Nathaniel Blake was a fairly solid NeverTrumper. The senior contributor at The Federalist didn’t cast a vote in the 2016 presidential election, and while he says he did spend Nov. 8, 2016, having “a few drinks” while enjoying Hillary Clinton’s defeat, he wasn’t exactly a big supporter of the current president.
In a piece at The Federalist last week, however, Blake said the Kavanaugh hearings have made him go “from ‘Meh’ to ‘MAGA!'”
“In some ways, I was” wrong about Trump, Blake wrote. “He has kept his promises on judges, for instance. In other ways I think my low opinion of him has been thoroughly vindicated. Thus, in writing for The Federalist, I have defended President Trump and criticized him, sometimes in the same column.”
“I have also criticized the die-hard Never-Trumpers who are willing to jettison conservatism to pursue their vendetta against Trump,” he continued. “Like many Trump-skeptical conservatives I tried to call things as I saw them. Sometimes I was pleased with Trump’s policy, and sometimes I was appalled by him. I do not disavow any of what I wrote. Nonetheless, I now support Trump’s reelection.”
The difference, Black said, was caused by the Democratic tactics during the fight over the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“To use the word du jour: I have been radicalized. The enormity of the efforts by the Democrats and their media allies to destroy Brett Kavanaugh forced me to reconsider my views. The concerns I have about Trump’s character, temperament, and propensity to damage America’s cultural and political institutions are still there, but I am supporting him anyway.”
That’s because, according to Blake, “the Democratic Party and its media allies are controlled by people who view conservatives not as political opponents to be voted down, but as enemies to be personally destroyed.”
“Trump will say anything, but Democrats will do anything,” he wrote. “They and their media allies smeared a universally respected judge with an impeccable record as a serial sexual predator on evidence that would not have justified an indictment. They repeatedly lied and hid evidence in order to create delay (e.g., Christine Blasey Ford’s supposed fear of flying).
“In the end, the evidence against Kavanaugh consisted only of the dubious testimony of a woman who could not recall basic details like a time or a place, whose story changed repeatedly, and whose witnesses remembered nothing of what she claimed. But Democrats did their best to forever brand him as a sexual predator anyway. They did not want a serious, confidential investigation; they wanted to publicly grind him into the dirt while the mob howled for his head.”
“First of all was simply trying to evaluate (Trump’s) performance fairly after he was elected,” he said. “Because I wanted him to do well. I was skeptical, but I wanted him to do well. And I think his judicial picks in particular have been excellent. He’s kept faith with his promises to the conservative movement there.
“And then the final straw that really pushed me over the edge was the abominable Democratic behavior during the Kavanaugh fight, where they had these lurid smears that he was running a gang-rape ring in high school and things like that.”
Blake was hardly the only Never-Trumper getting aboard the Trump train. Perhaps the most prominent example was Erick Erickson, who spent the entirety of the 2016 election cycle equating Donald Trump to something like an admixture of Benito Mussolini, Don Rickles and a plague of locusts. Now, he says he can see himself voting for the president in 2020, if only because of what the Kavanaugh confirmation process has revealed.
“I have long been critical of Republicans who abandoned principles to stand with Trump and I am as critical of Republicans who abandon principles to oppose Trump,” Erickson wrote in an Oct. 5 piece.
“Principle should stay because people go. The Kavanaugh nomination has been clarifying in this regard. Seeing some conservatives willing to aid and abet character assassins because Trump nominated Kavanaugh is disgusting.”
It isn’t just the Democrats or Never-Trumpers that drew Erickson’s ire, either.
“The political press has behaved as co-conspirators with the Democrats in the Kavanaugh matter. They have clearly been fully co-opted,” he argued. “Reporters are planting their flags with the so-called Resistance and donning pink hats instead of defending truth and reporting facts. There is much in this present political age about which I am uncertain. But there is one thing about which I am absolutely certain. President Trump is not my enemy and too many progressives view me as theirs.”
This Twitter post from the Los Angeles Times was a good example of how slanted the coverage was.
"Republicans are saying: your voices just don't matter. Your experiences, your trauma, your pain, your heartache, your anger — none of that matters. Their message is, 'we don't have to listen. We don't have to care. Sit down and be quiet.'" https://t.co/03E2apeDKd
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) October 6, 2018
Blake’s arguments were much the same as Erickson’s.
“I would rather be arguing about the Enlightenment than jumping on the Trump train. As a writer and scholar I want to persuade, not to destroy. I do not want American politics to be like this,” he wrote.
“But as a voter who recognizes the unfortunate realities of our politics, I believe supporting Trump has become the responsible choice. Things may change, but right now Trump’s policies are better than I expected, he is not the authoritarian some feared, and he does not want to destroy me and mine. It isn’t much, but since Trump stands between me and those who would ruin me, he will have to do.
“This is about self-defense. And that is why I’ve gone from ‘Meh’ to ‘MAGA!’”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.