"America needs a responsible left": A Never Trump conservative's advice to liberals

Never Trump conservative and National Review writer David French offers advice to liberals in a Trump presidency

Carrie Sheffield
March 2, 2017 4:30AM (UTC)

This Salon video was produced by Kevin Carlin

In a recent Salon Talks interview, conservative National Review writer David French gave a brief update on life since he briefly considered an independent presidential bid to challenge Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton last year.

Since Trump’s victory, French said he has been vacillating between excitement and disappointment at the new president’s governance. For example, he agrees with Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch and Trump’s desire to increase defense spending. But he is opposed to what he sees as Trump’s trade protectionism and reliance on aide Stephen Bannon.


French is a lawyer, writer and major in the United States Army Reserve, and as a “never-Trump conservative,” Salon asked French what advice he would give to liberals in the age of Trump. He mentioned the importance of progressives showing greater desire to appeal to a middle ground.

“America needs a responsible left just like America needs a responsible right,” French said. “And what do I mean by responsible left? I think what the left side of the spectrum needs to realize is it is their irresponsibility that in many ways lead to the president being Trump.”

French pointed out what he saw as the decisions by progressive leaders that helped create Trump.


“The most immediate cause, I think, was nominating Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee,” French said. “I mean here’s a person who is corrupt in so many ways, and so she could not take the moral high ground against Donald Trump. They were [two] of the most disliked, least trusted politicians in the entire United States of America.”

French, who lives in a Tennessee town and county that heavily voted for Trump, also offered free counsel to the Democratic Party.

“The first advice to the Democrats would be to nominate ethical candidates,” he said. “The second piece of advice: don’t demonize Trump supporters. There are reasons beyond racism, sexism, homophobia, and all of the other ‘isms’ that they voted for Donald Trump. There are issues and concerns that they have that there’s no rule written in stone that says the Democrats can’t meet them in the middle and address some of those concerns. But if you continue the path of polarization…you cast them as somehow morally defective people. You’re never going to bridge the gap.”


Carrie Sheffield

Carrie Sheffield is a Salon Talks host, founder of Bold and adviser to Lincoln Network. She previously wrote editorials for The Washington Times, covered politics for POLITICO and The Hill and analyzed municipal credit for Goldman Sachs and Moody's Investors Service.

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