Short of diving head-first from atop his eponymous tower, Donald J. Trump seems unable to satisfy the Never Trump crowd.
Perhaps the most aggravating thing about Trump's mortal enemies on the Right - many of whom I have known and admired for decades - is that they refuse to take "yes" for an answer.
Former Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Senator Ted Cruz, columnist George Will, and others complain that Trump is a non-conservative, crypto-Democrat - Hillary Clinton with orange hair.
No doubt, Trump's trade policies violate conservative doctrine on the free exchange of goods and services across borders. Also, Trump's frequent inability to mute his internal monologue maddens even his most avid supporters.
However, on policy issues and political judgments, Trump has done the Right thing - only to hear catcalls from the very conservatives who should welcome his major strides in their direction.
• Start with Trump's most important choice: his pick for vice-president.
As the person who would serve a breath from the presidency, Trump selected Governor Mike Pence. The Indiana Republican was the Right's True North in Congress. He earned a 99 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union. This darling of the pro-market Club for Growth repeatedly cut taxes as governor and resuscitated the Hoosier State's economy. This socially conservative economic libertarian unites the GOP's twin wings.
• Recognizing that the Supreme Court is America's election-free Ă¼ber-legislature, Trump unveiled 11 prospective justices. The conservative Heritage Foundation recommended several of these stalwart constitutionalists. They all are affiliated with the Federalist Society, the Vatican of Rightist jurisprudence. Confirming his originalist intent, Trump said Tuesday on Hannity that he wants nominees "as close to Justice Scalia as we can get."
• Trump on Monday calmly delivered a serious, focused speech to the Detroit Economic Club. With the very significant exception of its trade-policy language, Trump's address could have been written by Bill Kristol, Charles Murray, or any other conservative thinker now sticking red-hot needles into his Donald Trump voodoo doll. Declaring "We will Make America Grow Again," Trump passionately tied Clinton's Left-wing faith to Detroit's (and America's) economic disease and then prescribed nearly every major conservative economic-reform.
• Simplify today's seven-tiered tax structure (with a top rate of 39.6 percent), down to three (maximum: 33).
• Chop corporate taxes from a crippling 35 percent - the developed world's highest rate - to a refreshing 15.
• Bury the Death Tax. "It's just plain wrong."
• "Repeal and replace disastrous ObamaCare," Trump said, "saving another 2 million American jobs."
• Impose a moratorium on new regulations until the listless economy rebounds.
• Order Washington bureaucrats to identify rules that "are not necessary, do not improve public safety, and which needlessly kill jobs," Trump said. "Those regulations will be eliminated."
• Stop the VA's fatal abuse of America's veterans and help them find dignified medical care outside this sadistic, corrupt bureaucracy.
• Terminate Obama-Clinton's job-incinerating War on Coal.
• Build the Keystone Pipeline.
• For oil and gas: Drill, baby, drill.
• Clinton "supports the education policies that deny your students choice, freedom and opportunity," Trump said in Detroit. "Our education reforms will help parents send their kids to a school of their choice."
Rather than encourage Trump - whose victory could secure these and other conservative goals after 16 years of molar-grinding Bush-Obama statism - the Never Trump crowd slaps away his extended hand.
These malcontents should help Trump develop the best conservative ideas and present them to the voters as attractively as possible. Supply-side heavyweights Arthur Laffer, Larry Kudlow, and Steve Moore helped craft Trump's economic proposal. The man who Never Trumpniks say "never listens" heeded these free-marketeers on taxes and Heritage on judges. Conservative Trump haters should do something productive: Offer the GOP nominee issues and ideas he can use to win.
Alas, the Never Trumpniks know full well that an independent alternative to Trump would split the Right and hand the Democrats the presidency. Thus, sad but true, Hillary Clinton enjoys the de facto support of a conservative fifth column.