Yet, a cottage industry in eulogies for the Republican Party, and “conservatism” more generally, has sprung up. These observers miss the point, just asthey missed the 2016 election. American conservatism isn’t dead or dying. It’s thriving, but you’d have to look outside the Beltway and the legacy institutions to see it. This once-in-a-century reformation is revitalizing a political movement that was in danger of fading into irrelevance.
What is dying, however, is the smug elitism of the old establishment and all of the gentry-class pretensions that alienated voters. Despite some high-profile gadflies who receive more media attention than their influence with voters should justify, conservatives find themselves remarkably unified. The empty ritual of high-church coastal conservatism is yielding to an intellectually deeper and politically robust small “r” republicanism that hopes to build a new political consensus from the ground up. At the heart of this movement are the millions of people of good faith who back Trump and, more important, his agenda, because they believe that it is consistent with the best of the American political tradition and that it will do more good for more people than anything else traditional Republicans or Democrats have to offer.