Each week we’re publishing a new chart showing where our group of 25 right-wing pundits stand on the question of Trump, and you’ll be able to look back at past weeks to see if minds are changing. Our categories are “Voting Trump,” “Voting Clinton,” “Not Voting,” “Someone Else,” and “Inscrutable.” Someone else means either a third party candidate or a write-in. Inscrutable includes pundits who have voiced opposition to both Trump and Clinton, but are otherwise undecided, and those who are sharply critical of Trump but haven’t stated a preferred alternative. Click on a pundit’s head to see what he or she has said about the election this week. (If someone doesn’t write or speak or tweet—crazy, but possible— in a given week, we’ll assume they are “thinking…” Also: We are scouring the internet obsessively, but it’s a big place and it’s possible someone will say something that we miss. We are confident you’ll let us know in comments if so!)
Will the Inscrutables pull it together come November? Will anyone else jump on the Hillary train? Will more pundits coalesce around a third-party candidate? Or will everyone eventually fall into line for Trump between now and Election Day? Keep an eye on this weekly tracker to find out.
It was, by the standards of this bizarre campaign season, a quiet week for Donald Trump. Sure, the Washington Post reported that he hasn’t given nearly as much to charity as he said he did, by a factor of several zeros, and conservatives were utterly annoyed that he took days to respond to the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a Texas law regulating abortion clinics.
But Trump’s antics were overshadowed on the right by the Brexit vote overseas and Elizabeth Warren’s appearance with Hillary Clinton that sparked VP speculation. The most attention he got was when he gave a speech in front of a pile of garbage, and that was just because it gave everyone a chance to joke about dumpster fires.
Quietly, what appears to be a legitimate campaign to deny Trump the GOP nomination is gathering strength. Hundreds of delegates are reportedly working with a coalition of PACs and lawyers to challenge the convention rules and free the delegates from their obligation to vote for Trump.
Trump’s worsening poll numbers and refusal to behave like either a responsible adult and/or conservative are doing nothing to help him win over our pundits. This week George Will announced that he had changed his party registration from GOP to unaffiliated, and John McCain aide Mark Salter—already in the Hillary camp—wrote a withering takedown of Trump for Real Clear Politics :
He possesses the emotional maturity of a 6-year-old. He can’t let go of any slight, real or imagined, from taunts about the length of his fingers to skepticism about his portfolio. So shaky is his psyche that he’s compelled to fits of self-sabotage to defend his self-regard, as was the case in his racist, politically devastating attacks on U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel. He views the powers of the presidency as weapons to punish people who’ve been mean to him – reporters, rival candidates, critics. “They better be careful,” he warns.
While we haven’t seen much movement between columns in our pundit tracker, it’s safe to say that those in the #NeverTrump camp—many of whom we’ve classified as “inscrutable” because they haven’t stated a preferred alternative—are moving farther away from him. As the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol puts it: “It's better to stand aside from a disgrace and disaster (@realDonaldTrump) than to sanction it. But it's better still to prevent it.”
Now, on to the tracker: