July 22, 2018


As a conservative, I despair at Republicans' support for Trump. His vision is not conservatism (Charles J Sykes, 22 Jul 2018, The Guardian)

Many Republicans have rationalized their support for Trump by pointing to tax cuts, rollbacks in regulation and Trump's appointments of conservative judges. But last week reminded us how many of their values they have been willing to surrender. Moral relativism and its cousin, moral equivalency, are not bugs of the Trump presidency; they are central to its diplomatic philosophy. Unfortunately, polls suggest that many conservatives are OK with that, despite the betrayal of what were once deeply held beliefs. [...]

Perhaps the best way to think about Trump's nativism and isolationism is to see them as recessive genes in conservatism that had been kept in check for generations. That also suggests another tradition exists, even if it is now in eclipse.

While it's easy (and tempting) to define a political movement by its worst aspects, it bears noting that modern conservatism also gave rise to Charles Krauthammer, Ross Douthat, Peter Wehner, Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake. In other words, it didn't have to be this way, and it doesn't have to continue in the future.

The real danger, however, in seeing Trump as the logical, organic product of conservatism is that it normalizes him. Discounting the peculiarity of his rise ignores the uniqueness of the danger he poses and the urgent need to confront the damage he is doing to the body politic and our political culture. If he is merely another Republican, there no cause for more than the usual alarm.

But last week reminded us that there is nothing normal about Donald Trump or the existential threat he represents. It is long past time for conservatives and Republicans to recognize that.

Posted by at July 22, 2018 3:42 PM