I agree with progressives who argue that Trump is the apotheosis of the modern Republican Party, not a departure from it. Everyone who helped build that party bears some responsibility for him. But apostate conservatives also deserve admiration for the sacrifices they’re making. It must be painful to have the movement that’s defined your life turn against you.
“You’re giving up personal relationships, which are some of the most important things psychologically for any human being,” said Jerry Taylor, the president of the center-right Niskanen Center, who holds regular meetings of anti-Trump Republicans. “If you spend decades of your life circulating with a certain group of friends and colleagues and associates and business partners and political allies,” it’s no small thing to break with them.
Take George Conway, the conservative lawyer and impeachment supporter married to top Trump aide Kellyanne Conway. Obviously, I’d split with my beloved husband in a second if he backed Trump. But if he worked for a lunatic whose policies I liked? I’d find it a lot harder to publicly distance myself.
“You have to find entirely new social networks in your life,” said Taylor. “That in a sense is probably the biggest obstacle for a lot of people.”