OPINION: “NeverTrump” becomes “NeverRepublican”

Conservative commentator William Kristol explained in an interview for The Post that he finds it impossible to go back to the Republican Party. “Trump’s been renominated, and liberating the party from Trump or Trumpism seems awfully far-fetched,” Kristol said. “Obviously, if he loses in November, things are in more flux. …

But I can’t honestly conceive of working with [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and [former Senate majority whip] John Cornyn and [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy.” He added: “I’m just disgusted by what they’ve been doing, really, for the last three years, that I don’t much look forward to that.” (Disclosure: I wrote pieces for Kristol when he was editor of the Weekly Standard and consider him a friend.)

There once was a friendly debate among those who used the NeverTrump moniker about whether the GOP could be “saved” or was worth “saving.” Early in the Trump presidency (if not before), I answered no; many who once spoke of reforming or reviving the party now have come around to the view it is hopeless.

I cannot speak for others, but the reason the Republican Party is not worth saving is that with few exceptions (e.g. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker), its members have fully embraced Trump and Trumpism — a noxious brew of nationalism, contempt for truth, xenophobia and an “America First” agenda. Any of these would have sent me fleeing from the party; collectively, they make it impossible to return. Sadly, my feelings toward the spineless Republicans who blindly supported Trump, opposed impeachment, enabled his lies and attacks on institutions, and have not found the nerve — even in a pandemic — to take issue with his lies, impulsive reactions and dangerous preferences can be summed up in a single word: contempt.