So the question now becomes: whither the no-Trumpers? Many of the younger critics, now in a professional mid-life crisis, came of voting age during the Reagan administration or even the Bush I administration, and have mistakenly assumed that what they call the “conservative movement” is synonymous with that era. (Others are essentially clueless millennials.) But that is a total misreading of both the past and the future. If the two Obama administrations have taught us anything, it’s that “smaller government, lower taxes” is a losing proposition at the ballot box, with takers now outnumbering makers: tell the American people you advocate those principles and what they hear is that you’re going to take away their free stuff. And many of them — half the country — pay little or nothing in income taxes in the first place. Such conservatives have not earned their “movement” principles, but merely inherited them; they should consider what just happened a well-deserved time-out to reassess what conservatism is in the first place.
Of more import is the fate of those on the Right who have staked their personal and professional fortunes on stopping Trump. No matter what you think of The Donald, what was the upside to opposition once the outcome was clear, as it has been since New York? Do you really want four (or eight) more years of Democrats? Moral preening is one thing; defiant words of “Never!” have a nice ring to them. But what is their practical application? Their open contempt for Trump supporters will not be forgotten for a very, very long time.