WSJ’s Peggy Noonan Rips #NeverTrump as Doomed ‘Private Club’

Peggy Noonan arrives to the Matrix Awards in New York, Monday, April 23, 2012. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

For the Wall Street Journal, columnist and former Ronald Reagan adviser Peggy Noonan ripped the #NeverTrump conservatives as a failed “private club.”

Noonan proposed that the intransigence of the #NeverTrump-ists risks their playing no part in the re-building of the Republican Party in the wake of Donald Trump’s triumphant candidacy.

In her article titled,”Trump Was a Spark, Not the Fire,” Noonan sensibly notes that Trump did not change the Republican Party, he was just the manifestation of changes already occurring as the party drifted toward the left, dragged there by a Democrat Party that has gone to the extreme left.

After marveling at Trump’s smashing primary success, Noonan perfectly explained how the arrogance of the media gave Trump a free hand to do whatever he wanted during this primary season.

The media, Noonan said, thought they would kill Trump and so gave him what amounted to $2 billion in free air time, all with the expectation theirs would be the hand that would kill his primary campaign. If Trump was going to die on the air from some crazy thing he had to say, the columnist explained, then each media outlet wanted his political death broadcast on their airwaves.

The one-time Reagan speechwriter also made a great comparison to how the media misread Trump from the start.

The media did this at least once before, Noonan reminded her readers. The columnist went back to how the media made Nixon Vice President Spiro Agnew a star among regular Americans by imagining they were “exposing” his idiocy when he decided to make a major speech lambasting the media. “They knew Agnew was about to make a fool of himself. Who would believe him?” Noonan wrote of how the media reacted to the famous speech.

Indeed, when Agnew gave his 1969 speech attacking the media, and with the whole of the media giving him as much air time as he wanted to sell the speech, the American public surprised the media and ate it up, turning Agnew into a folk hero — if for only a short time — with his famous taunt that the media were nothing but “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

As they have with Trump, the media only found they were hoist on their own petard.

Noonan also noted that both parties have drifted to the left, and the Democrats in particular with an off-the-scale lurch, and that this is the main reason old line conservatism has lost out in 2016.

But the columnist saved her harshest criticism for the #NeverTrumpers. Trump is not the catalyst for the party’s leftward tilt, Noonan said, and if the conservative wing is so foolish as to count itself out of supporting Trump, to “anathametize and shun those Republicans” voting for Trump, and thereby kicking out of “their” party all those who would vote for the real estate mogul, then they will find themselves on the outside looking in as the GOP remakes itself in the wake of Trump’s foray into politics.

“Conservatives love to throw conservatives out of conservatism; it’s like an ancestral tic,” Noonan says. “But great political movements should not be run like private clubs. And have the anathemitizers noticed they aren’t in charge anymore? That in the great antiestablishment disruption of 2016 they have been upended, too?”

Noonan concluded saying she thinks Trump can win, though he may have an “uphill” battle along the way. But she is sure that whether Trump wins or not, by petulantly stomping their feet and refusing to support the GOP nominee, the #NeverTrumpers are effectively cutting themselves out of any possibility their precious principles will form any part of the new GOP. As far as Noonan is concerned, conservatives should get on board or risk all their ideas being ignored entirely in Washington.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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