SAN JOSE — The liberal media and the #NeverTrump conservatives make a big deal out of alt-right Tweets. If you support Trump, they say, you are associated with neo-Nazi hate in social media.
OK, let’s play that game. If you oppose Trump, you’re standing with the mob outside the Trump rally in San Jose, throwing bottles at people’s heads, burning the American flag and waving the Mexican one — all while chanting, “America was never great!”
Not on Twitter, mind you. For real, and on live TV.
No, I don’t believe people should be held accountable for the distasteful — or, in this case, actually violent — things others do on behalf of a cause they happen to share in common.
But as Saul Alinsky taught: make them play by their own rules.
Because America is watching mobs burning the flag — and they understand what side of that battle Donald Trump represents.
On Tuesday, California voters will head to the polls. The Republican race ought to have been close — the last, bitter contest between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Trump. But Cruz dropped out after losing by shutout in Indiana.
So the political drama, riots aside, has shifted to the Democrats, where Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is aiming for a symbolic win even as Hillary Clinton clinches the nomination.
Not on any ballot: a National Review writer (and Iraq veteran) named David French.
But to make the leap from pundit to president — well, even Barack Obama put in some clock-watching in Springfield.
Trump has even less political experience than French, but the race already has one political outsider, and although Trump hasn’t done much more fundraising than French has, he will at least be on the ballot in all fifty states.
Yet many in the “#NeverTrump” crowd rushed to praise French on social media: “I’d vote for David French” was a repeated refrain.
It’s a purely hypothetical statement, because French has not even declared his candidacy. So all the noise amounts to is a form of “virtue signaling” — showing what a wonderful person you are because you are willing to support a conservative alternative to the interloper who has not only humbled the party establishment but also the gallery of official conservatives™.
But support for a French campaign is almost equivalent to surrender (pun intended). Not only because a serious third-party run would guarantee victory for Clinton in November, but also because it is an admission of how little power #NeverTrump actually has within the broader conservative movement.
David French ranks higher than most of us on the roster of patriots, but on the short list of presidential contenders, he is somewhere in the middle of the telephone book (remember those?).
If you are a principled conservative with a hard time accepting Donald Trump as the Republican nominee, you can only afford a protest vote if you are lucky enough to live in a deep-red state where any Republican candidate is guaranteed to win, or if you live in a deep-blue state where no Republican has an icicle’s chance in hell.
If you happen to live in a swing state, or in one of Ed Morrissey’s seven key counties, you cannot afford such self-indulgent preening at the ballot box. It matters.
Hitler analogies are too much in vogue this election cycle — even more so than usual — and we are not at civil war yet (though at this rate, who knows). But it is worth quoting what George Orwell said about pacifism:
If you hamper the war effort of one side you automatically help that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, ‘he that is not with me is against me’. The idea that you can somehow remain aloof from and superior to the struggle, while living on food which British sailors have to risk their lives to bring you, is a bourgeois illusion bred of money and security.
The #NeverTrump movement is one such illusion. You can enjoy it, as long as you live in Washington, D.C. and not in Cleveland.
Just remember that beyond that thin blue line of police, they are burning the flag, calling California “Aztlán,” and declaring America evil, even as they demand the protection of our laws.
NeverTrump: Do you really think you can sit this one out?
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.