Republicans like Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, and Bill Kristol have made a very public display of their devotion to the conservative cause. They have told everyone who would listen that their devotion to high principle prevents them from supporting the elected nominee of their party for President. This is known as a humblebrag and is designed to make the humblebragger look virtuous.
Barry Goldwater, the Arizona Senator and 1964 Republican nominee for President was known as Mr. Conservative. He, along with people like Bill Buckley and Ronald Reagan, founded and built the modern conservative movement. And he has a message for NeverTrump Republicans: Grow up.
Goldwater first ran for the Republican nomination in 1960 representing the conservative wing of the party against Vice President Richard Nixon. He lost in a close, hotly contested race. Conservative supporters wanted him to fight it out at the convention. He declined and instead said this:
We’ve had our chance: we’ve fought our battle. Now let’s put our shoulders to the wheels of Dick Nixon and push him across the line. Let’s not stand back. This country is too important for anyone’s feelings: this country in its majesty is too great for any man, be he conservative or liberal, to stay home and not work just because he doesn’t agree. Let’s grow up, conservatives.
Let’s, if we want to take this party back—and I think we can someday—let’s get to work.
I’m a conservative and I’m going to devote all my time from now until November to electing Republicans from the top of the ticket to the bottom of the ticket, and I call upon my fellow conservatives to do the same. Just let us remember that we are facing Democrat candidates and a Democrat platform that signify a new type of New Deal, far more menacing than anything we have seen in the past.
Just remember this: The Democratic party is no longer the party of Jefferson, Jackson and Woodrow Wilson; it is now the party of Bowles, Galbraith, and Walter Reuther.
NeverTrump Republicans Are Heirs Of Rockefeller Not Reagan
Conservatives would do well to follow Goldwater’s advice. He didn’t advise retreat or surrender. He advised that they recognize political reality, that they wholeheartedly support Nixon and work to elect him. He also counseled that they work simultaneously on building a conservative movement that could win the presidency. He became the nominee in 1964 and the movement he and his contemporaries built elected Ronald Reagan in 1980. In the interim Ronald Reagan was the successful 2 term governor of California.
Goldwater’s loyalty was not rewarded in 1964 when establishment Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney (Mitt’s father) refused to support his nomination. Romney even led a group who ostentatiously walked out on Goldwater’s acceptance speech. They did so, they assured the press corps, out of principle. Goldwater was too extreme, they said. Sound familiar? So, are today’s NeverTrumpers more like Goldwater, Buckley, and Reagan or are they more like Rockefeller and Romney?
Goldwater reminded conservatives that the Democrat Party of his day was the party of Bowles, Galbraith, and Reuther – advocates of big government and defenders of the New Deal. Today it is the party of Obama, Schumer, and Pelosi. And it’s why Goldwater’s words ring just as true today. Grow up conservatives. Get to work conservatives and “let’s put our shoulders to the wheels of Donald Trump and push him across the line.”