GOPe to conservatives, 1988 to 2012: Look, we know our guy isn’t very conservative. Yeah, sometimes he’s even been on the other side of things. But you conservatives need to stop being such perfectionists and learn to compromise to get what you want. Our guy’s moderate positions will draw in independents and Reagan Democrats. There are even signs that he could get those minority votes we’ve been craving since forever! And the main thing is the Supreme Court; we have to win so we can keep Democrats from appointing pro-abortion justices. (Our guy will appoint people whose votes on abortion we can’t predict, because we let the Democrats make the rules, and they don’t allow a “litmus test.” But we promise they’ll be on the right side somehow, despite the historical evidence.) So hold your nose, be a team player, and vote for the guy we’re telling you can win, and we’ll sort out the rest after the victory. If you don’t, you’re a traitor to conservatism and probably don’t really care about abortion.
GOPe to conservatives, 2016: But he’s not a conservative! He’s not a conservative! We’d rather lose than elect a man who’s not reliably conservative! If you vote for him, you’re a traitor and don’t care about abortion! He’s not a conservative! Waaaaaah!
This is why some of us are enjoying the Trump campaign so much. It’s not about Trump, which is why the anti-Trump stuff rolls off like water off a duck. It’s about the way the party hacks have been telling us for years that we have to compromise our conservative principles, and now that some conservatives are doing just that for someone the party hacks didn’t choose, the butthurt is exquisite. It’s not issues. Oh, I could write a thousand words explaining why Trump is just as likely to govern conservatively as the other guys, but it’s not about anything as intellectual as that. It’s about this.