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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Trump and the Decline of Conservatism

In  Defying the Odds, we explain that Trump has renounced the conservatism of Ronald Reagan.

Mona Charen at CPAC:
I’m disappointed in people on our side for being hypocrites about about sexual harassers and abusers of women who are in our party, who are sitting in the White House, who brag about their extra-marital affairs, who brag about mistreating women. And because he happens to have an “R” after his name, we look the other way — we don’t complain. This is a party that was ready to endorse Roy Moore for the Senate in the state of Alabama even though he was a credibly accused child molester. You cannot claim that you stand for women and put up with that.



Security guards had to protect her as she exited.

She then wrote in NYT:
I spoke to a hostile audience for the sake of every person who has watched this spectacle of mendacity in disbelief and misery for the past two years. Just hearing the words you know are true can serve as ballast, steadying your mind when so much seems unreal.

For traditional conservatives, the past two years have felt like a Twilight Zone episode. Politicians, activists and intellectuals have succumbed with numbing regularity, betraying every principle they once claimed to uphold. But there remains a vigorous remnant of dissenters. I hear from them. There were even some at CPAC.

A substantial number of people applauded. And as I was hustled out of the building by security, various supporters gave me the thumbs up sign.

Just before I reached the exit, a woman approached me and called my name. “That was so brave!” she told me.

She was one of my fellow panelists. I hope she’s encouraged. I am.
Richard Brookhiser at NRO:
[W]hether from design, or simply because it is the way things work, Trump’s conservative admirers have had to abandon and contradict what they once professed to hold most dear.
The most egregious example is the religious Right. The religious Right is the latest version of an old model of American politics, variously incarnated by Puritans, abolitionists, and William Jennings Bryan. It, like its predecessors, has argued that America and individual Americans need to have a godly or at least moral character to thrive. Now the religious Right adores a thrice-married cad and casual liar. But it is not alone. Historians and psychologists of the martial virtues salute the bone-spurred draft-dodger whose Khe Sanh was not catching the clap. Cultural critics who deplored academic fads and slipshod aesthetics explicate a man who has never read a book, not even the ones he has signed. Followers of Harry Jaffa, the most important Lincoln scholar of the last 60 years, rally round a Republican who does not know why the Civil War happened. Straussians, after leaving the cave, find themselves in Mar-a-Lago. Econocons put their money on a serial bankrupt.
Admiring Trump is different from voting for him, or working with him. Politics is calculation; “to live,” Whittaker Chambers told Buckley, who quoted it ever after, “is to maneuver.” But to admire Trump is to trade your principles for his, which are that winning — which means Trump winning — is all.

In three years (maybe seven), Donald Trump will no longer be president. But conservatives who bent the knee will still be writing and thinking. How will it be possible to take them seriously?
 Max Boot at WP:
The career of Dinesh D’Souza is indicative of the downward trajectory of conservatism. He made his name with a well-regarded 1991 book denouncing political correctness and championing liberal education. Then he wrote a widely panned 1995 book claiming that racism was no more, and it was all downhill from there. In 2014 he pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws. Now, as the Daily Beast notes, he has become a conspiratorial crank who has suggested that the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville was staged by liberals, that Barack Obama is a “gay Muslim” and Michelle Obama is a man and that Adolf Hitler, who sent 50,000 homosexuals to prison, “was NOT anti-gay.” He managed to sink even lower last week by mocking stunned Parkland school-shooting survivors after the Florida legislature defeated a bill to ban assault weapons: “Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs.”