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.
So that happened.
The Republican National Convention kicked off, and then proceeded to not burn down the party in Cleveland this week. On Monday, a last-ditch attempt to give voice to the anti-Trump faction of the GOP created a modicum of chaos until Rep. Steve Womack pretended that an extremely close voice vote to accept the convention rules was not close at all.
On Wednesday, Ted Cruz’s spirited non-endorsement of Donald Trump—“Don’t stay home in November; stand and speak and vote your conscience”—offered one last bright spot for disaffected conservatives and completely overshadowed a boring speech by VP pick Mike Pence.
But other than that, the convention was the slightly messy, totally brassy, substance-free coronation that you would expect when a party nominates a gauche reality-show billionaire for the presidency.
In a break from tradition, Trump appeared every night—either in person or via video. As America wondered how he would top his rock-star entrance from Monday, he walked onto the stage Thursday to accept the nomination and talked for more than an hour, delivering a pessimistic, fearmongering, bleak picture of the country he purportedly wants to lead.
Time: 74 minutes— Joe Henchman (@jdhenchman) July 22, 2016
Mentions of "freedom": 1
Mentions of "liberty": 0
Mentions of "I": 83
Our conservative pundits, not surprisingly, had mixed emotions throughout the week. Max Boot spoke eloquently on behalf of the Never Trump-ers.
I'm heartbroken to see how many friends, people I once admired,have endorsed an ignorant, dangerous demagogue for the presidency. #RNCinCLE— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) July 19, 2016
But Trump supporter Hugh Hewitt noted, probably correctly, that Trump reached his intended audience with his speech.
More than anything else, the convention showed that despite some dissent the GOP is, for now at least, Donald Trump’s party. Our pro-Trump pundits see him as the less-bad alternative to Hillary. And our anti-Trump pundits are grudgingly acknowledging the reality of Trump without demonstrating any willingness to endorse him yet. So, no movement this week.
Now, on to the tracker.