One of the most repellent aspects of the 2016 presidential election has been a phenomenon that has its home in leftwing tactics but that has now emerged on the Right in addition to the Left. More precisely, it has revolved around the adoption by precincts of the #NeverTrump Right of tactics usually associated with the Left. The main feature of that tactic deploys a twofold effort at character assassination. The first step is the transformation of political disagreement into a species of heresy. The second step involves the thundering repudiation of the newly minted heretics, who are to be caricatured or demonized, and reminded that they must seek absolution or forgiveness for their apostasy.
A case in point is the New York Daily News column published two days ago by the erstwhile conservative, now Hillary Clinton supporter and #NeverTrump crusader, Gabriel Schoenfeld. “Expose Trump’s enablers,” the headline began, “How many people who should know better are making it easier for him to lie to the American people.”
Exhibit A in that roster of people “who should know better” is your humble correspondent, R. Kimball. In fact, I am the only Exhibit. My heresy is to have decided, rather late in the day, to support Donald Trump for president. Over the last couple of months, Schoenfeld has emitted several needling tweets taking me and others to task for that support. On September 17, for example, he tweeted that I, Victor Davis Hanson, and Charles Kesler were “backing a birther, a bigot, an enemy of the Constitution.”