George Will is one of the biggest names in conservative media coverage. Will’s long-running ties to the right have earned him a prominent place in the hearts of republicans. Even those on the left admire him for his eloquent rhetorical skills. So it has come as quite a shock that he’s announced that he’s no longer a republican.
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Why Will is jumping ship is less of a mystery. He is leaving the Republican Party because of Donald Trump. It could end there, but it doesn’t. Will, who feels passionately enough about his convictions to abandon the party he’s worked for so long to support, is asking others to do the same thing.
At a Federalist Society luncheon Friday, Will gave a speech to adoring fans. But the contents were not easy to swallow. “This is not my party,” Will told the crowd. For a life-long Republican, someone who worked on President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign, these are fighting words.
Will said that House Speaker Paul Ryan’s endorsement of Trump had been the final straw in his decision to back away from the party and the presumptive nominee.
When pressed for details on how he would likely vote, Will declined to answer. We can assume Trump is out, but with Clinton looking more like a lock, Will’s choices are complicated. Many who feel similarly are still holding out hope for Libertarian Gary Johnson.
PJ Media asked Will for a direct message to conservatives, and Will offered this: “Make sure [Trump] loses. Grit [your] teeth for four years and win the White House.”
Will’s distrust of Trump isn’t new. In a recent Fox News interview, he called Trump a “real amateur in politics.”
“He seems to confuse the enthusiasm of the crowds in front of him at the moment in the high school auditorium with the larger electorate,” he said. “Whereas, in fact, crowds are definitionally not a representative selection of the American people.”
What does he predict will happen? If the gritting of teeth above are any indication, Will predicts a Clinton win.