All aboard the Donald Trump train

All of a sudden, we're on the Donald Trump train.

We're not sure where it's headed. It's not like any train we've seen before. The conductor seems erratic and some of the passengers are pretty scary. Still, the Trump train is leaving the station. For better or worse, we're on it.

United States Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump
Mark Lyons | Getty Images
United States Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump

We're more than a bit frustrated. Not long ago, gleaming new rail lines promised to take us—and the country—to places we longed to be. Yet one by one they closed shop before operations could begin. The Ted Cruz line—one of the most compelling—went out of business on Tuesday.

Nearby NeverTrump protesters chant "Hell, No! We won't go!" They're delusional. One way or the other, every voter is along for this ride. We empathize with their sincerity and share their fears, but we question their strategy. The country is going somewhere. They can pretend they are not responsible for the impact of their abstention, but they are making a choice that helps Hillary Clinton and—if that is where the country heads—they will arrive there along with everyone else.

"To win the finals, Team Trump needs to attract precisely the voters this mob seems most intent on alienating."

We're on the Trump train because we know where Hillary Clinton wants to go. She is committed to continuing, enshrining, and accelerating the destruction of the past eight years. She helped President Barack Obama abandon our allies, reward our enemies, empower terrorists, and vilify victims; if she wins, she promises more of the same. She cheered most of the Obama economic policies, promising even greater bureaucratic complexity and regulatory compliance; she breaks with the president only on free trade, Obama's single nod toward economic growth. And her commitment to divisive identity politics and their toxic effect on American society is, if anything, greater than that of the incumbent.

We've watched that progressive hell grow progressively worse for seven-plus years. Politics is the art of the possible. Protesting in the name of ideological purity is not only futile, it is irresponsible. At this point, a risky ride to the unknown is better than staying the course.

Yet we are nervous and uncomfortable. Much as Trump himself keeps promising a warm welcome to new arrivals, many of our fellow travelers have not internalized the message. A presidential race is serious business. To feel truly welcome, we need to find serious people, giving serious thought to the directions the country needs to go and drafting coherent plans to take us there.

Instead, this train still has too many party cars. Too many riders are self-proclaimed "winners," raucous, rowdy, loutish, and sadly pathetic. When asked, they cannot tell us what makes them winners, or even what game they think we're playing.

Their team (not they, but rather someone disciplined, ambitious, clever, and successful) won the playoffs, and like drunken sports fans they gloat and jeer. But, like the mob that mindlessly celebrates its team's victory by looting its own hometown, they are self-destructive hooligans. To win the finals, Team Trump needs to attract precisely the voters this mob seems most intent on alienating. Having fulfilled their lifelong goal of crowing "F-U!," they are reveling in that impoverished dream but unable to see how it is impeding further victories.

The incoherence and anger on display clearly seems to have played a role in fueling their champion's success. Far too many of them, unfortunately, are not life's winners. They lack jobs, skills, stable families, and prospects. They revel in the deflected glory of a billionaire who deigns to give them the time of day—more than they get from most, but a far cry from what they need.

Yes, these fellow travelers frighten us—but more than that, they make us sad. The system has abandoned them. They deserve a leader who can help them win, who can restore their confidence in their own capabilities, in their future prospects, in the country they love. They deserve a chance at personal success, not the illusion of success by mere association to another's accomplishments. They deserve a leader who can preach the tough truths of rights and responsibilities, of the hard work needed to seize opportunities. They deserve a leader who can take the country back to where it needs to be—the leader of the free world, bringing peace and prosperity to growing parts of the globe.

We hope and pray that the leader they have chosen becomes the leader they deserve. And while we remain dubious, we also know what Trump knows: to win the White House he will have to pivot. He will have to start bringing his team on board to demonstrate substance. Therein lies room for optimism.

Like the NeverTrumps, we will work with those seeking to reestablish conservatism as a cultural and political force that matters, whether as a revolution within the GOP or outside it. But one way or another, when it comes to fighting against a Clinton presidency, we are along for the ride with Trump.

Commentary by Bruce Abramson, Ph.D., J.D., and Jeff Ballabon. Abramson is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and director of policy at the Iron Dome Alliance. Ballabon is CEO of B2 Strategic where he advises and represents corporate and political clients on interacting with the government and media. He previously headed the communications and public policy departments of major media corporations including CBS News and Court TV. Follow them on Twitter @bdabramson and @ballabon.

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