“My country right or wrong,” is a coherent creed but not one that works in politics. If a political party abandons its principles and embraces a frame of reference that is antithetical to that of its adherents, the only logical thing for people of principle to do is to abandon the party. That’s why tens of millions of traditional Democrats abandoned their party in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s as it went down the leftist rabbit hole that mired the country in a welfare state at home and weakness abroad.The country is still mired in that welfare state at home, and weakness abroad. There is a libertarian alternative, or perhaps there can be one, if that party gets its act together (#NeverTrump #NeverHillary). The fault lines in Republican style conservatism have been present for a long time. Let the sorting out begin.
What Trump supporters want is not just for conservatives to back a less than ideal candidate who wasn’t their first choice. They are demanding that they back a man who is not a conservative on a host of issues and to acquiesce to the party changing its principles on basic economic and foreign-policy stands.
That is not a reasonable set of demands or one that persons of honor who take their political principles seriously should be willing to accept. What is happening to the GOP today is a hostile takeover of a great political party by a popular faction, similar to the takeover that turned the Democrats (once a party of internationalism and a strong America) into the party of appeasement.
Of course, the dilemma for conservatives is that there is no obvious alternative they can support. Unlike those who fled the Democrats in an earlier generation there is no smart party driven by advocates of forward-thinking and reformist ideas to embrace. Such a party was the conservative GOP of an earlier era.
For the record, I'm no fan of the national greatness strain, whether of a Roosevelt, Bush, or Trump flavor.