The Never Trump Movement Goes Out With a Whimper

The feisty effort to dump Trump fizzles out.

Matt Rourke/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


On Monday afternoon, after the Republican National Committee put down a last-ditch effort by delegates opposed to Donald Trump, Eric Minor was seething. The Republican Party and the Trump campaign “have operated completely dishonestly,” said the delegate from Washington state, who bitterly opposes Trump.

On Tuesday night, when Trump officially secured the nomination, Minor stood on the edge of the convention floor with a resigned expression on his face. “There’s nothing else to do at this point,” he said.

Across the convention floor that evening, as the roll call of the states was taking place, the anti-Trump movement went out with a whimper. Some anti-Trump delegates looked on in silence. Others expressed anger at the Republican National Committee, which they believed had squashed their movement in an undemocratic fashion. But few had a plan, or an appetite, to put up more of a fight.

The delegation from Alaska tried to make a final stand by objecting to how its votes had been recorded. The band launched into an impromptu musical interlude as House Speaker Paul Ryan and party officials deliberated over what to do. But after several minutes, GOP chairman Reince Priebus explained that because the other Republican candidates had dropped out, their delegates get “reallocated to the only candidate left that’s running…That’s how the rules are interpreted.” It was the last gasp of the Never Trump movement that has agitated for months to deny Trump the nomination.

Jarrod White, a Never Trump delegate from Arizona, said the next step for the movement was to “tell the story,” and that it is up to the media to “disrupt the power structure.” It wasn’t much of a plan.

Kris Hammond, a delegate from the District of Columbia, was furious Tuesday evening because the party had recorded all 19 of the district’s delegates as Trump votes, when the DC delegates had thought they would be recorded for Marco Rubio and John Kasich—the two candidates who earned delegates in the DC primary. “I’m going to suggest that we [the DC Republican party] oppose Donald Trump,” he said. “If he is not willing to respect our votes, we should not respect this nomination.”

Mainly, the Never Trump delegates now have to decide individually how to reckon with the fact that Trump is the Republican nominee. Philip Wilson, a Never Trump delegate from Washington, said he was torn about how to vote in November because he fears Trump would “subvert the values of the party.” Minor, who just 24 hours ago was spitting fire, was now contemplating what he will do on election day: pick a name to write in or choose a third-party candidate. He knew the fight was over and his side had lost.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate