#NeverTrumpers dominate media despite Trump party loyalty at historic high

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They’re called #NeverTrumpers. A group of former or current Republicans who loath President Trump so much that every day in print and on TV is an exercise in the kind of vitriol that makes most Democrats look downright timid. 

First, who are the leading #NeverTrumpers? Here’s your Top-10 in no particular order: Bill Kristol. Jennifer Rubin. George Will. Joe Scarborough. Steve Schmidt. Max Boot. David Frum. David Brooks. Bret Stephens. Ana Navarro. 

{mosads}If these names seem like they’re more ubiquitous lately, it’s because they are. Nary an hour goes by on cable news or Twitter or print media where you won’t hear or find some hyperbolic statement regarding their unfiltered feelings about the president.


And if you’re a cable news executive or producer or online publisher, nothing in political punditry seems to make for headlines-grabbing TV or clickbait better than a Republican (or in Scarborough’s, Schmidt’s and Boot’s case, former Republican) slamming a Republican president in the most deeply-of-personal terms that have little to do with tax cuts or ISIS strategy or Supreme Court nominees.

This point was underscored Sunday by The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway on Howard Kurtz’s “Media Buzz” on Fox News when discussing the seemingly growing anti-Trump movement within his own party.  

“What I’m kind of interested in is this, from a media angle, is just the predominance of Never-Trumpers that we see in newspapers and in media outlets,” said Hemingway, who also serves as a Fox News contributor. “In the real world, they represent an incredibly small fraction of the number of people. In the media world, they dominate everything. I mean, you look at newspapers that don’t have a single columnist to represent the average Republican voter, even though the average Republican voter elected the president who is in charge of a lot of stuff.” 

“These people get a lot of prominence for a pretty minority opinion and they seem to be praised by people in the media,” Hemingway concluded. 

She couldn’t have said it better. The perception in the media is that Trump’s GOP base is turning on him, that the ship is sinking via a mutiny. 

Yet, polls tell a much different story: Instead of Trump’s base imploding, it’s stronger than almost every president in history in holding an 87 percent approval rating among Republicans per a Gallup survey in June. Other major polls range from 83 percent to 90 percent among Republicans. Only George W. Bush held a higher rating at one point in his presidency among all Americans, which happened to be as the nation rallied behind him right after 9/11.

Add it all up, and Trump surpasses Kennedy, Obama, even Reagan, in terms of how faithful his party is to him at the 500-day mark of his presidency.

“Trump’s numbers and sway should be chalked up to the bond that he has forged with his supporters, and his ability to both stoke and channel their sentiments. His core is personally invested in him in a way that appears almost unparalleled,” wrote Lloyd Green in a Hill op-ed last month. Green was the opposition research counsel to the George H.W. Bush campaign in 1988 and later served in the U.S. Department of Justice. He now serves as the managing member of research and analytics firm Ospreylytics.  

But turn on cable news or go on Twitter and you’ll see the opposite sentiment from #NeverTrumpers, who would have you believe this is a president with approval ratings in the 20s (RealClear Politics shows him at about 44 percent among all Americans) while also making the argument that we have one of history’s worst authoritarians sitting in the Oval Office. 

“So in the 240th year of the independence of the United States, in three states by 78,000 votes, the American people by a fluke elected an imbecilic former reality TV show host and con man whose only affinity for reading anything were the Adolf Hitler speeches he kept on his night stand,” Steve Schmidt, former presidential campaign manager for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), declared last month on MSNBC.

“We cannot normalize the fact that Donald Trump has turned the Oval Office into a shithole — into a morally bankrupt place where there are lies and division and racism that comes out every single day,” exclaimed Ana Navarro, a CNN contributor, earlier this year. 

Trump supporters “cannot say, ‘Oh, I’m just supporting him because he’s giving them hell in Washington.’ No, he’s been openly racist, just like we said back in December of 2015, openly racist,” said MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough who, critics will note, provided Trump a mostly-friendly platform throughout 2015. 

“And if you support him, then you’re supporting that, and you are that,” Scarborough concluded in June. “It’s that simple.”  

“The speed with which we’re recapitulating the decline and fall of Rome is impressive. What took Rome centuries we’re achieving in months,” The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol proclaimed less than five months into the Trump presidency.

But when the hysterical Hilter, Stalin, Mao, Putin, Fall of Rome and KKK comparisons to Trump are proclaimed for the 200th time, the personal stuff drowns in redundancy, thereby losing its impact. 

So what’s next to keep things interesting and the TV bookings coming? 

Implore Republican audiences to show their true loyalty to party by (drumroll) voting for the other party, of course. 

This strategy was first deployed by Kristol, who wrote less than three weeks before the 2016 election that other Republican candidates should declare “Hillary will be president.”  

And the sentiment has extended into the next election via his endorsement of Oprah Winfrey. 

Other Republicans such as George Will, also an MSNBC contributor, have echoed the same in urging members of the party to vote Democratic come the November midterms.

In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Will makes the case to “Vote against the GOP this November.”
“In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him,” Will wrote. 

“I join Will and other principled conservatives, both current and former Republicans, in rooting for a Democratic takeover of both houses in November. Like postwar Germany and Japan, the Republican Party must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt,” added conservative author Max Boot in a separate op-ed in the Post.

It’s the kind of juxtaposition between reality on the ground and the shielded-from-reality bubble we’ve come to expect from the Acela Corridor media. 

Trump has loyalty from his party like we’ve never seen outside of George W. Bush, who quickly lost that loyalty once the rallying cry after 9/11 died down. 

But our media prefers to provide platforms only to a small group of rebels rather than to those who represent the nearly nine out 10 in the party who support the president. 

You want to know why our media has never been so mistrusted?  

The big stage provided to #NeverTrumpers serves as Exhibit A. 

Joe Concha (@JoeConchaTV) is a media reporter for The Hill.

Tags #NeverTrump Cable news Donald Trump Joe Concha John McCain media Trump approval rating White House

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