Don't get me wrong: I've been against Trump as a candidate since it became clear that he wasn't a conservative -- which is to say, from the beginning. That's not true of everyone, however.
The Weekly Standard's Johnathan V. Last wrote a newsletter recently about blogger Ace of Spades's move from "Trump curious" to anti-Trump. It's worth a read.
The first highlight is from Ace of Spades:
The other day a friend asked me why I was posting negative stuff on Trump. I told him, basically, that everyone has their threshold of embarrassment. I can mock the Upper Middle Class Respectable set for having what I think is a way-too-high sensitivity to embarrassment -- usually one strongly shaped by leftwing PC codes -- but everyone has their own level.
It's embarrassing, to me, that at this late date Trump can only sputter about "getting rid of the lines" at a debate when asked about his health care plan.
It's embarrassing, to me personally, when I'm repeatedly confronted with the fact that Trump still seems to not know the contents of the Sessions Immigration Plan on his own website -- the whole reason I even began to be "Trump Curious," as I term it.
If a plan could be nominated for president, I'd vote for the Sessions Immigration Plan.
It's personally embarrassing to discover that Trump is nearly entirely unaware of the only reason I entertained supporting him.
A few weeks ago I started making the case that Trumpism corrupts and this is pretty much what I was talking about. You think you're signing up for The Wall, but it turns out that you can't stay onboard the Trump train unless you agree to put up with a whole lot else. And to cling to The Wall you wind up having to make compromises left, right, and center. You end up like Sarah Palin and Scott Brown, tacitly agreeing that George W. Bush knowingly lied about WMDs in Iraq. You end up like Chris Christie, not even pretending that there's any way for Trump to enact his agenda. You wind up like Newt Gingrich, mangling history to suggest that it was Republican elites who cost Goldwater the '64 election. Or worse, suggesting that Trump is just like Reagan in that he didn't know much, either, and that the elites were against him, too.
This last bit (and Gingrich isn't the only one to make the argument, see Jonah Goldberg's column on Bill Bennett) is particularly awful because conservative intellectuals, including Gingrich and Bennett -- have spent the best part of three decades pushing back against the common misconception that Reagan was an amiable dunce. The view of Reagan as a dim-bulb is entirely the creation of a hostile mainstream media. The truth is that Reagan was an intensely intellectual -- not just intelligent, but intellectual -- man who was broadly-read and had spent a lifetime wrestling with philosophy, both political and moral. Read his letters. Read his diaries.
And now, some conservatives are willing to dynamite 30 years' worth of work spent trying to help America understand the real Reagan in an ad hoc attempt to legitimize this guy? Really? Really?
This corruption of Republican conservatism -- what there is of it -- is the part that really spoke to me. It dovetails with a spot-on analysis from Mediaite called How and Why the Conservative Media Sold Its Soul To Facilitate Trump’s Nomination. It discusses, among other things, Matt Drudge's influence on the "conservative" media and that media's need to drive eyeballs rather than focus on any sort of conservative principles.
Drudge and others are a great example of what I've been talking about: The election of Trump would cause the "right-wing" media and pundits to spend their time justifying him and defending him, even when he wasn't being conservative, thereby destroying conservatism in America.
In this way, the election of Trump would be worse than the election of Hillary or Bernie: While the latter would cause damage to America's laws and institutions, it would at least have principled opposition; the former would cause damage to the minds on which America's laws and institutions are based, which would make it harder for America to recover when its laws and institutions are damaged.
Yes, I know Hillary and Bernie would be terrible for America. But they are only a virulent and potentially fatal form of the flu. Trump is AIDS: He would help destroy our very methods of fighting back against diseases such as Hillary and Bernie.