The thing about NeverTrumpers is that there is no Leftist equivalent.
I know that’s kind of an odd statement, but I’ll try to explain.
NeverTrumpers are a bit like Cincinnatus, or George Washington. “People who are defined by what they are not willing to do to have power” makes it sound as though I am complimenting them. It makes them sound noble, and in some sense they are. Only superficially, though. They aren’t surrenderers of much power themselves. Washington was powerful and popular and could have been king, and his alternative, the beautiful vision for which he established the precedent of peaceful transfers of American power, was the establishment of real democracy, even though it would mean the election, inevitably, of hacks, and the enactment of folly. The NeverTrumpers are only giving up mainstream conservative intellectual status, and not for a beautiful and farsighted vision, but to avoid the re-evaluation of their worldview in the face of shocking evidence of its incompleteness. What they are willing to do is to go back to a pre-2016 situation that amounted to a pack of Mean Girls eating their lunch every day, with compromise, back when such a thing existed, amounting to the Left getting what it wanted only slightly more slowly than its intellectual Young Turks could imagine it.
The Left, too, avoids the re-evaluation of their priors; it’s a human tendency. But they still aren’t similar to the Right in the main way I am talking about. During no Democratic administration has there ever been any analogue on the Left to NeverTrumpers. I can name no time when any significant and prominent component of the Left has visibly refused to go along with some clear moral dilemma to have power. I can think of no time when they have said, “We want this policy, but this one thing standing in the way that we have the power to get rid of– this part of the Constitution, this pillar of the Rule of Law, the idea of the loyalty of the Loyal Opposition– is too important to sacrifice.” If they have, it happened in private.
Public or private, the Left is willing to have unity at the cost of the society-poisoning whiny viciousness of victim politics and social media mobbing. They’re willing to condone the hounding out of office of an executive who, far from even saying anything, had merely donated to a cause opposing gay marriage, or the ruination of bakers and pizza-makers for insisting upon their right not to associate. They stoop to claiming, in essence, that hurt feelings are on a par with lynching. They have originated and nourished the idea that foolishness and poor decisions by teenagers are a matter not for a serious discussion and a teachable moment among adults, between the people in question and the people whose feelings were hurt, but for the ruining of lives and decades’ worth of work long after the emigration from the foreign country of the past. These moral dilemmas lack the personification of a President, but they are none the less equivalent in significance, if not greater, and the Left stands guilty in the spotlight.
By and large, the Left’s capacity for rationalization appears almost completely unfettered, a seemingly infinite intellectualizing force for amoral expedience. NeverTrumpers and the Left are alike in appearing to be unable or unwilling to see that the Left itself caused the pressures on the Right to come up with whatever seems necessary to counteract it. To the Right– and to me– the Left winning and getting to terraform the United States is not acceptable– full stop. NeverTrumpers are like seated passengers on Flight 93 cautioning the chargers of the cockpit to fight fair.