Republican front-runner Donald Trump is now the presumptive nominee, but that doesn’t mean Never-Trumpers who oppose the billionaire are any more likely to vote for him in November.
When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) decided to end his bid for the White House after Trump’s decisive victory in Indiana, Never-Trumpers were left with virtually no options if they want to vote Republican in November.
But for many, preserving the GOP in its current state is not necessarily a priority, despite calls from some — former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott — to unify around Trump. So where do unwavering anti-Trump conservatives go now?
“I think #NeverTrump supporters stay right where they are,” RedState contributing editor Ben Howe told TheBlaze. “It’s always been about stopping Trump and nothing else. Some also supported Cruz, some supported Rubio. The only unifying theme was that Trump had to be stopped. That doesn’t change with Cruz dropping out.”
Ultimately, according to Howe, the #NeverTrump movement is singularly focused on stopping the billionaire businessman, no matter the consequence, including handing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton the keys to the White House.
— Ben (@BenHowe) May 3, 2016
“Really, we’re just trying to prevent [a Trump presidency] with the full awareness that other consequences would replace that — Hillary becoming president, for instance,” he said, suggesting that in swing states, conservatives should vote for Clinton and in blue states, the should just stay home.
Though others didn’t suggest they’d ever vote Clinton, they did make it clear they would remain steadfast against Trump. Conservative columnist and Daily Wire Editor-In-Chief Ben Shapiro told TheBlaze he will either vote third party or not vote at all.
“I have certain lines I will not cross as a voter,” he told TheBlaze. “Trump is beyond those lines, and so is Hillary.”
Instead, Shapiro said the anti-Trump faction needs to consolidate by refocusing their efforts on down-ticket races and “calling out both Trump and Hillary for their willingness to destroy the Constitution in the name of progressivism and nationalist populism.”
“We should also focus our energies on fighting the media that made both Trump and Hillary possible,” he said, “and the culture that threatens to make them permanent.”
Conservative radio show host and Resurgent writer Erick Erickson agreed with Shapiro, telling TheBlaze that he too is against voting for both Trump and Clinton, quoting British theologian Charles Spurgeon, who said, “Of two evils, choose neither.”
I oppose Hillary Clinton and her donor Donald Trump.
— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) May 4, 2016
However, when it comes to the possibility of a third party conservative candidate, Erickson didn’t seem convinced that such an option is really the best choice for voters opposed to a Trump nomination, or for the conservative movement as a whole.
“There is merit to just sitting it out and letting Trump lose so that there can then be some accountability for those who have built him up. A third party would just give them further excuses to escape blame,” he told TheBlaze, conceding that a third party choice would give voters “incentive” to show up, which would help down-ballot elections.
Additionally, conservative media mogul Glenn Beck, who last week suggested he lost some $500,000 campaigning for Cruz, offered a somber but optimistic message to fellow Never-Trumpers in a blog post late Tuesday night, encouraging them to “weather the storm.”
“Regardless of who ends up being president, we are responsible for holding them accountable to the people — to the Constitution,” he wrote. “We still owe each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor. Civilizations and societies go through waves of belief in Individual Liberty versus belief in Government.”
So, for anti-Trump voters wondering what changes now that the New York real estate mogul looks poised to secure the GOP nomination, the answer appears to be simple: nothing.
After succeeding in the Indiana Republican primary, Trump earned 1,047 delegates, followed by Cruz with 565 delegates and Ohio Gov. John Kasich with a mere 153 delegates.
In order to secure the Republican Party’s nomination, a candidate must collect 1,237 delegates.