Some of the most famous members of the Never Trump Republican crowd may have painted themselves into a corner. The most famous among them sanctimoniously vowed to vote for a Democrat just to get Trump out of office. But now, Sen. Bernie Sanders is looking like the safest bet to be the Democratic nominee, and the Never Trumpers are weighing a vote for an avowed socialist.
Here are some of the most interesting ways the high-profile former Republicans took the news:
Max Boot has perhaps gone further than any other Never Trump former-Republican. Arguing he was doing it to preserve his principles, Boot joined the Democratic Party so as to defeat Trump.
Republicans have turned their back on conservative principles to become a cult of personality for an aspiring authoritarian. All voters with a conscience should now turn their back on the Republican Party. My @PostOpinions column: https://t.co/IebHdLmKJW
— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) November 25, 2019
While Boot is now cautioning Democrats against nominating Sanders, he is not doing so over the principles he abandoned Republicans to protect. In fact, he admits that Sanders’ vision for America is the ideal, a vision he shares.
“When you’re on a ship that’s sinking, it’s not time to rhapsodize about how someday you’ll build a super-yacht with all the amenities. Nor is it time to debate who will command that imaginary vessel. It’s time to grab a bucket and start bailing water — pronto. That’s where we are today,” Boot wrote. “The ship of state is taking on water at an alarming rate. It’s Mayday time as President Trump continues to poke holes in the hull — the rule of law — that has kept U.S. democracy afloat for almost 244 years.”
In this construction, Sanders is the super-yacht, a far-off goal Boot shares but believes just isn’t practical at the moment.
“I’m sending out an SOS — Save Our System! If a Democrat doesn’t win the White House in November, our democracy will be endangered,” Boot continued. “I will vote for any Democratic nominee — even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is now the front-runner after a narrow victory in New Hampshire. But I devoutly hope Democrats do not nominate Sanders. He is a risk we cannot run at this moment of peril.”
It is unknown which principle, aside from the success of Max Boot, is served by both the conservatism of Sen. John McCain and the socialism of Sanders.
Not presumably forever; not perhaps for a day after Nov. 3, 2020; not on every issue or in every way until then. But for the time being one has to say: We are all Democrats now.
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 1, 2020
Bulwark editor-at-large Bill Kristol may call himself a Democrat, but he clearly doesn’t like where the party is headed. He went so far as to start a now-failed campaign to organize Independents in New Hampshire to vote against Sanders in the Democratic primary.
“We’re trying to save the nation from a choice between Trumpism and socialism,” Kristol told the NHJournal. “We’re reminding conscientious Americans who want a good alternative to Donald Trump that they can help increase the chances of having such an alternative in November by participating in the Democratic nominating contest over the next weeks and months.”
As Sanders’ campaign continues to reign above the deflated competitors of Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Kristol and his Never Trump crew are wondering just what kind of train they hopped on.
Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post:
Washington Post Columnist Jennifer Rubin is no fan of Republicans, but ever since Sanders’ surge in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, she has frantically been trying to get Democrats to come to their senses.
“It’s not only that Trump has to lose, but that all his enablers have to lose. We have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party,” she has argued. “We have to level them because if there are survivors, if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again.”
and the non-college educated
— Jennifer Rubin (@JRubinBlogger) December 18, 2019
Despite it all, Sanders continues to ride atop the polls.
But unlike our first contender, Rubin hasn’t said outright that she’d be willing to vote for Sanders.