NeverTrumpers like Michael often make Trump their focus when their real aim is the policy changes he is bringing to the Republican Party. I’ll grant that many of Trump’s statements about immigrants are odious. I too remain unconvinced that he has the skill or the character to be a good president, although I must admit to having some of those fears allayed so far. The question Republicans dismayed by Trump must ask themselves, however, is whether some of the changes he is bringing to GOP orthodoxy are either good or have their roots in legitimate concerns. I think many of them do; many, if not most, NeverTrumpers disagree. That, not Trump, is the real issue in contention, and it is on that point that those who back Trump ought to fight if their support for him is tied at all to any of those considerations.

Michael and other prominent NeverTrump Republicans face a time for choosing. The data clearly show that a return to the Republican Party and conservatism of 2000 is not possible, either within the GOP itself or in the nation at large. If the sentiments that Trump tapped into are unacceptable to them for whatever reason, then they must join forces with their former political opponents, either within the Democratic Party or by creating a new party that takes disaffected Democrats and independents into the fold. Either choice involve compromising on issues NeverTrumpers have said they hold dear, such as abortion, supply-side tax cuts, the Supreme Court, or perhaps even uncompromising support for Israel. I will not begrudge them if they depart on principle, as they are honorable men and women who must act in accord with their beliefs. But they should make that choice with eyes wide open as to what the consequences will be, for them, for their principles, and for the country they so dearly love.