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Why Movement Conservatives Are Rooting for Hillary

Obviously there is a deep schism in the Republican Party. It has been developing for years, and could be seen to some extent in earlier presidential cycles, but was opened fully and dramatically by the improbable candidacy of Donald Trump. Only one outcome in November would forestall a complete, likely irreversible fracturing: the election of Hillary Clinton. Thus, many elite Republican operators—including lobbyists, elected officials, and pundits—are desperately hoping that Trump loses. Some are limited to expressing this desire privately, for fear of alienating the conservative voters on whom their continued electoral (or business) prospects depend.

Republicans who were especially devoted to Marco Rubio during the primary—whose interests align with the perpetuation of the party’s status quo—are perhaps the most strident in their wish for a Trump defeat. (Recall that the few areas where Rubio prevailed earlier this year included Washington, D.C., [1] and its Northern Virginia [2] suburbs—locations that have profited immensely from the post-9/11 military-industrial buildup.) Under a President Trump, such establishmentarian actors would lose power. Maybe they’d retain some measure of influence within the administration, as Trump exerted his deal-making prowess to bring them into the fold, but their interests would no longer be paramount. Other forces would have propelled Trump to victory, and he would likely prioritize them in governance.

After Trump’s election, many conservative organs and their congressional allies would position themselves as Trump’s enemies, coordinating with Democrats on key initiatives to block his agenda. At the same time, other conservative organs, in tandem with Trump-sympathetic factions of the Republican congressional caucus, would coalesce around the sitting president and support his agenda. Eventually, these factions’ coexistence within the same movement would prove untenable, practically and philosophically.

The result would be less overall leverage for traditional Republican institutions in Washington, the kind whose existence is premised on the maintenance of the decades-old “three-legged stool” formula—social conservatism, free markets, and hawkish foreign policy—for entrenching conservative political power. Trump would saw off one or two of the stool’s legs, and there would be no replacing them, at least not in the short term.


Though a Trump win would necessitate a realignment, it would not happen overnight. Think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation would not undergo a sudden ideological makeover; institutional inertia precludes such rapid transformation. Change would happen slowly, but surely. A president always influences the ideological composition of the body politic—within his own party and the opposition. For instance, Obama’s eight-year term has reshaped the Democratic Party coalition, and also engendered commensurate shifts within internal Republican dynamics.

Under a President Trump, the Republican congressional caucus and affiliated movement-conservative entities would be constantly wracked by internecine warfare of the type that was on vivid display during the GOP primaries. No doubt Ted Cruz would be at the forefront of whatever organized conservative opposition to Trump emerged as he positioned himself for a likely presidential primary challenge in 2020. Cruz would be well situated to pick up the mantle of “true conservatism”however that ended up getting definedand he would be able to (convincingly) blame establishment-GOP squishes for fostering the conditions that gave rise to Trump. “True conservatives” of the Cruz variety could feasibly come to include the free marketeers and conventional national-security hawks who cannot countenance Trump.

Conversely, under a President Hillary, movement conservatives could comfortably unify the party in opposition to their longstanding enemy, papering over the ideological divisions exposed by Trump. Such divisions would still exist, but dealing with them would be subordinated to the overriding task of undermining Hillary. Movement conservatives could easily discount Trump’s nomination and failed general-election run as an aberration, and revert more or less back to form. They’d probably proffer some superficial initiatives to address “Trumpism” at the urging of prominent columnists—the somber panel discussions would be manifold—but “Trumpism” as a political program is so ill-defined and malleable that, in practice, any remedial actions wouldn’t amount to much.

It should also be noted that while this schism is especially pronounced among elites—such as those with sinecures at prestigious think tanks, or lobbyists with powerful clients to please—the divisions are far less evident at the voter level. Support for Trump among Republicans is around 90 percent [3], according to recent polling. In addition to keeping the traditional movement-conservative coalition intact, a Trump loss would narrow the gap between ordinary Republican voters and conservative elites, who could unite in their disdain for Hillary. Thus, those whose livelihood depends on conservative-movement institutions have added incentive to root for a Trump loss.

In sum, Trump poses an existential threat to American movement conservatives. Hillary is their only hope.

Michael Tracey is a journalist based in New York City.

47 Comments (Open | Close)

47 Comments To "Why Movement Conservatives Are Rooting for Hillary"

#1 Comment By Curzo On September 19, 2016 @ 4:55 am

If the movement conservatives need the ‘status quo’ in order to move forward – the same ‘status quo’ that a majority of american voters are disatisfied with….then prehaps it would be for the best that Trump wins – thus breaking them so they can re-assess and re-form in a new movement.

#2 Comment By Matt On September 19, 2016 @ 5:26 am

There’s another name for ” movement conservatives ” rooting for Hillary, RINOs.
Any so called conservative that wants the Supreme Court lost for generations, losing demographic relevance to millions of illegals, such that conservatives will never have the presidency in our lifetimes, is a RINO.

Trumps policies are traditionally conservative, it’s the elite RINOs, and neocons that have deserted the true conservative base. Trump found them, Trump found the base.

The RINOs and neocons have been trying to conserve a status quo that has shifted far to the left, the RINOs and neocons are Democrats, that’s why they are rooting for Hillary.

#3 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 19, 2016 @ 5:37 am

I remain dismayed by republicans who have demanded my loyalty when voting, even when I disagreed with the policy, who are now engaged in undermining the nominee.

I just don’t get it. But if Mr. Trump (the Republicans) loses, I am going to lay the heaviest weight for that loss t their doorstep. Their moral indignation is duly noted. But the level of betrayal has really thrown me a double curve. Whatever their concerns I am unclear ho they intend to preserve the party by abandoning it and that is essentially what they are doing.

Unwilling to take any responsibility for policy failures, it seems an odd answer to attempt to destroy Mr. Trump’s candidacy. If they don’t like Mr. Trump’s personality, fine. I am hard pressed to understand how that justifies undermining his candidacy.

But if they oppose his policies, it’s clearly because the policies they hold are more in line those of the democrats. It’s as if they are using the Republican party as a wing of the democratic party. It’s not unheard of to challenge the policies of the Pres. even if he is a party member.

I just don’t get it. The think tanks and organizations that support them are not going to stop simply because Mr trump is the President.

I just don’t get it. Given the history of governance and politics, even in the Republican party there is no moral high ground here. Just a bumpy road of excuses.

#4 Comment By Matt On September 19, 2016 @ 5:44 am

” Preserving the Status Quo ” What status quo? Democrats have not been observing a status quo, all the ” movement ” RINOs have been doing is preserving leftist gains, green lighting every Obama policy.
How does green lighting Obama care, and rubber stamping every Democrat initive equal ” preserving the status quo “, it is purely selling out all conservative principles.

The so called ” movement republicans ” have sold out on every single issue, the response to that is Trump, real republicans have now made them yesterday’s men.

#5 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 19, 2016 @ 7:27 am

You hit this one out of the park, Michael Tracey! A much-needed, painfully-honest column!

#6 Comment By Andrew P On September 19, 2016 @ 7:27 am

I dispute the thesis of the article. Trump may be an existential threat to people who are paid in stock options, but he is not a grave threat to movement conservatives.

If Trump wins, The Powers That Be will pull the plug and crash the stock market before he takes office. Then all hell will break loose.

#7 Comment By Eric K. On September 19, 2016 @ 7:43 am

There have been a few high-profile Republicans who have endorsed Hillary Clinton, but this article is weakly argued. Exactly zero evidence was provided to show that “movement conservatives” are “rooting for Hillary.” I will not vote for Trump, but that doesn’t mean I’m rooting for Hillary, and it doesn’t mean Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio supporters are either. Perhaps the headline should have read “Why Movement Conservatives Could Benefit from Hillary”

#8 Comment By tz On September 19, 2016 @ 9:17 am

3 legged stool?
Perpetual quagmire wars and broken toys like the F35
Crony trade deals (I can’t get Rx from Canada) and open borders where XDR TB refugees move in next door, and Central American illegals drive without insurance.
Continued abortion, gay marriage, porn, amd now transgender bathrooms.

Paid by issuing a trillion of debt and printing.

Jobs destroyed.

Trump cannot possibly do worse than Conservatism, Inc. has since Bush 41.

#9 Comment By Lee On September 19, 2016 @ 9:34 am

So movement conservatives are liberal Democrats? That’s news to whom?

#10 Comment By collin On September 19, 2016 @ 9:39 am

In reality, how do you know an establishment Republicans will end up losing out? It is very likely Mike Pence and other members of the administration will do all the real governing work and let Trump do the selling and press conferences. Trump has already suggested good men like John Bolton should be SOS and his administration member might end up bombing Iran with administration promises of “Taking Their Oil!” And really that is the only consistent point Trump has made on Iraq which is we should take their oil. (And who knows what happens if a foreign leader insults Donald Trump…Look at the Obama reaction to the Philiphines nutcase Rodrigo Duterte and then think how Trump would react.)

#11 Comment By Clint On September 19, 2016 @ 9:46 am

Trump challenges Elitist Washington Establishment and champions Working Class Americans.

#12 Comment By JR On September 19, 2016 @ 10:39 am

This article is pretty weak tea. A better article would have asked if the “conservative movement” of the three-legged school variety is even an apt description of the movement anymore.

The GOP is a house divided because the “Free-Market” Globalist jackals betrayed the Social Conservatives’ livelihood on a profound bread-and-butter level while the Military “conservative” leg bloated on endless war on credit card. In short, there is no stool.

For the many, the GOP is no longer the sunny face of Reagan, but the clueless face of George W. Bush for whom the party still has yet to recover. Bush betrayed conservative orthodoxy endlessly, yet he remained defended by the RINO’s as “unlucky” or “well-meaning.” This showed just how much incompetence insiders would tolerate if the candidate was a kindred insider.

Had the DNC not colluded with Hillary, the grass-root Democrats wouldn’t even be facing the distasteful prospect of having to vote for her.

If the GOP has a motto that it shares with the Democrat party it is title of Libertarian P.J. O’Rourke’s chapter in “Parliament of Whores”; “To Hell with Everything, Let’s Get Rich.”

In short, crony capitalism for the elites…while the rest of the country is expected to dutifully twist in the wind of a deliberate economic prosperity bypass.

#13 Comment By Publius On September 19, 2016 @ 11:21 am

I don’t know what a “movement conservative” is, but I’m a Roman Catholic voting for Trump on principle and with a clear conscience, and I urge others to do the same.

Thinking it is somehow strategic to vote for or abet a Hillary presidency is abetting grave evil. You don’t have to be happy about Trump (I’m not), but you have a responsibility to prevent others from making it impossible for Christian children to grow up in anything other than an aggressively hostile atheist regime.

A regime which *you* will be responsible for creating. I will pray God’s mercy, for your sake.

#14 Comment By Publius On September 19, 2016 @ 11:23 am

“The RINOs and neocons have been trying to conserve a status quo that has shifted far to the left, the RINOs and neocons are Democrats, that’s why they are rooting for Hillary.”

Precisely. If these are “movement conservatives,” the only movement I see is backwards.

And off a cliff.

#15 Comment By EliteCommInc. On September 19, 2016 @ 11:50 am

“In reality, how do you know an establishment Republicans will end up losing out? It is very likely Mike Pence and other members of the administration will do all the real governing work and let Trump do the selling and press conferences.”

Not sure I buy this. But I would not be surprised if Mr. Trump doesn’t doesn’t follow his pattern of keeping doors open even to those he defeats. His one nexus point on foreign policy with those who share Sec Clinton’s policies is his robust stance n ISIS/ISIL (a potential slippery slope, in my view)

Since confiscating another’s resources is a fairly common tactic, it’s time to dispense with this as some kind strategic or moral failing.

#16 Comment By Kurt Gayle On September 19, 2016 @ 12:25 pm

In a related matter, thanks to TAC for placing at the top of today’s “Of Note” Joshua Mitchell’s excellent “Donald Trump Does Have Ideas—and We’d Better Pay Attention to Them — The post-1989 world order is unraveling. Here are 6 ideas Trump has to replace it.”


In his essay Mr. Mitchell warns that “the Republicans who vote for Hillary Clinton will not be forgotten by those who think Trump is the one chance Republicans have to stop ‘globalization-and-identity-politics-speak’ cold in its tracks.”

Indeed, the post-election knives will be out for Republicans who oppose Trump.

“Which Republicans Oppose Donald Trump? A Cheat Sheet” was published by The Atlantic 11 days ago (Sept. 8th). The Atlantic lists the positions on Trump — Yea, Nea, Soft Yea, Soft Nea, Abstain, or Undecided — of 30 Republican Elders, 17 Representatives, 26 Senators, 13 Governors, 18 Cabinet Members & Political Appointees, 29 Pundits and Opinionmakers, 12 Donors, and 5 Faith Leaders:


#17 Comment By Bob K. On September 19, 2016 @ 12:55 pm

It is not unlike the threat arising from a hostile corporate takeover.

The “movement conservatives” are worried about their jobs.

#18 Comment By Quisp On September 19, 2016 @ 1:30 pm

When Trump is elected these Rinos will be a thing of the past-not history-just a thing of the past.

#19 Comment By Jerry On September 19, 2016 @ 2:16 pm

Mr Tracey, I enjoyed your article on “movement conservatives”, an excellent exercise in pulling back the curtains of mainstream politics and the media facade that also entails it’s livelihood from the traditional Republican verse Democrat meme that the professional political class rely’s on to continue laize faire giant government.

Noting that the “Red state radio” contingent is as invested in the continuation of the right v left meme’s with little concern for actual results in policy. As the same Bush-Cheney doctrines of nation building, open borders and religion of peace mantras are now rearing their ugly heads, they attempt to co-opt the Trump revolution as the new face of “conservatism” which is just another fabrication. The Nationalism that Trump has inspired in millions of Americans FAR EXCEEDS the narrow band limited thinking of “conservatism” with it’s simplistic “right v left” (blame Democrats for everything) narrative.

People who wish to credit Republicans or conservatives with the Trump phenomena would do well to remember they have COMPLETELY FAILED at capturing a nationalist narrative and spirit in the recent past. As they stumped for their Bush/Romney/Cruz/Rubio contingency and thumbed a right-wing nose at Trumps popularity just remember they are in no way responsible for Trumps success and in fact should see in it, their own failure.

#20 Comment By Woody On September 19, 2016 @ 2:39 pm

I hear that in a speech he gave last weekend in Austin to a group, the Texas chapters of the Federalist Society, who would be most friendly to him, Ted Cruz focused on the importance of the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decisions and said, in effect, vote your conscience, but remember the Supreme Court is vitally important.

#21 Comment By Clint On September 19, 2016 @ 2:41 pm

Trump’s momentum with 90 Percent of Republican support and a number of GOP Politicals coming aboard,make these so- called “movement conservative” holdout elements less of an issue than holdout Sanders supporters are to Hillary Clinton’s stumbling campaign.

#22 Comment By JonF On September 19, 2016 @ 4:18 pm

Re: Thinking it is somehow strategic to vote for or abet a Hillary presidency is abetting grave evil.

Nonsense. And no, it is also not a “grave evil” to vote for Mr. Trump. We are talking about mere politicians, not the One Ring of Mordor. We need to divorce mundane politics from heroic fantasies.

Re: You don’t have to be happy about Trump (I’m not), but you have a responsibility to prevent others from making it impossible for Christian children to grow up in anything other than an aggressively hostile atheist regime.

Oh, good grief “Aggressively atheist”? That’s hyperbole beyond measure. Hillary Clinton was raised a Methodist and there’s no evidence she has rejected that upbringing. She is probably not an ideal Christian, but she has all the hallmarks of a liberal Yankee Christian– not an aggressive atheist. Besides which she is apt to be a one-term president– and maybe not even that. There is some sense in “living to fight another day” if the ground is poor and the battle likely to be lost or worse, a Pyrrhic victory. It’s this kind of crazy talk that makes it very hard to seek to consensus with those of the other side of various issues.

#23 Comment By Aubrey P. On September 19, 2016 @ 4:48 pm

Eric K. I agree with you 100%. I have no problem with people who are voting for Trump to stop Hillary. She is a terribly corrupt career politician who should not maintain any kind of security clearance ever again, but I don’t trust Trump. I vetted him early in the primaries and I didn’t like what I saw. He’s looking better every day and I’m sure if he keeps this up he will win the election without my help. So no I’m not voting for Trump and neither am I rooting for Hillary. This idea that people against Trump must be pro-Hillary is willful ignorance at best and intentional blame shifting at worste.

Yes there are a few misguided elites backing Hillary but they don’t represent the bulk of the republicans who can’t bring themselves to vote for Trump.

#24 Comment By Charles Cosimano On September 19, 2016 @ 5:33 pm

The reason is emminently simple. Movement Conservatives like losing. If they were to win they would have to govern and no one is crazy enough to think that the public would put up with them doing that.

#25 Comment By Fran Macadam On September 19, 2016 @ 5:44 pm

So what amounts to “movement conservatism” is found essentially in the bowels of “Warmonger Wall Street” and the Pentagram?

Forgive the scatology, but that is some movement. Hoping the electorate prescribes them a strong dose of populist Peptol Bismol.

#26 Comment By Publius On September 19, 2016 @ 6:38 pm


Nice try, but the nation is becoming immune to your wormtongue. Your problem is that you fail to understand deeper realities. You would like to think this is about reason, civility, and technique, but it is not. HRC and her ilk are using those things as ruses to soften your resistance, and it is clearly working. The political chasm is real because we disagree fundamentally about aims and ends. It is an old story, and your pish tosh blindness contributes to the problem. But it was ever thus.

Step aside.

#27 Comment By Publius On September 19, 2016 @ 7:06 pm

“This idea that people against Trump must be pro-Hillary is willful ignorance”

No, it’s political realism.

Trump is the GOP nominee. If you depress GOP turnout, you are de facto supporting an HRC victory.

In this assembly, no ignorance is required.

#28 Comment By Johann On September 19, 2016 @ 7:32 pm

There was a revolution in both parties. The Republican revolutionaries won. The Democrat revolutionaries lost. But I don’t think the Democrat revolutionaries are finished. Even if Hillary wins, we will hear more from the Sanders wing. And even if Hillary wins, there’s no way the neocons will regain control of the Republican party. Times they are a-changin.

#29 Comment By Rossbach On September 19, 2016 @ 8:12 pm

How so? Why would ordinary Republicans who are now so desperately trying to defeat Hillary Clinton join forces with those in the party leadership who sabotaged their own candidate to help elect her? I’m sorry, but I don’t get it.

#30 Comment By MichaelGC On September 19, 2016 @ 9:01 pm

So all the GOPe cares about is keeping the status quo intact so they can hang around and keep on sticking their snouts into the trough. They don’t seem to care that the reason they are having this Trump nightmare is because of the hoards of disaffected who have been cast aside by the political class. Even if Trump doesn’t win, those people are not going to go away, and the elites will eventually have to answer for their corruption and dereliction, regardless.

#31 Comment By MountainSon52 On September 19, 2016 @ 9:45 pm

“You hit this one out of the park, Michael Tracey! A much-needed, painfully-honest column!”

Oh … so insightful. My wife and I did the same analysis in June of 2015, and we’re nothing more than astute political observers with a keen grasp on basic human nature.

You’re a little behind the curve, Michael. By 16 months.

Follow the money. The Neocons have always been refugees from the statist Democratic Party, looking for the road home. Hillary is their meal ticket.

#32 Comment By Calooh Callay! On September 19, 2016 @ 11:07 pm

“there’s no way the neocons will regain control of the Republican party”

Think of all the plump little neocons in their ill-fitting blazers waddling about, dazed, shakily gripping cardboard boxes, after Trump pries the fangs of their phony “institutes”, “foundations”, and “committees” from the public tit!

Well, actually, no – would that it were! – because they’re so deeply embedded now that it’ll take a systematic purge to dislodge them.

That must be done, of course, or little will change. Rigorous enforcement of the Foreign Agent Registration and Espionage Acts will take care of some, as should have happened long since, but others will enjoy privileged sinecures here and there, or wholly unmerited civil service protections. And be sure of this: if Hillary gets in, they’ll burrow even deeper.

#33 Comment By Timetable On September 19, 2016 @ 11:20 pm

Movement conservatives support Hillary because she will continue the policies that make America a target for terror attacks and suppress the wages of working Americans.

Hillary and movement conservatives want us to stay in the Middle East forever. They want Americans to be fearful so that they can keep building an ever larger national security state. They want uncontrolled immigration in order to keep wages down for global corporations. They want global trade agreements that make it even easier for global corporations to profit at the expense of the American people.

In short, Hillary and movement conservatives have essentially the same goals.

#34 Comment By Tom W On September 20, 2016 @ 12:44 am

The democrats represent only the snobs, the Lumpenproletariat, and the Techie-Elites. The GOP establishment represents only the remaining Elites and a few Elites whose livelihoods depend on the GOP. The rest of the American public is, for the moment, hanging desperately onto the Trump-Republican “party.”
If he loses, America will no longer be the leader of the “Free World.” We will become the United Socialist States of America. Hillary didn’t write her undergrad thesis on Saul Alinsky not to have learned how to be an empress.
She will appoint justices who redefine our most important freedoms: (1) Free Speech (“hate speech” won’t be covered), (2) Freedom of Religion (you get to believe anything you want, but you’re not allowed to discuss it — per the Saudi request for the UN to outlaw criticism of “religion”). (3) Freedom of Association (clubs or neighborhoods will be required to be “diverse,” depending on the Commissariat’s preferences). (4) Freedom of Self Defense (the 2nd Amendment will be reinterpreted to allow weapons only to state militias.

#35 Comment By William Burns On September 20, 2016 @ 6:40 am

What are the huge differences between Trump’s positions and those of movement conservatives? Trump is a hawk on foreign policy, he’s endorsed the social conservative agenda whether or not he actually believes in it, and he’s on board for big upper-income tax cuts. He’s slightly less hostile to the welfare state than most movement conservatives, but movement conservatives managed to live with Bush’s Medicare expansion. A Trump administration will be staffed by career Republicans and conservatives. Despite being somewhat erratic personally, Trump is well within the Republican mainstream.

#36 Comment By William Burns On September 20, 2016 @ 10:57 am

Tom W.:

“the 2nd Amendment will be reinterpreted to allow weapons only to state militias.”

It’s almost as if they are going to smuggle in some sort of “militia clause.”

#37 Comment By cecelia On September 20, 2016 @ 12:34 pm

I’d like to see the status quo – especially re: foreign policy – up ended. But in a legal, rational manner – not by throwing everything out the window.

I simply do not see how Trump is the candidate to do this – his wildly contradictory policy statements do not suggest a man who wants to up end any status quo. His tax policies increase income for the rich by 20% and for the middle class by 1% – as per the conservative tax analysis. That sounds like more of the same to me.

He wants to increase the US military – which sounds like doubling down on the status quo.

He claims he will do unspecified really bad things to ISIS – when we are already doing very bad things to ISIS (deservedly) so more status quo there.

His immigration stuff makes no sense since he changes it daily – but it seems he is talking amnesty for illegals currently here. Status quo.

He likes low interest rates he has said – so more status quo there.

He claims he’ll renegotiate the trade deals – but he needs Congress to authorize that and Canada and Mexico to agree to renegotiate. Even if that happens – how does that create jobs in the US? Jobs have not left for the unskilled because of trade deals – they left because of automation and globalization. Status quo again.

I could go on – but it just confounds me that people think Trump is going to undo the status quo – he has benefitted from the status quo. His policies maintain the status quo.

#38 Comment By big diffs On September 20, 2016 @ 1:21 pm

“What are the huge differences between Trump’s positions and those of movement conservatives? “

Little thing called “immigration”, for starters. It’s the foundation of his political brand.

At lesser intensity there’s global trade deals that destroy American jobs, making “allies” pay for their own defense instead of leeching off the American taxpayer. There’s also the hope – a faint if not entirely absurd hope – that he will actually start firing people in Washington and prosecuting elite criminality.

#39 Comment By Eric K. On September 20, 2016 @ 2:09 pm

I think William Burns makes a great point. There’s little difference between Trump’s positions (such that he has any stable positions) and those of “movement conservatism” at the high level. The main difference is that he’s got a lot more bluster and less inhibition when it comes to speaking his mind. Some people find that attractive, others don’t.

#40 Comment By JonF On September 20, 2016 @ 4:34 pm

Re: The rest of the American public is, for the moment, hanging desperately onto the Trump-Republican “party.”

Actually no. Unless you think college educated people belong to either the elite or the snobs (they are not lumpenproletariat), Trump represents a much smaller base than you posit. Even now with, with his polls having recovered considerably from his late July collapse, he seems unable to get much beyond the 40% that has been his ceiling all along. And he is on track to lose among college-educated white people, something that has not happened with any GOP candidate for president in a very long time.

#41 Comment By JonF On September 20, 2016 @ 4:44 pm

Re: The political chasm is real because we disagree fundamentally about aims and ends.

No we don’t. Here’s a thought experiment: assemble one hundred adult Americans totally at random. Start them talking with each other about stuff that matters in life (note: not just political issues! Life is much, much more than politics). Sure, different people will privilege different things, but there will be a huge amount of overlap, and yes, agreement, in what they value. Which is to be expected: human nature is unitary, we all share in it and most of us want and value and cherish the same things at the end of the day. Our political issues do divide us– but they are really only priorities for the politicians themselves (hey, it’s their job)– and for a small minority of true fanatics on the Left and the Right both that want to control everyone’s else’s lives. The politician who realizes this, and reaches out to everyone not just to a pre-defined demographic base, will run away with the game– and reconfigure American politics permanently. Of course this may come under external duress, after unforeseen things go badly wrong while the windbags are busy shouting about trifles.

#42 Comment By Dan Phillips On September 20, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

“Think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation would not undergo a sudden ideological makeover; institutional inertia precludes such rapid transformation.”

Heritage has already seen the writing on the wall, and started to move toward a more “mainstreet” conservative economic agenda in the last couple of years or so. How much real substance there has been to this move on actually policy vs. rhetoric, I don’t know. The problem, however, is that they have remained interventionist on foreign policy.

#43 Comment By Rick On September 21, 2016 @ 9:20 am


Movement conservatives, if they are really conservative, must also be pragmatic. Hillary is an existential threat to two of the three legs of the republic: the Supreme Court and Congress. She proposes to rule ala B Hussein Obama with a pen and a phone, by executive decree. Congress which has been emasculated will finally be castrated by Hillary and her bureaucratic cronies in Justice, the IRS, etc. Hillary appointees, which the Quisling moderates will confirm, will uphold the systematic destruction of the constitution.

Trump poses a risk, but not an existential risk to the republic. Movement republicans had better stop playing ostrich and remove their craniums from their posterior orifices or go the way of the dodo. They will be an interesting museum piece of irrelevancy.

#44 Comment By Michael McHale On September 21, 2016 @ 11:42 am

It seems these conservatives are more concerned with preserving their “movement” than protecting what’s left of Judeo-Christian America from the Hilary jihad.

#45 Comment By JonF On September 21, 2016 @ 2:04 pm

Re: Hillary is an existential threat to two of the three legs of the republic: the Supreme Court and Congress.

If Congress’s power has declined Congress has no one to blame but iteslf. The propensity of Congress to engage in mere political grandstanding rather than to legislate responsibly (and within the limits of the possible) is what has begun to turn it into an American version of the House of Lords or the Imperial Diet of the Holy Roman Empire in its later years. However a fair amount of the blame must also go to the American electorate which insists on electing and reelecting these clowns rather than demanding accountability from them. “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
As for the Supreme Court, unless you wish to posit that Hillary Clinton will pull an Andrew Jackson and flat out ignore Court rulings with complete impunity (something many of us fear Donald Trump might do), or maybe refuse to appoint justices to it as openings become available, she poses no “existential” threat to the Court. (may I suggest reviewing the meaning of the word “existential”?)

#46 Comment By conservative? On September 21, 2016 @ 2:16 pm

“Movement conservatives, if they are really conservative”

But they’re not! They let the Democrats roll them on social issues every time. They don’t CARE if the Supreme Court starts throwing traditional Christians in jail. They actually WANT more immigrants. They LIKE the new elite diversity/multiculti future America.

They really only care about growing the national security state, maximizing profits for global corporations (not wages for American workers), and giving Netanyahu whatever he may be whining for at any given moment.

#47 Comment By Conserving what? On September 26, 2016 @ 9:27 am

The GOP elites have been peddling “conservative” slogans to keep us yokels pacified while they have sold us out to policies benefiting the wealthy. We have known this for quite a while, but it seemed that there was nothing we could do about it. Then along came Trump and blew the doors off and kicked in the jambs. Unlike any of the other GOP candidates presented to us, Trump has clearly identified the very issues that must be addressed. The response by his opposition has been shrill: he is crazy, he knows nothing about “policy”, he is a racist and a xenophobe, he will be the new Hitler, blah blah. But note this: neither the Democrats nor his GOP detractors have made a substantive response to what Trump has said. Not do they have policies to offer in lieu, except to maintain the status quo, which we can clearly see does not work for us and will not work for us. Is Trump killing the GOP? No, but he is killing the GOP Establishment. The GOP will endure, but the Establishment will either accommodate or go down in flames.