Mostly Peaceful Sexual Abuse

Columnist E. Jean Carroll leaves after her civil trial against former President Donald Trump on May 09, 2023 in New York City. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

Never Trump conservatives are a pessimistic bunch but there’s one point on which even many of us feel a twinge of optimism. What if one of Donald Trump’s primary opponents attacked his character and fitness for office unabashedly?

That tactic has never been tried in a campaign, at least not early enough to affect the outcome. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz each resorted to it in desperation in 2016 after Trumpmania had built enormous momentum and their own stars had begun to fall.

What if someone with the populist stature of, say, Ron DeSantis took it to Trump over his personal corruption early and often in the coming campaign, when many Republican voters might still be persuadable? Would those zombified partisans suddenly awaken after eight years to their hero’s many flaws?

The only way to find out is to try, some Never Trumpers insist, and I suppose that’s true. But I am not optimistic, as regular readers may recall.

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