
For many Virginia voters still unacquainted with Donald Trump as a politician, this forceful condemnation referencing the Constitution by prominent Republicans likely helped define the candidate very early in the process. It was an unfortunate role for an ostensibly “Republican” website to take, since U.S. law gives the president authority, literally, to keep out of the country anyone he wants to keep out. It’s all right there in 8 USC §1182. The Bearing Drift attack was based on a misreading of the Constitution and the law.
Here’s what Shaun Kenney, the respected former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia, recently declared he would do if Donald Trump is the Republican presidential nominee:
“I will work actively against him to ensure his defeat in the general election should he obtain the Republican nomination. In this, I am not alone. Millions of Americans will not pull the lever for Trump. Millions more are absolutely sickened by the jackbooted tactics of a militated few.”
This is an uncommonly blunt declaration for a prominent party operative to make about his own party’s likely Presidential nominee.
Yes, it certainly was uncommon, and you can bet that Republican and center-right voters who normally might not have read the Bearing Drift blog took notice when Kenney’s educational lesson was published by the city paper.
At the other corner of the state, in a September story reprinted in the Washington Post, the major daily noted Bearing Drift’s “deluge of anti-Trump postings” to support the paper’s claim of “damage Trump has wrought in Virginia.”
When one of America’s most vocal NeverTrump Republicans, Liz Mair, was building the case for Republicans to vote for the Libertarian candidate for president, Gary Johnson, she invoked a Bearing Drift poll which actually only comprised a paltry 207 responses – but goes to show how Bearing Drift’s anti-Trump message spread through the force multiplier effect of other web channels.
Kenney was also the Democrats’ hero when Virginia’s most influential progressive blog, Blue Virginia, featured two Bearing Drift columns to paint the picture of decent Republicans turning against Donald Trump.
The Democrat blogger was referring to this Shaun Kenney post tearing into colleagues at Bearing Drift for having the temerity to suggest there might be rationales for voting for Donald Trump and for insisting on the quite traditional belief that Party membership requires a certain degree of loyalty to its candidates over non-Republicans.
And this latter example of giving aid and comfort to the enemy illustrates why we think Bearing Drift occupies such a dubious role in the Republican community: We believe that Bearing Drift lost Virginia on November 8, 2016. But it was a greater offense – a worse act of sabotage, in our opinion – that a prominent, “respected” Republican was so bitterly critical of other Republicans who were attempting to follow the Party rules in good faith.
In our view, that is execrable behavior within the Party, albeit called “heroic” by Leftists.
Throughout 2016, Bearing Drift produced a constant stream of articles denouncing Trump and Trump’s supporters, feeding the narrative that Trump would lose, and most importantly, giving voters reasons not to vote for the Republican presidential candidate.
Chief among these posts that in our opinion served as powerful Republican vote suppressors was Brian Schoeneman’s argument that fear of Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court appointments was no reason to vote Republican. If there were any dominant argument proffered by the GOP to vote for Trump, nationwide, it was to raise the specter of a liberal Supreme Court for the next 30 years. In approximately 5,000 words, Schoeneman basically says: There is no proof a Clinton Supreme Court would be terrible.
Less loud but equally fervent, and possibly the most influential of the Bearing Drift anti-Republican activists during the 2016 presidential election, Jim Hoeft did not couch his plea to vote against the Republican ticket in complex or lengthy rhetoric. Yes, he promoted the bad news for Trump but he mainly stuck to the simple argument that: The 2016 election was NOT actually a binary choice – for the Godly conservative – voting for a third-party was both defensible and righteous – and therefore the “only two options for president” were Gary Johnson and Evan McMullin. Published exactly one month prior to the election, the column by Hoeft probably sealed the deal for a number of Virginia voters who were worried a third-party vote was a wasted vote.
Amid the flurry of biased news reports and amazingly inaccurate polling analyses prior to the presidential election, Schoeneman, Kenney, and Hoeft gave Virginia voters numerous rationales not to vote for the Republican presidential ticket. These recognized conservative voices with decent (we admit) persuasive writing skills undoubtedly swayed voters – and we believe made a crucial difference in the final vote.
Hillary Clinton vote margin over Donald Trump:
Some may argue that the third-party total includes votes – especially for Jill Stein, and write-ins – that may have had nothing to do with Bearing Drift’s pleas to Republicans. We would agree we can’t blame all defections on Bearing Drift.
But we have not addressed the additional important, but murky, area of Republican voters persuaded by Bearing Drift not to vote third-party, but to positively vote for Hillary Clinton.
So who really lost the state for the Republicans? We believe Bearing Drift lost Virginia.
And Corey Stewart might invite the Godly conservatives to take a hike up Old Rag to seek a vision or burning bush or other such humbling encounter.
In any case, we think it’s laughable to lay the blame on Corey Stewart, who actually supported the Trump ticket – although we understand why Shaun Kenney would wish to do so. When one is supposedly an influential Republican and a more-righteous-than-thou conservative in the commentary and consulting world, being proven devastatingly wrong, is a Very Bad Place To Be. The fault must be deflected, pronto.
In fact, judging by both pre- and post-election commentary at Bearing Drift, our entire Kindergartner post probably could have been constructed with examples from Schoeneman, Kenney, and Hoeft.
Rude, thuggish, debased, self-absorbed: Bearing Drift has shown it all in 2016.
But one more bit of weirdness they demonstrate which also seems endemic to NeverTrump “conservatives” is a bizarre degree of self-regard.
Minor provocations, it seems, are all it takes for Kenney and Hoeft in particular to break out their own renditions of the superiority dance. Whether as “conservatives” or “Republicans” or Godly men after the old, old – and by “old” we mean in the “Testament” sense – fashion, they can hold forth like nobody’s business.
We’re not ready to say they are completely full of themselves, but most Bearing Drift columns give the impression of being written under the watchful gaze of a painting of the Bearing Drift writer.
You can often sense a geyser of self-righteous fulmination bubbling just beneath the surface.
In what seems like every third post, the bloggers launch into tirades in an authorial style we call “Vomit of Pharisaical Cliches,” a word salad composed of digested truisms, catch phrases, essays, and sermons, coming back up all over your screen, along with spittle, bile, and unctuous fluids of self-anointing.
Don’t look too hard for meaning or even logical sentences, because the discharge is mainly self-serving sophistry predicated on the writer’s own righteousness. Words pour forth with heavenly fury that neither reason nor Fowler’s nor Strunk & White shall hinder.
While Kenney appears to have scaled back his blogging since the election (but is still listed as an editor), we will continue to follow Mssrs Schoeneman and Hoeft in the coming year as the Virginia race for governor takes shape. A cursory review of Bearing Drift indicates they are not overly friendly to Corey Stewart, the Trump supporter, although that stance may change as the Trump administration becomes a reality.
We would hope to be able to report, in the future, that despite the fact Bearing Drift lost Virginia in 2016, the writers learn something from the failure besides doubling down in self-defensive self-righteousness.
In the final days before the election, we will present our “closing arguments” by NeverTrump Republicans as to why voters should NOT vote for the Republican presidential candidate. In other words: Republicans helping torpedo the Trump campaign and elect Hillary Clinton. Here we give you Clinton Republican Shaun Kenney.
Kenney’s work at the Virginia website Bearing Drift and on social media this year has been a nonstop jackhammer to the foundation of the Republican presidential ticket, tearing away at whatever reasons GOP voters might have had for wishing a Republican to win the White House in 2016.
We’ve noted before how important Virginia is to the Democratic Party this year, so allow us to send some extra love to the influential Republicans at Bearing Drift.
If Virginia turns out to be the swing state that delivers the presidency to our Democratic Party for the next 8 years, then Clinton Republican Shaun Kenney and some of his fellow writers at Bearing Drift deserve a large share of the credit. Democrats will owe them a debt of gratitude, as will all of America and the billions of people around the world relying on us to reshape our nation as one more generous, more open, and more apologetic to the international community.
There are probably 50 items Kenney produced in 2016 that have helped smooth Hillary’s path to the presidency, but for our Closing Argument we direct you to this timely reaction to one of Donald Trump’s most egregious errors of the campaign. When Trump decided to launch his wholly unjustified and unprovoked attack on a devoted American Muslim family and Gold Star parents, good Republicans like Shaun Kenney quickly framed the issue so that Republican voters could immediately see through the un-American and un-Republican candidate their Party had running for the presidency.
In the state of Virginia, where so many people are linked to military service, and when so many voters were paying close attention to the Republican candidate post-convention, Kenney and others painted Trump as someone who stands against what patriotic Americans stand for. And in this masterpiece of an essay, Kenney went even further, attacking not only the Republican candidate but strongly denouncing everyone who supported Trump.
Khan’s speech has been labeled as the seven minute that shook the convention, a national moment of conscience that transcended the political circus and spoke directly to the hearts of every American and brought home the dangers of a self-inflicted populism…
The free market is utterly incompatible with the sort of nationalism the Trumpsheviks are promoting. What is that nationalism? A protectionist and ethnic nationalism that defines an “us” based on racial or religious grounds and a “they” based purely on whether or not one lives in America…
Yet so long as we permit — and we are permitting this through our inaction and unwillingness to drive them out — this small and insignificant faction to dominate our party and our discourse?
Then we deserve Hillary Clinton… because that’s what they’ve pushed upon us. Or more accurately, what we as Republicans have pushed upon ourselves.
What Republican voter would wish to be affiliated with that ugly, un-American faction? Most significantly, as Kenney argues, 2016 should be a year of cleansing the Republican Party of its Trump supporters, which is a more noble goal than winning the presidency.
We believe that our Democratic Party has many built-in advantages going for us tomorrow, including manufactured poll results that will show Trump fading, media organizations poised to call states for Clinton regardless of the incoming results, and state election commissions that will allow millions of nonstandard ballots to be counted.
These are called structural advantages, and they are just as critical to winning as the campaigns themselves.
But without #NeverTrump activists like Clinton Republican Shaun Kenney, Hillary Clinton would never have had a chance to return to the White House. For this historic effort, America needs to thank and remember Shaun Kenney.
As with everyone, there are days that seem like they’ll go badly for us, like today when we get to work and find that O’Keefe has a new, heavily-edited video making Hillary Clinton look bad. Or new Wikileaks lies. But then, we turn to the subculture we love, and the reliable Republican NeverTrump voter suppression machine brings a spring to our step.
Thank you, #NeverTrump social media, from the bottoms of our collective Democratic hearts, for posting a continual stream of news that tells Republican voters that the Donald Trump campaign is losing, hopeless, and/or in some other way simply bad.
If it weren’t for conservative #NeverTrump activists on social media, we are confident Hillary Clinton would be losing this presidential election, and our spirits would be in the doldrums. We’d have no potential for turning off Republican voters (why would they listen to what a bunch of Clinton supporters have to say?) Many days would have been just depressing.
That is why we keep active social media personas going, to follow and friend all of our favorite conservative NeverTrumpers. You guys are the wind beneath our wings.
Count quality-of-life as yet another argument for why the Republican Party needs to reward these brave people after the election: Without NeverTrump voter suppression efforts, Trump and his supporters would have become unbearable the entire campaign period. Instead, Trump’s camp is nervous and angry, and we Democrats and you Republican NeverTrumpers are buoyant from sunrise to sundown.
Most of the Democratic happiness and optimism flows from #NeverTrump Republicans, as a matter of fact, which has to be a milestone in U.S. political history.
Here are some of our favorite corners of the NeverTrump subculture, which you should visit if you ever need a pick me up.