On another panel, Ramesh Ponnuru, the National Review and Bloomberg Opinion columnist, suggested he would find it hard to vote for any Democrat, regardless of his feelings about Trump. “My own principles will certainly include not voting for somebody who is complicit in grave injustice against unborn children and basically rejects all the principles that have helped make this country great,” he said.
Yet other Never Trumpers refused to rule out a Sanders vote. “There’s a lot of campaign to play out,” Finn, McMullin’s running mate in 2016, told me. “Bernie stands for things I’ve long been against and that hasn’t changed, but there’s still a practical question: Is a second term of Trump worse than a first term of Bernie?” If the senator “were to surround himself with moderates and some Republicans,” she said, she might be able to get on board.
Like Finn, Kristol plans to wait until the last minute—maybe the end of October—to make his final decision. But when pressed, he offered suggestions for how Sanders might win his vote. “Pick a moderate VP,” he said. “Make clear that he was wrong to have been as indulgent of left-wing dictators as he has been in the past. Make clear that he will work with responsible leaders in Congress.” Kristol noted that, with Bernie, “it’s not a character thing exactly like Trump.”