The Club is effectively aligning itself with the Republican party’s #NeverTrump faction. Though MacIntosh says many of his board members plan to vote for the real-estate mogul, his goal is to “make it a socially acceptable thing to skip president and vote down-ballot.”
MacIntosh is well aware it’s an unorthodox stance. “It’s a little like the Club being given a choice between ‘Menu A’ and ‘Menu B’ and we say, ‘No, we’re going to choose menu C,’” he says. The Club’s position — that it’s okay not to vote for president, but showing up on election day to support conservative congressional candidates is paramount — will factor into the television ads the group puts out on behalf of the Senate candidates it’s supporting: endangered incumbents Pat Toomey and Ron Johnson, plus congressmen Ron DeSantis and John Fleming, running in crowded Republican primaries in Florida and Louisiana, respectively.
As much as the Club is looking forward, it’s also looking back in an effort to understand its failure to prevent Trump from seizing the nomination. Ultimately, MacIntosh and others point the finger elsewhere. “The fundamental problem,” the memo states, “is that the really significant Republican money stayed on the sidelines. If others had intervened before South Carolina and the southern and northern Super Tuesday states, it might have been possible to keep Trump from winning, and would have given one of the pro-growth candidates an opportunity to stop Trump earlier. This didn’t happen.”