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OPINION

Where’s Our Sense of Decency?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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“Don’t you want to win?”

That’s what some conservatives are now saying to Trump supporters, convinced that Trump has no shot of getting elected in 2024.  I think they’re wrong – more on that below – but the case for supporting Trump goes beyond his viability as a candidate.  It gets to the core of what it means to be a conservative.  

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A conservative believes in morality.  He believes in right and wrong.  He believes in maintaining good character and acting virtuously even when it’s convenient not to.  Well, part of being a virtuous person is showing gratitude to those who benefit you.  And Trump arguably benefited the conservative movement to a greater degree than any Republican since Ronald Reagan.  

Among other things, he appointed three conservative judges to the Supreme Court (which led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade); inspired Republicans across the nation to speak plainly and fight unapologetically; built hundreds of miles of wall on the U.S.-Mexico border; withdrew America from the Paris Climate Accords; oversaw a booming economy; gave a voice – really a bullhorn – to salt-of-the-earth Americans; and helped destroy the legitimacy of the mainstream media.

For all this and more, he has been vilified, maligned, and libeled for seven years.  Enraged Democrats have impeached him twice – unprecedented in U.S. history – and are now trying to throw him in jail.

And how have we responded?  Are we rallying behind Trump for suffering so much on our behalf?  No, instead we’re cavalierly proposing that we cast him aside like an old dish towel.  We’re suggesting that we thank him for all he’s done for us by stabbing him in the back.

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What’s wrong with us?  Have we no sense of decency?

Many conservatives now hail Ron DeSantis as their preferred presidential candidate in 2024.  But there would be no DeSantis if not for Trump.  Trump not only helped get DeSantis elected governor of Florida, he also showed DeSantis and so many other Republican politicians that speaking your mind and violating liberal pieties is a recipe for success, not failure.  DeSantis has become a hugely popular governor thanks to following the Trumpian playbook.  And now we’re going to dump Trump in favor of DeSantis?  

It pains me to say this – because I like DeSantis – but where is DeSantis’s gratitude?  He knows he essentially owes his position and governing style to Trump, so how can he possibly run in ’24 if Trump is running?  Why hasn’t he announced, “I’m flattered by all the support I’ve been getting, but I can’t in good conscience enter the race if Trump is running – I simply owe him too much”?  

Gratitude is, to a large extent, the basis of religion and morality.  We serve G-d because everything we have comes from Him.  We honor our parents because they gave us life and nurtured us when we were helpless.  We help our neighbor in part because he helps us.  

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Conservatives intuitively know all this, but suddenly so many of them are forgetting these basic truths in their rush to “dump Trump.”

Many Republicans – especially establishment Republicans – never liked Trump.  I don’t blame them for favoring other candidates.  But what excuse do grassroots Republicans have?  How can they explain their ingratitude?

“But we want to win,” they say.

Okay, but Trump’s chance of winning are actually fairly decent.  He lost in 2020 (if he did indeed lose) by 43,000 votes across three states.  Why are conservatives so convinced he can’t overcome this tiny margin in ’24?

Besides, who’s better?  DeSantis?  Can DeSantis appeal to the blue-collar workers who handed Trump victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in 2016?  Maybe. But it’s a big maybe considering that Dole, Bush, McCain, and Romney all lost these states – states that are vital for Republicans now that New Mexico and Virginia have turned blue and Arizona and Georgia have drifted purple.

That said, winning isn’t everything.  None of us would murder someone if that were the price of winning an election.  In other words, morality comes before winning.  You can’t ascend the altar of virtue and truth by trampling on virtue and truth.  If winning an election requires throwing a man in the gutter who has arguably done more for the conservative movement than anyone else in decades, we’re better off not winning.

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A conservative is not worthy of the name if he acts as a stark ingrate.

Elliot Resnick, PhD, is host of “The Elliot Resnick Show”; author and editor of six books; and creator of www.Jews4DonaldTrump.com.

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