How to rebuild conservatism after Trump

So, after decades of being given the choice between a Democrat and a slightly-out-of-date Democrat, the fracture between conservative political institutions and conservative voters—between the elites and the rank-and-file—has split wide open. These two groups together represent the manner in which conservatives have traditionally influenced government, and it is inevitable that these types of groups exist. Not everyone can commit themselves to the day-to-day work of politics, and in a republic, those who do require the votes of those who do not. When it comes to our current working arrangement, however, voters have discovered that this deal is getting worse all the time.

If there is to be an establishment, then it cannot be the current one. In addition to the bad blood, the neocon ideology that drove it is a poor fit with the other varieties of conservatism. If there is any common ground with us at all, it lies in strong national defense. Even there, however, using global hegemony as the primary means to this end is repellent to many of us.

Neocons would be far more at home with the moderate wing of the Democratic establishment than with other conservatives. Indeed, the preference among some of them for Hillary Clinton over Trump underscores this. I embrace refusing to vote for Trump because he’s a corrupt, opportunistic liar. However, Clinton is the one candidate in the race who is as bad or worse on this score than Trump.

Any forthcoming alliance must be based on different terms.