Dan Drezner has another suggestion for realists:
Realism has important and useful things to say about how to conduct American foreign policy. If the keepers of that paradigm want to be heard after this election cycle, they need to publicly distance themselves from Trump as soon as possible.
It’s not clear why this still needs to be done when numerous realists have explicitly denounced Trump in no uncertain terms or otherwise explained why his views should not be confused with theirs. I’m not a realist myself (though I’m often mistaken for one), but I have made much the same argument more than once. Realists and others sympathetic to their arguments have made this point again and again throughout the campaign, but somehow it still isn’t enough.
When people have rejected the claim that Trump is a realist in the past, Drezner has objected and chided realists that they should get on board the Trump bandwagon if they want to have more influence in foreign policy debates. “When will realists endorse Trump?” he asked back in February. Now he wonders when they will sign a letter denouncing him. Make up your mind.
When realists say that Trump isn’t one of them, Drezner has said they aren’t opposed to him for “realist reasons.” Now that Trump is on track for a general election debacle, Drezner is telling realists that they should get as far from Trump as they can (which they have been doing for months) if they want their ideas to avoid being discredited in the process. One might conclude from this that Drezner just wants to use Trump’s candidacy to troll realists any way he can, so that no matter which way they go he can find fault with their actions. Besides, realists aren’t rejecting Trump out of some calculation that it will get their arguments a more positive reception in the future (they know that won’t happen anyway). They’re doing it because they genuinely find Trump’s views appalling and contrary to their own.
If realism has “important and useful things” to say about how to conduct U.S. foreign policy (and I agree that it does), it will continue to do so regardless of how vocal realists are in their rejection of Trump. The point that needs to be stressed here, however, is that most realists have already publicly stated their opposition to him to one degree or another. They have made plain to anyone willing to listen that they don’t accept the superficial interpretation of Trump’s worldview that tries to conflate his preference for plundering foreign countries with a reputable foreign policy tradition committed to securing the national interest. They have no further need to distance themselves publicly from Trump because they already did so months ago. For that matter, they already were quite distant from him so long as their arguments weren’t caricatured or reduced to a crude and simplistic distortion of what they actually believe.