Would conservatives be better served by Trump losing in 2020 and having to find an actual policy agenda going forward?
Yes, yes, and yes. There’s no question about that.
What would that look like?
You would get arguments outside the political class from people like Yuval Levin and hopefully me. Within the political class, people would start paying attention to those arguments. Postwar conservatism was a bookish movement—Richard Weaver’s Ideas Have Consequences and Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman—that evolved into a network of intellectual think tanks like American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, and the Heritage Foundation.
I think we’ll have that again. There will be younger writers and younger politicians, and we’ll have a genuine fight to see what comes next. There are signs of intelligent life in Congress, which knows it has delegated its job to presidents who will not always be progressives. But first, we have to clear the ground and remove this awful presence from our lives.