There’s a new debate inside the #NeverTrump movement about how to respond to a president they loathe and the Republican Party that loves him. Some #NeverTrump conservatives, like the New York Times columnist David Brooks and former Bush White House aide Reed Galen, are talking about creating a new third party. Others, like George Will and Max Boot, have become registered independents and are urging voters to put Democrats in charge of Congress this November, as a kind of temporary stopgap measure until the Republicans return to their senses. But according to speculation reported by POLITICO, former McCain 2008 chief strategist Steve Schmidt may go one step further: He’s reportedly thinking about signing up with a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, possibly former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
No doubt Schmidt would get attacked for being an opportunist. But if you are a conservative, #NeverTrump, pro-immigrant, free-trading, anti-Putin defender of the post-World War II international order, the only principled and practical move left is to join the Democratic Party.
The moment for temporarily endorsing the Democrats to block President Donald Trump was the presidential election of 2016, not the midterms of 2018. Had more Republicans endorsed Hillary Clinton two years ago, movement conservatives would likely be giddily anticipating the return of one of their own to the Oval Office in two years, as an obstructionist GOP Congress blocked the Democratic president’s every move.