If you opposed Donald Trump’s election to the presidency, should you refuse to serve in his administration?

Similar questions come up every four years for Democrats or Republicans being asked to join the opposing party’s team by a president reaching across the aisle. But the high number of “Never Trump” Republicans with government experience has made this a dilemma for a greater number of people.

Do not shun the Trump administration, Never Trumper Max Boot argued on Monday. A former counselor to the State Department under George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice gave the opposite advice Tuesday after interacting with the transition team: Stay away.

For some in Never Trump, these lyrics from the Clash come to mind: “Should I stay or should go? If I go there will be trouble. And if I stay it will be double.”

Others in the anti-Trump are singing an older song popularized by Johnny Mathis: “Until the twelfth of never and that’s a long, long time.”

It is not merely an academic question. Never Trump failed to block the president-elect from winning either the Republican presidential nomination or a majority of electoral votes in the general. But it did succeed in limiting the amount of Republican political talent available to Trump’s campaign.

If you were a Republican consultant wavering about whether you should climb aboard the Trump train despite your misgivings, Never Trump steeled your reserve. Some GOP campaign consultants even told me they felt working for him was stigmatized.

Kellyanne Conway is a respected Republican pollster, communications pro and campaign veteran. But she had never managed a presidential campaign before and wound up filling a vacuum left open by others in the party.

The elevation of Breitbart News’ Stephen Bannon to campaign chief executive was also likely reflective of limited options as well as Trump’s unconventional approach to politics. Bannon’s role as a chief strategist for the president-elect may now keep mainstream Republicans away from the White House, due to concerns about his combativeness toward other members of the party and whether his description of his website as the “platform for the alt-right” indicates sympathy for the racists and anti-Semites who travel under that banner.

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A dilemma for these anti-Trump Republicans is whether they are once again leaving a vacuum for others to fill, this time with much more at stake than winning or losing an election, or whether their service would “normalize” tendencies that should remain outside the political mainstream with little hope of righting the administration’s course.

“Sometimes you need to have a plan B with these guys,” said a Republican strategist uninvolved with either the Trump campaign or the White House transition.

There is widespread concern about the seemingly disorganized nature of the transition. Does this cry out for experienced hands to ride to the rescue? Or is it a warning sign that the administration will be too chaotic to save? (It is, however, worth noting that this time last week even many Trump-supporting Republicans were reasonably certain Hillary Clinton would be elected, a fact that may have contributed to whatever transition problems currently exist.)

There’s a big difference between filling campaign jobs and government ones. Many people will embrace the opportunities afforded by the latter who reject the allure of the former.

This will no doubt include at least some Never Trump stalwarts now weighing carefully whether never truly means never.

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