A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
This weekend had me thinking about how our political language has changed in the Trump age.
Fifteen years ago never talked about “never-Bushies.” Ten years ago, five years ago, we rarely heard the term “pro-Obama.” But these days, stories and segments and arguments and elections are all aligned on a pro-Trump, anti-Trump axis. And “Never Trump” has become an insult and an identity and a badge of honor like we’ve never quite seen before. Think about it: “Never Nixon” wasn’t a thing. “Never Clinton” wasn’t a thing. But “Never Trump” is an organizing principle for both the president and his opponents.
Case in point: On Sunday Trump lashed out at Jennifer Williams, a State Department employee and an aide to VP Mike Pence, after the release of her testimony revealed that Trump’s push for Biden probes struck her as “unusual and inappropriate.” Polling indicates that most Americans agree with Williams. A majority of Americans share her concerns. But her testimony under oath made her, in the mind of the president, a “Never Trumper.”
Let’s pause and recognize