Is Rush Limbaugh betraying conservatism with Donald Trump?

Limbaugh’s anger at the Republican “establishment” also derives from his commitment to conservative principles. As Friedersdorf acknowledges, the radio master “couldn’t help but observe the ways in which a series of Republicans he championed, from Newt Gingrich to George W. Bush to Tom Delay, cynically exploited movement conservatives, only to disappoint them time after time after time.”

Limbaugh is not kidding himself — the radio champion of conservatism never deigns to pretend that Trump is a National Review kind of guy. But he is willing to bolster the media mogul’s image as an anti-establishment maverick, either because he identifies with him or because he just hates the “in-crowd” enough to allegedly betray conservatism.

Friedersdorf pointedly declares that Limbaugh “no longer considers conservatism the most important factor in elections.” Instead, “the impulse to destroy the establishment drives him more than any conservative vision.”

This is unfair, but not without a hint of truth. Friedersdorf is right about Limbaugh hating an enemy of conservatism so much as to risk the defeat of conservative ideas, but it’s not the Republican establishment. Limbaugh’s real enemy is the Democrats.