I was dead wrong about this election.
I was wrong that Donald Trump would not win in the primaries.
I was wrong that Donald Trump would not beat Hillary Clinton in the general election.
I was wrong that the poll data was reliable; it wasn’t. I was wrong that the experts knew what they were talking about with regard to ground game; they didn’t. I was wrong that the movement of which Donald Trump bragged was just more Trumpian braggadocio rather than a real, on-the-ground mass phenomenon.
Now I pray fervently that Donald Trump proves me wrong about him as a man.
I did not vote for Donald Trump yesterday, for all the reasons I expressed yesterday in this space. I do not think Donald Trump is a good man, let alone a great one; I am concerned that he is not a conservative, that he will fail to fulfill his promises, that he will focus on useless fights, that he will engage in counterproductive ones. I am concerned that Republicans, justifiably intoxicated by victory over Hillary Clinton, will grant a halo effect to Trump that will allow him to engage in anti-conservative policies that will damage the country, and political foolishness that will damage the conservative movement with constituencies conservatives must still recruit.
But I have said for months that Trump could prove me wrong. He certainly has every opportunity to do so. He enters with a majority of Republicans in the Senate. He enters with a majority of Republicans in the House. He enters with an open Supreme Court seat, a vast majority of GOP state legislatures, and a vast majority of GOP governors. Now is the time for the vast change Trump promised.
That will require Donald Trump to change as a human being. That doesn’t mean he should lose his fighting nature – I’ve praised that for years. It doesn’t mean that he should stop channeling the outrage of Americans. But bad men never become better men when handed power, and Donald Trump was just handed the leadership of the most powerful country in the history of humanity. Will Trump feel freed from the boundaries set on him by the strictures of a presidential race? Or will Trump be elevated by his office?
I sincerely hope that it is the latter. I plan to hold him accountable if it’s the former. As I have for the entirety of the election cycle, I will praise Trump when he deserves it; I will criticize him when he does not. For the sake of America and conservatism, I hope I have nothing but praise for President-elect Donald Trump.