Such amorality was warranted, many explained, because if Clinton had won, America would be “over.” National-security official Michael Anton, then writing from the safety of anonymity, dubbed it a “Flight 93 election” and argued that conservatives must do anything for victory or accept certain death. In an interview with New York magazine, Anton went further. “If we must have Caesar,” he said, “who do you want him to be? One of theirs? Or one of yours (ours)?”

The election is over. Yet that spirit not only endures, it has intensified. Trump’s conservative critics, or “apostates” as Conrad Black calls us, face the same ultimatum. “The choice, for sane conservatives,” Black writes, “is Trump or national disaster.” Black is hardly alone in making this or similar cases. The upshot of them all is that the test for “sane” (or real or good or true) conservatives is loyalty to the president, not to any coherent body of ideas or ideals. Even truth takes a back seat.

I’d point out that such thinking could invite the worst and most opportunistic creatures to infiltrate the movement. Except they already have.