We used to like Mitt Romney for the obvious reasons (tall, great hair, the dog story). Now, thanks to Donald Trump, we have a better reason: Romney is the only Republican willing to pay the cost of defying Trump. And as Trump stomps through Washington, taking out people like Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman, Romney’s act exposes the gap between the sanctimonious opportunism of Never Trumper Republicans and the courage of men and women who actually have something to lose by dissenting.

Let’s face it, in Establishment circles, there’s no cushier ride than being an anti-Trump Republican pundit. Liberals dote on them, and, in the safety of the greenroom, plenty of ostensibly pro-Trump Republicans roll their eyes and agree with them.

How much longer must we watch the Never Trumpers as they canter from MSNBC to the Council on Foreign Relations and back, braying outrage over Trump’s lies and utter crudeness—yet doing nothing?

How much longer must we watch the Never Trumpers as they canter from MSNBC to the Council on Foreign Relations and back, braying outrage over Trump’s lies and utter crudeness—yet doing nothing?

When it comes to tainted political operatives—like Steve Schmidt, the John McCain campaign manager who helped make Sarah Palin possible, or neocons like Eliot A. Cohen and Bill Kristol, chicken hawks who agitated for the war in Iraq—all past sins are forgiven by the Left, as long as they feed the longing to hear the Never Trump chorus. Even the warmongering John Bolton wins hosannas because he seemed willing to bear witness against Trump. It doesn’t matter if the apostates in question favor lower taxes, higher military spending, and “entitlement reform.” So long as they say over and over that Trump is a monster, it’s music to the ear, like hearing a priest criticize the Vatican.

But dissident priests have to renounce their vows, turn in their vestments, and give up the prestige and protection of the Church. After Attorney General William Barr disregarded their sentencing recommendations for Roger Stone, four prosecutors resigned from the case in protest. Meanwhile, Schmidt, Kristol, and conservative newspaper columnists like Bret Stephens of The New York Times—a climate-change skeptic who draws the line at Trump—lose nothing and gain power from their anti-Trumpism: they are lionized at Georgetown cocktail parties; they earn fat speaking fees and cable-news contracts and lucrative consulting gigs. (Schmidt likely made a bundle advising Starbucks founder Howard Schultz on a presidential bid that never materialized.)

Cronyism and Self-Dealing

Democrats hold their own to higher, impossible standards. But they’ll accommodate any Trump-bashing Republican, no matter their previous work in the black arts. Last month, the CNN host Don Lemon shed tears of laughter listening to Rick Wilson, a political consultant who helped Giuliani not win the Republican nomination for the 2000 Senate race in New York, mock Trump’s “credulous-boomer-rube demo.”

And it’s this kind of smug quid pro quo that helps explain Bernie Sanders’s momentum. Even voters who have no interest in socialism and are O.K. with income inequality (it’s a living) are fed up with the cronyism, entrenched interests, and craven self-dealing that still drives Washington—with or without Trump.

So, this week we reached out to people who write against the grain. Our friend Lee Siegel looks at what’s missing from the coverage of the murder of Tessa Majors, the Barnard student who was attacked in Morningside Park. Roger Parloff explains how a new court ruling that was intended to nail insider traders could also be used to prosecute whistleblowers and reporters. (Don’t worry, the attorney general doesn’t subscribe to Air Mail.)

We also have another look into Melania’s private diary. And, as an experiment, we asked our Instagram columnist, Cazzie David, to live without her smartphone for an entire week.

The results? For those and everything else, read on.