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Why a Magazine?

As the year ends, support the ideas that were right from the beginning.

(By cindylindowphotography/Shutterstock)

By now, our regular readers are probably familiar with the issues that have made us right from the beginning.

A foreign policy marked by restraint. A political economy that prioritizes Main Street over Wall Street. An immigration system that takes seriously the challenges of assimilation. A robust defense of faith and family. As I have reflected on the first 20 years of this publication this past year, I have found it impossible to deny TAC’s prescience regarding all the major issues driving our politics.


But as we look to build in 2023 and beyond, I want to reflect on a more fundamental question about our enterprise: Why a magazine?

Our mission remains distinct, but there are now a number of fellow travelers both within and outside the media space channeling a similar political disposition to our own. (Their ranks are growing as we are increasingly proven right.) Conservative media is home to a number of high-brow, long-form policy journals looking to chart out an agenda that meets our current moment. Likewise, many shorter-form websites are doing yeoman’s work translating these ideas for the masses.

But there is a critical gap between high and low that is still underserved by existing middle-brow publications. By providing a magazine befitting our current moment, not content to simply replay the hits from decades past, TAC seeks to fill that void.

And what a critical void that is: After all, a true middle-brow magazine of ideas is where the conservative movement has always done its thinking. National Review gave us the three-legged stool of fusionism that defined so much of the postwar consensus on the right. The Weekly Standard brought neoconservatism to the fore and helped define the Bush era.

It makes sense that the magazine is the medium to play this role, especially now. It is uniquely suited to speak both to and for local elites—those civic leaders on Main Streets across this country who have lacked a voice inside the Beltway for far too long, and who are increasingly the backbone of the American right. (See Frank DeVito’s excellent piece up on the site this week for more on the local elite.)


With the future of the right as open as it has been in decades, the right needs a new magazine to step up and provide the basis for a renewed conservative vision for America. That’s the task TAC started 20 years ago. It’s an even more urgent task now. And that’s where you come in.

Long gone are the days when magazines like ours could make ends meet on subscriptions alone. The digital age has made a seemingly endless array of media options available at the click of a button—and, in turn, made publishers reliant on generating these clicks rather than influence.

We don’t chase clicks. And we don’t answer to the whims of any one deep-pocketed owner. Instead, we rely on the generosity of our readers to support our work. Indeed, our success is due in large part to our business model.

TAC is published by the American Ideas Institute, a 501c3 non-profit. We enjoy a broad base of philanthropic support—individuals and foundations who believe in our mission of advancing a “Main Street” vision for conservatism. This model is how we can maintain our ideological independence, provide the best conservative journalism, and stay true to the mission that has guided us for twenty years.

As 2022 comes to a close, we don’t plan to slow down. We have big plans to scale our influence in 2023 and beyond. Now is the time for us to seize on our legacy and solidify our place as the definitive magazine of the right.

As you plan your year-end charitable giving, I hope you’ll consider joining us by making a gift to The American Conservative. A middle-brow magazine of ideas will be guiding the next chapter of the conservative movement. Your support of TAC ensures that that magazine is the one that was right from the beginning.


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