Trump has already exposed various pretend anti-establishmentarians, hucksters, and statists masquerading as conservatives—Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, Rick Scott, and Jon Huntsman come to immediate mind. A party without any guiding ideology or principles is a party of nothing but opportunists. This goes for party “establishment”—and that includes big donors and the RNC—which has never moved to stop Trump, although his agenda and tone stands in contrast to everything they preached in their “autopsy.”
More dangerously, it’s clear that, led by the conservative entertainment complex, many voters are willing bend their own views to match the ever-changing positions of Trump. As George Will put it recently, “quislings will multiply, slinking into support of the most anti-conservative presidential aspirant in their party’s history.” All the legitimate anger they had about failing institutions has been wasted on frauds.
It’s quite possible Reaganism is no long relevant or popular with a majority of voters on the Right. Do people believe in conservatism (widely understood) because it’s popular, or because they find some truth in it? If it’s the latter, conservatives can either chase Trump fans by attempting to make a compelling case, offer some new ideas or better arguments, or they can surrender and adopt Trumpism and reward the least classically liberal candidate in Republican Party history.
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