The battle for the soul of conservatism

Now, a thought experiment: Assume it was Barack Obama, not Donald Trump, who slandered America in an effort to defend Putin; and assume it was a liberal gathering rather than a conservative one that invited a Yiannopoulos-like individual to speak and enthusiastically justified it, which is what CPAC did before the comment celebrating pedophilia went viral. (Yiannopoulos, an admirer of Trump who refers to him as “Daddy,” has among many other things described Joe Bernstein, a media writer for BuzzFeed News, as “a typical example of a sort of thick-as-pig-sh** media Jew.”)

We all know what the reaction would have been. The right, and especially conservative media and evangelical leaders, would have gone ballistic. But Trump and his supporters are given a pass by many of the very same people who would have been (loudly) outraged if this behavior had emanated from the other side.

One explanation for such a double standard is political tribalism; the attitude that whatever is done by “my team” is defensible and that for conservatives to criticize Trump and those who support him is an act of betrayal, a sign of weakness that aids and abets the forces hostile to conservativism. Trump is being harshly criticized by the left, they argue. He doesn’t need those on the right to pile on as well. If Trump infuriates the left, this logic suggests, he is therefore deserving of support on the right.