And the most important and damning traits that distinguish Trump from his predecessors are his willingness to stoke animus against minority groups for political gain; the energy he has given to white supremacists; the indiscipline of his public statements; the frequency with which he blatantly lies to the public; and the unsavory characters that he brought with him into the federal government—including Stephen Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka, for starters.
Only Never Trumpers can credibly claim to stand against the moral abominations that suffused Trump’s political rise and the first year of his presidency. They alone are conserving a faction on the right that stands against deplorability in the face of a president who remains a cruel, mendacious egomaniac. They alone can credibly claim to oppose racial demagoguery.
Insofar as most Republicans celebrate Trump as a success story, rather than repudiating him as an affront to basic standards of decency, they transgress against the Founding belief in the importance of character in leaders while disgracing themselves and doing shortsighted violence to the GOP’s long term prospects. To the question, “Did you oppose the man who repeatedly stoked hatred of us?” they will have to tell Hispanics, Muslims, and African Americans, “No.”