Monday, March 04, 2019

Book: Never Trumpers have 'failed'

By Paul Bedard  | Washington Examiner

They have fought him for three years, establishment conservatives dubbed Never Trumpers who view President Trump with disdain and disgust.

One of their leaders, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, once spoke more harshly of Trump than the president’s former lawyer Michael Cohen did at the explosive congressional hearing. 

But in a new book that pulls no punches on Trump, the wilting Never Trump movement is declared dead, marginalized by GOP supporters who see the president as needed medicine “to deal with lethal tumors of the status quo.”

What’s more, in " The Case for Trump," out March 5, author Victor Davis Hanson concluded that Trump has united the Republican Party like few before him and is in better shape going into the 2020 re-election campaign than were recent presidents including Barack Obama.

“In counter intuitive fashion, the provocative and often off-putting Trump proved to be a far more effective uniter of his party than had any prior elected populist maverick,” wrote Hanson, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

The Case for Trump," published by Basic Books, is one of the first attempts to shoot between the Trump-hate and Trump-love books. Hanson wrote that he hasn’t even met Trump.

Maybe for that reason Trump has already tweeted encouragement for it, making the 391-page book an Amazon presale best-seller.

A key feature is an analysis of the Never Trump movement. Hanson calls it an equal to the liberal “Resistance,” and said both have fallen flat as Trump has kept his GOP support at 80 percent by boosting the economy, making good on trade and foreign policy promises, and attacking the “swamp.”

He wrote, “Like the Resistance, the Never Trumpers failed in all their political aims at removing or delegitimizing Donald Trump.”

Hanson described the Never Trumpers as “orphaned from the Republican Party, wrong about the Trump nomination and election, mistaken that Trump’s record would be insubstantial or liberal, and convinced that the more invective would bolster their predictions.”

The book heralded many of Trump’s actions, like the “economic miracle” that has created millions of jobs and a tough America-first foreign policy, as reasons the president has kept his coalition strong despite his sometimes offensive traits.

“True, most of the country continues to see Trump as near-toxic chemotherapy, but half the nation also felt that such strong medicine was still necessary to deal with the lethal tumors of the status quo,” he wrote.

And he concluded that it’s working for Trump, putting him a good position for reelection despite a “90 percent” anti-Trump media.

Hanson cited the 2018 election results, where the GOP lost control of the House but added to the Senate majority, for perspective on the reelection campaign.

“By historical standards, Trump’s wins and losses meant that he had performed better in his first midterm election than had Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Both former presidents had gone on to win handily their reelections,” he wrote.