....besides Mark Levin, that is, who essentially makes what I've long since labeled the "Hillary Clinton scarecrow" argument, which is essentially akin to what Winston Churchill once said about if Hitler invaded hell, he would be forced to at least make a favorable mention of the devil in the House of Commons. An argument that, ironically, I've tried repeatedly - and usually unsuccessfully - to make to Tea Partiers over the last few years when what they considered to be an "establishment" candidate was on the ballot for a particular office. The argument was always the same: Yeah, this guy/gal isn't perfect, but it's better to have somebody who'll be with us, say, 70% of the time than a Democrat who will never be with us on anything. The worst Republican is, by and large, better than the best Democrat. Politics is a zero-sum game, and thus, if nothing else, Republicans occupying seats means a Democrat won't be. Never was this argument more valid than in 2012 and Mitt Romney's run at Barack Obama. I'd like to think we could all agree now that the last four years would have been unimaginably better if President Romney had been in the White House, but too many tighty-righties - like Levin, as it happens - wouldn't listen.
Which is what I find so profoundly annoying about his making the "scarecrow" argument with regard to a candidate who isn't a conservative, isn't a Republican, isn't sane, isn't informed, isn't responsible, isn't continent and really would be as bad or worse than the Empress - and then smearing us #NeverTrumpers with attacks that far better describe him in this instance:
If you believe Hillary Clinton is virtually as off her rocker, left-wing socialist as Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), if you believe that Hillary Clinton is in part responsible for the rise of ISIS and for what took care of Benghazi and what’s taking place in Libya and that [Vladimir] Putin is on the move and that [Red] China is on the move and all the rest of it, then how the hell – how the hell could you take any steps – passively or affirmatively that would put that woman in the Oval Office?
Simple counter-question: How is this an argument for Donald Trump? Levin isn't stupid; he has to know politics well enough to understand that successful campaigns run down the opposing candidate only secondarily to making the positive, proactive case for your own. He also has to be aware that a Hillary-Trump race would be all about Trump from beginning to end, that her corrupt leftism and disasters overseen as Commissar of State and bottomless scandals would be forgotten, buried under the same insatiable tide of Trump gaffes and outrages and controversies and dramas that would make the Old Puffgut look like a Margaret Thatcher-caliber stateswoman by comparison. The free media would vanish, the press would turn on him, the four out of every five dirt/scandal stories on which they've been sitting for the entirety of the primary campaign would erupt into public view, Trump would react to them like he always does - defiantly doubling down and making each crisis even worse. His congenital lying, which is even more egregious and transparent than hers, his policy ignorance and incoherence, his leftwing instincts off of which she could effortlessly triangulate. And he'd start the general campaign with the worst negatives of any major party candidate in decades. It'd be a disaster. It's why I compare the futility of the "scarecrow" argument to the last time 'Pubbies deployed it against Nancy Pelosi in the 2006 midterms; it didn't work then, and it wouldn't work in 2016, as Mrs. Clinton's ballooning general election polling lead over Trump is indelibly illustrating.
Trump, in other words, has amply made the case against himself by simply being himself. But he has to make the case for himself by not being himself. Even if he was capable of not being himself - which he isn't - what would be the case for Donald Trump?
How could you do it under these circumstances as bad as the Republican may be, how could you stay home and allow that? Or worse, how could you vote for that? That’s a disgrace, an absolute disgrace. So you duke it out in the Republican primary process. You duke it out Republican convention. You insist that rules are rules and the rules be followed. And you call them out if they try to change them. And you fight like hell. But you do not vote for Hillary Clinton. Or you don’t not stay home. ‘Wah, my candidate isn’t nominated,’ and let the left elect their favorite candidate. Not in this election. That’s my view.
And your view is wrong, Mark, because you aren't answering my question, and the reason you're not answering my question is because you can't. You can't make the case for Donald Trump, and you know exactly why you can't, or you wouldn't be backing Ted Cruz. Just as you should know that this is not an ordinary cycle and a case of, "Wah, my candidate isn't nominated". I was a Scott Walker supporter, but I could hang the chad for any Republican in the field if it came to it on the very grounds you cite - but not Donald Trump, because Donald Trump is not a Republican. And he proves it more garishly each and every time he opens his mouth. Something I would think a principled "true" conservative would understand instinctively. Which, again, is why Levin using the "scarecrow" argument on Trump's behalf is such an insult to my intelligence.
But, for the sake of indulgence, let's try to do a tale of the tape between the least electable candidates running in their respective parties:
CHARACTER: They both lie constantly, she like a word-parsing shyster, he like a mafioso thug. They're both greedy. They're both corrupt. They're both vindictive abusers of power who would use the power of the DOJ and the IRS to destroy their enemies. They'd both be tyrants.
CONCLUSION: A wash.
FOREIGN POLICY: She's a stupid interventionist, attacking the wrong countries for the wrong reasons and doing so half-heartedly, ineffectively, and incompetently. She made a total hash of U.S. foreign policy at Red Barry's behest - the "reset button" with Russia, the "Arab Spring," Benghazi. etc. But she would at least maintain our existing alliances in some form. He, from his recent emerging pronouncements, is the love child of Charles Lindbergh and Robert Taft, touting a neo-isolationist withdrawal from NATO and our Pacific Rim alliances and an encouragement of nuclear proliferation more or less everywhere that would destabilize multiple areas of the globe simultaneously as well as eliminating whatever U.S. influence Barack Obama hasn't dismantled already. The world is already on fire because of his retreats; Trump would pour figurative bomberloads of napalm on it. Also, he's a Putin lover, he seeks a trade war with Red China, he would keep Obama's Iran nuclear "deal," he'd be "neutral" between Israel and the "Palestinians," and nobody really knows what he'd do about the Global Jihad because he never answers the question the same way twice. Plus, I just flat out don't trust anybody that mentally and emotionally unstable and unserious with the nuclear launch codes.
CONCLUSION: Slight advantage, Hillary.
TRADE: Mrs. Clinton is not a free-trader per se, but she's not militantly against it, and probably wouldn't change the status quo much. Trump promises a trade war with Red China, and probably Mexico as well over TrumpWall. This issue isn't even close.
CONCLUSION: Advantage, Hillary.
TAXES: Mrs. Clinton seeks endless across-the-board confiscatory rate increases; Trump seeks a 14.25% wealth confiscation tax, among other "revenue-raising" measures. I don't buy his supposed "tax cut" plan, which he only threw out there to get the Club For Growth off his back, and would rescind the moment he didn't need it anymore.
CONCLUSION: A wash.
ABORTION: Both are staunch supporters of Planned Parenthood; Mrs. Clinton is just more honest about it.
CONCLUSION: A wash.
IMMIGRATION: Mrs. Clinton has promised to not just retain Obamnesty, but expand it. Trump is a pie-in-the-sky border hawk out one side of his mouth and a touchback amnesty supporter out the other, only the latter of which is supported by his track record and actions as a businessman. If his border-hawk persona would discuss the issue seriously and realistically and rationally, I'd give him the edge on this issue, but I simply don't buy the snake oil he's attempting to peddle.
CONCLUSION: A wash
JUDGES: Hillary would replace Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas with more Sotomayors and Kagens; Trump would nominate his sister, the Philadelphia federal appellate court judge who is among the most rabidly pro-abortion judges in the federal judiciary, and otherwise treat judgeships like ambassadorships - perqs and rewards and payoffs for cronies and supporters. Constitutional originalism would never enter the equation under either one.
CONCLUSION: A wash.
GUN CONTROL: Hillary is for Australia-style mandatory confiscation; Trump has been a long-time gun control proponent until he decided to run for president on the Republican side and shut up about it, but he, to my knowledge, has never been as fanatical about it, but more pro forma, in the sense of "I'm a Democrat and Democrats are for gun control, so I'm for gun control" sense. So I'll throw him the sop here.
CONCLUSION: Slight advantage, Trump.
ENTITLEMENT REFORM: They both militantly oppose it.
FEDERAL DEFICIT/NATIONAL DEBT: She's for exploding both; he promises to eliminate the latter in eight years by growing the economy he says is collapsing (which it is) by 24% annually, a rate of miraculous growth not seen since the Garden of Eden. He does not say how he is going to turn a $17 trillion economy into a $90 trillion economy inside of a decade other than that we have to elect him, and then it will magically happen because he's that awesome and his fingers are that YUUUUGE. I don't know how to assess the advantage on this one because it's like measuring Lucy Van Pelt against the retarded greeter at Wal*Mart who never stops happily informing you how much he likes tater tots.
EDUCATION: For Hillary, the more federalized, the better. Trump says he wants to eliminate Common Core by devolving it from the federal level, which I think defies the laws of physics, or at least invokes the Schrödinger's Cat experiement. But let's give him one more to even up the tally.
CONCLUSION: Advantage, Trump.
HEALTHCARE: She wants to expand ObamaCare; he wants to replace it with single-payer socialized medicine, just like Barack Obama.
CONCLUSION: A wash.
Final score: A wash. Which means I cannot, and will not, vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And neither should any of you.
So the question of extending #NeverTrump to the general election is pretty much moot, because Trump would be heading for a Goldwater/McGovern/Mondale-magnitude wipeout that would render the effort unnecessary.
David French concluded his attempt at this tale of the tape thusly:
But virtually everything we do know about Trump is negative. He lies. He traffics in far-left conspiracy theories. He incites violence. He surrounds himself with thugs, cronies, and fools. He’s ignorant of the most basic realities of national security, foreign policy, and global economics. He has a decades-long record of corruption and a decades-long record of liberalism. In arguing that he’s better than [Mrs.] Clinton, his supporters now ask us to trust his current “conservative” incarnation and disregard that record. We don’t really know how he’ll handle immigration, trade, ISIS, abortion, or judges. But trust him. He’ll do better. Yes, Trump has praised single-payer health care during this election, but trust him. He’ll do better than ObamaCare.
Yes, Trump has advocated touchback amnesty and increased legal immigration, but trust him. He’ll protect American workers. Yes, Trump has supported abortion-on-demand and gun control, but trust him. He’s changed. Yes, Trump has written large checks to leftist politicians, but trust him. He’ll fight them as president. Yes, his campaign team lives in the gutter, but trust him. He’ll appoint good people.
Hillary Clinton is the most beatable likely Democrat nominee since John Kerry, and the GOP is poised to nominate the one man least likely to beat her, and the one man who would be just as bad in the White House. I don’t vote for despicable people. I don’t vote for leftists. And I will never, ever, vote for Donald Trump. He’s no better than she is.