Last month, Mollie Hemingway, the Fox News contributor and senior editor at The Federalist, declared herself a Donald Trump supporter for the first time. “I wasn’t a Trump supporter,” the headline of her Washington Post op-ed stated. “I am now.”
She cited his actions on judicial nominees, climate policy, regulatory reform, tax cuts, guidelines on how colleges should adjudicate sexual assault, and foreign policy.
Large swaths of the Republican Party and the conservative movement have now reconciled themselves to supporting President Trump, including figures far more famous, powerful, and influential than any journalist. A strong case could be made that this particular endorsement didn’t really change anything, especially since its author was already openly anti-anti-Trump in her orientation.
Still, if the GOP loses the ability to win elections during the next decade because its leadership has lost the trust of too many people in too many groups—Latinos, blacks, Asian Americans, Muslims, immigrants, anti-racists, anti-sexists, citizens who worry about the minimum civic virtues a republic requires to thrive—I will recall her endorsement as an illustration of how it happened.
None of the beliefs she affirmatively endorses is deplorable. Indeed, if all Americans were like Mollie Hemingway, neither racism nor sexism would be a problem in America. But it matters that thought-leaders like her no longer consider deplorability a dealbreaker. They can no longer be trusted to oppose racism or sexism. With a civic arsonist in the White House, they decline to summon the fire department.