There’s been a debate brewing within the world of conservatism ever since Donald Trump won the GOP nomination. Some on the right bitterly oppose his divergence from Republican economic orthodoxy and are fighting to defend the role of economic markets in society against what they perceive as attacks from other conservatives.
These elites may be right to be afraid, but that’s because at heart they are more libertarian than they are conservative.
Such libertarian-minded opinion leaders have criticized Trump’s call to rule out reform (read: spending cuts) for Social Security and Medicare. They ignored his calls to dramatically increase spending on infrastructure, although some backed his support for defense-spending hikes. Crucially, they savaged his views on trade, especially his attacks on the Trans-Pacific-Partnership and NAFTA and his attraction to tariffs. For these people, Trump was not just unfit for office, but an apostate whose heresies had to be cast out of the conservative church.