During the campaign, Republican voters were faced with a choice. A minority felt that Donald Trump’s behavior was too indecent, his judgment too skewed by personal prejudice, and his policies were too much at odds with traditional conservative positions and a commitment to the rule of law to justify voting for him. The vast majority had a different view. While many did not care for Trump or entirely trust him, they decided that the election was a zero-sum game. If the choice was between what they knew a Democratic administration led by Hillary Clinton would do and the possibility that Trump might wind up governing like a conservative, they’d bet on the latter. In the end, approximately 90 percent of those who identified as Republicans cast their lot with Trump and that, along with other factors, made him the next president.

Who was right about Trump? Obviously, with more than a month to go before his inauguration, it’s too soon to render a judgment. But no matter which side you were on, his behavior since winning the election has given both factions reason to believe they were right.

#NeverTrump independent candidate Evan McMullin isn’t backing down on his disgust for the president-elect. In a New York Times op-ed, McMullin repeats some of the same themes he sounded during his quixotic but principled run. Trump is, he asserts, the same ignorant and authoritarian threat to the Constitution that he was during the campaign. He cites Trump’s remarks about flag burning and his unsubstantiated claims that millions of illegal voters casting ballots as evidence that proves the 45th president remains as much a foe to the truth as ever. Trump’s vaunted unpredictability; his flip-flopping and his Twitter obsession are also, the former CIA officer asserts, reminiscent of the way autocrats govern, not American presidents.

All of that may be true, but McMullin left out a salient point that Trump voters are celebrating: The cast of characters he is assembling to run the government appear to be exactly the kind of conservatives that most GOP voters were hoping would be members of his cabinet. Liberals are lamenting Trump’s picks as scary men and women of the right who are united by their desire to roll back President Obama’s policies on a host of issues. But conservatives are delighted with picks like school-choice advocate Betsy DeVos at Education, Representative Tom Price at Health and Human Services, and national security picks that are concerned about Islamism and skeptical about Iran’s intentions. Most Republicans also think the attacks on Senator Jeff Sessions as a racist say more about Democrats paying back the GOP for past attempts to derail Obama appointees than anything about the man they see as a Constitutional conservative.

Moreover, even those conservatives who despised Trump recognize the dire tone of liberal despair, which characterizes his election as a trauma comparable to 9/11 or compares the moment to the last days of Weimar Germany, as just so much partisan hysteria.

Anyone who thought Trump would stop being himself once he became president has already been proved wrong. He will be a no-rules commander-in-chief, and that will have certain advantages in terms of his willingness to cut through partisan shibboleths to get things done (i.e. the Carrier deal). It will also include drawbacks in the form of actions taken without anyone thinking through the consequences, even if his motives may be good (i.e. standing up to China) and a complete lack of concern for principles or consistency (also, the Carrier deal).

However well-founded McMullin’s indictment of Trump might be, arguments about Trump’s fitness for office are about to become moot. He will now start to be judged by his actions rather than our concerns about his past behavior. A president who foolishly retweets teenagers and flouts every existing rule of conduct might be a liability, but we’re going to have to get used to it.

Yet it may also be true that what America is about to get is a variant of the sort of standard-issue conservative Republican administration you’d expect if Mike Pence were at the top of the ticket rather than the bottom. That should bother you if you are a liberal, but it is also pretty much what all Republicans were hoping for no matter who they backed in the primaries or the general election. Unless and until Trump stops being an eccentric and unseemly president and starts actually flouting the Constitution (or, at least, flouting it more than Obama did) in ways that truly undermine the foundations of the republic rather than merely offend our sensibilities and sense of propriety, talk about authoritarianism or Nazi analogies is just leftover election rhetoric.

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