Last week National Review, the longtime standard-bearer of conservative thought, published a 22-part symposium contra Donald Trump, presenting a smorgasbord of reasons the infamous billionaire should not receive the votes of conservatives he has so far successfully courted. Among the contributors were pundits and professors, preachers and publishers, and almost every sort of conservative authority in between. Their arguments varied, with some citing pure policy disagreements, and others more general concerns about the impact of a potential Trump presidency. Taken all in all, the symposium advanced the idea that Trump wouldn’t just make a fumbling, buffoonish president, but that he poses a threat to American politics and conservative consensus at large.
One of the discrete fears to emerge from the symposium bears a strong whiff of old-fashioned culture-war anxiety. In particular, the articles by two of the symposium’s prominent Christians—Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and R.R. Reno, editor of the journal First Things—create a sense of culture-war deja vu, placing complaints about Trump’s vulgarity and decadence front-and-center.