The company they keep

Conservatives should think about the precedent they’re setting by tolerating allies who are, at best, white nationalist-adjacent. What should be the consequence for a Democratic politician who retweets Islamic radicals or anti-Semites? Can “very fine people” participate in a rally where marchers chant “Death to Israel!” so long as they can claim they’re just protesting Likud’s settlement policies?

But practical considerations aside, conservatives would do well to consider why so many on the pro-Trump right end up associating with white nationalist or “identitiarian” movements. Rosie Gray’s Buzzfeed profile of former Breitbart writer Katie McHugh is a disturbing story of one such person’s descent from right-wing “respectability” to open white nationalism.

Why does this keep happening on the MAGA right? It’s a complicated question, but part of the answer may be that the most effective case for Trump has been, to this point, a negative one. It admits that there is something to the criticism that Trump is crude and corrupt, but counters that the alternative is far worse. The catchphrase “But Gorsuch!” is the end of a mad lib: you fill in the first part of the sentence with whatever you don’t like about Trump, and finish it with a powerful, decisive point in his favor.

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