The Slatest

#NeverTrump Pundits Take Solace in Senate Wins

It’s always darkest just before dawn, right?

Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Any presidential election is going to leave about half of the electorate angry, frustrated, or at least sad. But this year, a not-insignificant number of voters are waking up that way Tuesday. #NeverTrump voters know that they’re going to be miserable about the results no matter who wins.

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I started tracking conflicted conservative pundits back in May, many of them my kindred spirits in the #NeverTrump camp, to see where the righty intelligentsia would come down on the controversial—and not very conservative—outsider who took over their party. I’ll be taking the temperature of those pundits and others who were vocal in their opposition to Trump, to see how they are feeling Tuesday.

In his final pre-election post at Red State, Ben Howe made an impassioned plea for the Republican Party to fix itself, stat:

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Donald Trump’s ugly image is the reflection of our politics, finally coming to stare us in the face and ask us if we can live with what we’ve become. To pull that all Republican lever and reward them for failing so magnificently to adhere to the conservative principles we assigned them to protect.

I can not.  And neither should you.

I’m #NeverTrump today. But after this election, the most important thing to me is that we #NeverGoBack.

The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, the de facto leader of the #NeverTrump movement, also hints at the work ahead, but for now:

In Donald J. Trump we faced a candidate who is a repulsive person, with dangerous prejudices, who’s unfit to be president. Whatever the results tomorrow, I’m proud to have been a part of the opposition to him. We chose to fight and we were right to do so.

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Check back through the day for more updates. Newest updates on top.

7:42 p.m: It’s not the polling site controversy that Donald Trump tried to gin up, but there is definitely a problem with our voting machines, as this article Erick Erickson shared points out:

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(Yes, we know the Babylon Bee is a Christian news satire site.)

Meanwhile, with things looking good for Hillary, our pundits are moving on to the Senate, where Marco Rubio won in Florida, Rob Portman won in Ohio, and Todd Young beat Democratic retread Evan Bayh in Indiana.

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6:10 p.m.: It’s time for exit polls and cocktails. The crying-in-our-beer phase has officially begun. (Because we lose either way.)

The National Review’s Jonah Goldberg is going for the heavy stuff right away.

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The Week’s Michael Brendan Doughtery has a link to a lovely essay by a priest learning about craft cocktails. It’s more counter-programming than election related, but drink up.

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There’s apparently a cash bar at Trump’s election-night party. Because of course.

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Guy Benson gets the most important stat from the exit polling:

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Meanwhile, Charles Cooke of the National Review is looking for silver linings:

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4:04 p.m.: Exit polling is at least hinting at a smooth Clinton victory. #NeverTrumpers aren’t exactly enthusiastic, but they are ready to move on.

At the Resurgent, Josh Hammer continues on the rebuilding theme that other NeverTrumpers have been calling for:

Finally, after an election season between a woman who has been on the wrong side of every major foreign policy blunder of the past decade and a man whose coziness with the Kremlin is somewhere between merely uncanny and deeply disturbing, those who believe in the necessity of the freedom-securing post-World War II liberalized global order will need to unapologetically defend the role that American exceptionalism should play on the global stage.

As does Ross Douthat, who has been trying to reform the party since before the 2008 election, but he doesn’t sound optimistic.

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3:01 p.m.: Even if it’s over early, no one is expecting it to be pretty. John Podhoretz is wondering if Trump’s expected temper tantrum will be a nail in the coffin of whatever post-election agenda he had:

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And Ben Domenech of The Federalist issues a somber reminder that it’s not going to get better, even after it’s over:

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11:19 a.m.: Commentary’s Noah Rothman calls Trump’s campaign a “unique failure” for relying so heavily on noncollege white men and the polls show why:

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At the Weekly Standard, Stephen F. Hayes explains why he wrote in Utah Sen. Mike Lee

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Lee has refused to endorse Donald Trump. But he has nonetheless tried in good faith—in public and in private—to encourage Trump to embrace those things he considers important. And he has given serious, substantive reasons for his decision. (See my interview with Lee from the Republican National Convention this summer, here.) Opposing the nominee of your party, even one as deeply flawed as Donald Trump, takes a certain amount of political courage. And with the exception of Ben Sasse, Jeff Flake, Larry Hogan, and Charlie Baker, too few elected Republicans this year have shown it.

So, Mike Lee for President.

See more Slate coverage of the election.

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