It wasn’t long after our esteemed president was reelected that I began imagining the candidate for whom the country would be ready in 2016. The person wouldn’t have to be overtly Reaganesque, necessarily, but the person would need his unapologetic love of country. We were starved for that in 1979, and we’re starved for it now.
It wasn’t Donald Trump I was imagining.
Now, don’t click away. I’m not going off on him. I’ve gotten over the worst of the sting, actually. I’ve made as much peace as I’m going to make with the fact that in Trump, the Republicans may have nominated the only remotely plausible candidate that someone as disliked as Hillary Clinton could beat.
(And when I say “made…peace,” I also mean with that inevitability. She’s going to be president.)
There are many—and I mean many—people whose thoughts, views, and opinions I have respected for a long time (in some cases, decades) who are supporting Donald Trump for president. Many of those even do so enthusiastically, not reluctantly. They defend their positions. I understand their defenses. I don’t agree with them, but I understand them.
I hope that most of them understand that choosing not to support Donald Trump is also a defensible position. I hope this for our continued cordiality and affection, but also because we’ll all be sitting in the same gymnasium the morning of November 9. We’ll have questions.
As it turns out, Peter Wehner has asked some very good ones.
My Trump friends, please don’t take your anger out on me that morning. My state is oxblood red. My vote for Johnson will not have made any difference, other than that I’ll be able to point to my discontent on a television or computer screen.
I suspect, though, that how you and I came to differ so significantly is at the heart of the questions we should ask going forward. Let’s remember we were, and are, allies who disagreed—not enemies.