Former congressman, radio host and GOP primary candidate Joe Walsh hasn’t exactly tried to keep his distaste for President Trump a secret. (Full disclosure: Mr. Walsh used to work for the same network I do up until his primary bid was announced.) And that’s fine. Everyone has to chart their own path and follow their own conscience. But just as the reality of Donald Trump winning the 2016 election sent any number of people spinning off into unpredictable behavior, it appears that the increasing likelihood of Fidel Castro fanboy Bernie Sanders becoming the Democrats’ nominee this year is having the same effect on others.
I fear that Joe might be falling into that category, particularly after reading his op-ed in the WaPo yesterday. It’s a long defense of NeverTrumpism, with heavy emphasis on how “never means never.” I’ll leave you to read those portions for yourself if you wish. But the essay falls off the beam toward the end (at least in my opinion) when Walsh talks about how he will regretfully be forced to vote for the Democratic nominee this fall… even if it’s Bernie Sanders.
Lots of politicians stink, and people hold their noses and vote for them, anyway. But if you’ve already gone on record as a never-Trumper, and now you’re saying that you’ll vote for Trump because you don’t like the alternative, you’re not holding your nose, you’re inhaling deeply.
I hate to break it to you, but if you’re really never-Trump, then you know there’s no except-if-he’s-a-socialist footnote. There’s no but-she’s-way-too-professor-ish clause. Nothing in the fine print says the only acceptable Democratic alternative is another arrogant billionaire. I thought this was understood.
In 2016, sadly, I supported Trump. I freely admit that I’m a second-wave never-Trumper. But once I got here, it was always my plan to stay.
I’d like to start off by saying that, despite differences of opinion we may have on the President and possibly a few other things, I like Joe Walsh. I have for a long time. He used to do a great radio show and his social media presence has always been entertaining. He actually follows me on Twitter. (Though that may change after this piece hits the front page of our site.)
The fact is that Joe’s decision to go with the #NeverTrump camp didn’t put me off my feed. I have plenty of NeverTrumper friends, including in the media. (That includes most of the staff at National Review.) As I said, everyone has to chart their own path in this life. Even his quixotic primary bid didn’t make me angry. In reality, the #NeverTrump people didn’t particularly bother me because at the end of the day, their impact on the national discussion was barely measurable. (Evidence can be found in the name of the person currently occupying the Oval Office.)
But there’s one place where I will vehemently disagree with Walsh. If you say that you’re a NeverTrumper and you will not vote for Trump in November, that’s one thing. But that does not mean that you have some obligation or even sane rationale to vote for Bernie Sanders as a conservative. Joe even went so far as to say, “I won’t just vote for him, I’ll campaign for him.”
I’m sorry, but the irony here is a bit much. If you look at the second paragraph of Joe’s op-ed you’ll see that he lists quite a few of the many, many, many reasons anyone calling themselves a conservative should never consider voting for Sanders, to say nothing of campaigning for him. He’s not just a Democrat. He’s a tried and true socialist, if not a full-blown communist. And his plans for America make the already dangerous proposals of most of his fellow Democrats pale in comparison. This isn’t news to anyone and it shouldn’t be news to Joe Walsh.
If you’re not going to vote for Donald Trump then that’s fine. Don’t. But there will be other people, including at least one Libertarian, to choose from on the ballot. Or you can write in a name. Heck, cast a vote for Ted Cruz if it makes you feel better. But if we’re going begin preaching about principles and conviction, voting for (and particularly campaigning for) Bernie Sanders when you come from the conservative stable that Walsh hails from is every bit as much of a violation of your principles as Joe feels voting for Donald Trump would be.
And with that, I’ll get off my high horse and close. I need to finish packing for CPAC anyway.