Opinion | The Last Temptation of NeverTrump

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Biden had a decent Obama-era record of opposing unwise escalations.

Personnel is policy, man! All the liberal hawks are coming back! You’ll see. And speaking of personnel, there’s nowhere you’re more ungrateful than the Supreme Court, where Trump has given you exactly what you wanted …

Neil Gorsuch, culture-war hall monitor?

Come on, no Republican president would have done better. Your big complaint was choosing Brett Kavanaugh over Amy Coney Barrett, and you’re getting Barrett, too.

And I support her elevation …

… but not the president who put her there. Oh, your hands are so clean!

Better than wading in corruption and demagogy and mass death, yeah. Can I offer some comebacks?

That wasn’t one?

I mean, it was a distillation. There are some ways that Trump has been better than I feared, and things he’s done that I wholeheartedly support. But he’s also the most corrupt American president of modern times: The liberals are wrong to see him as a dictator, but that doesn’t make his web of self-enrichment and pardons for cronies and Ukrainian abuses a good thing. He’s a bigot and an aggressive liar, he winks at violence, and he’s exacerbated one of his party’s worst tendencies, its obsession with the minor threat of voter fraud and its eagerness to throw up impediments to voting. What he’s given to cultural conservatives with the courts, he’s taken by making us seem like hypocrites and making embarrassments like Jerry Falwell Jr. the face of conservative Christendom. He’s radicalized young people and empowered some truly terrible tendencies on the left that will reshape American institutions deep into Amy Coney Barrett’s old age. And I haven’t even gotten to the coronavirus.

We’ll get to it. But you know, because you’ve written about it, that there was self-enrichment in Washington long before Trump. It was just laundered through respectable channels rather than the Trump hotels. I’ll concede that Trump is more naked about it, more impeachable. But sometimes you have to vote for the corrupt candidate when the policy stakes are more important.

And the birther candidate.

And the — look, Trump says racially offensive stuff, but he’s going to win more minority votes than he did last time, more than Mitt Romney did. You write skeptically about white liberals who have become more “anti-racist” than African-Americans, but you’re doing the same weird thing: If Trump is expanding the G.O.P.’s appeal to minorities, who are you to say he’s too racist?



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