This all matters, and not just because telling the truth always matters. The arguments for giving into the tribal politics of misplaced loyalty are at this point familiar: We have no other choice, hang together or hang separately, look at how great the judges are, look at how terrible the Democrats are etc. Some of these arguments are not without merit. From a conservative voter’s perspective, Trump’s judicial appointments alone are a powerful case for holding one’s nose and putting up with Trump and many of the second rate goons, trolls, and bros who’ve have risen to prominence as conservative “leaders” on the right, starting with Donald Trump Jr.
But I am not talking about voting. I’m talking about telling the truth. The problem with the argument for holding one’s nose is that at some point, many people grow weary of it and decide to put up with the stench. Some even grow to like it. How many former conservative Trump opponents have gotten used to him, even though he has proved to be precisely the man they opposed?
That’s what happens when you give in to tribalism: It starts to make sense. It even starts to feel natural—in part because it is natural. But part of what it means to be a conservative is understanding that not everything that is natural is good and not everything that is unpopular is wrong.