There clearly seems to have been a shift in the direction of the political breeze over the past ten days or so. We went through an extended period prior to Ted Cruz’s exit from the primary race when each weekend’s news brought similar stories to us. In states around the nation, groups of anti-Trump activists were showing up at state party conventions and inserting their own choices of delegates to the national convention in Cleveland. The headlines after each of these events were similar, describing how Trump had been “outmaneuvered” on the ground, with most of us expecting that to erupt into an ugly battle at the convention. But yesterday we saw one state after another lining up in pretty much the opposite direction. (Politico)
Republican activists chose party unity over “never Trump” resistance Saturday, with party leaders in one state after another pressuring their members fall in line behind the presumptive nominee — and even punishing those who refused.
Eleven states held annual Republican conventions or party leadership meetings Saturday, offering a platform for those who still object to Donald Trumpas their party’s standard-bearer a prime opportunity to make mischief. But at almost every turn, they slammed into state leaders who closed ranks around a candidate that many once said they’d never support.
Reports of a few of these events were already coming in to us yesterday afternoon, but the one catching the most attention was the meeting in Nebraska. Out there, Ben Sasse is being viewed as both a standard bearer for the #NeverTrump folks and a possible target to recruit for a third party run in November. But when the proceedings got underway, the tone shifted 180 degrees.
In Nebraska, this meant overwhelming passage of a resolution that indirectly scolded conservative Sen. Ben Sasse for leading the #NeverTrump movement and scuttling a countermeasure to condemn “degrading remarks toward women, minorities and other individuals” by presidential candidates.
Prominent Trump opponents were tossed from their positions in Maryland, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Montana. In Arkansas they packed the delegate slate with Trump supporters. In Nevada, all but two of the state-wide delegates seated were pledged to Trump. Even in Cruz’s home state of Texas, Greg Abbott, Rick Perry and Dan Patrick – all of whom are on record asking for party unity behind The Donald – were selected to go to Cleveland.
So what changed? Not to put too fine of a point on it, but it’s fair to say that reality has set in. The message, as Politico’s reporter aptly put it, was clear and simple: Trump is flawed, but Hillary Clinton would be far, far worse.
When I’ve attempted to make that same argument here in the past I found a lot of pushback from some prominent conservative writers who remain firmly in the #NeverTrump camp, but that’s increasingly appearing to be a highly vocal but shrinking minority. There are still a vastly larger number of Republicans out there who remember the name Hillary Clinton and will not be associated with any effort which smooths her path to the presidency even if it proves to be impossible to stop her. This isn’t a rebellion against the rebellion, folks. It’s simply the business of completing the job that’s in front of us. And that job is defined as #NeverHillary.