Why Beltway Conservatives Hate the Trump Populists, by Ryan McMaken

If Trump has lost the election, his supporters will be drawing up their own lists. Beltway conservatives will be at the top of the list; people hate traitors even more than the enemy. From Ryan McMaken at mises.org:

The 2020 election has put on display a growing rift within the conservative movement and the Republican Party. As theWashington Examiner notes this week, “The dividing lines have only deepened since media organizations called the election for his challenger Joe Biden.”

This rift is between populist Trump supporters and the old conservative establishment.  The traditional gatekeepers of conservatism tend to wield wide influence within the Republican Party. The current group of editors, pundits, and columnists came to power in the days when George W. Bush was president and the conservative movement looked very different.

The Two Sides of the Divide

Therefore on one hand are the Trump populists, who are focused on elements of a culture war and who back a relatively restrained nationalistic view of foreign policy. They view themselves as being essentially locked out of institutions of governance by the “deep state” and other elements of the permanent government. They view themselves as beleaguered, and as such they employ a more aggressive tone and posture toward those—with the exception of close allies—who presently occupy positions of power. On the other hand are the mainline conservatives, who view themselves as the “reasonable” ones or as “the adults in the room.” They are generally comfortable with the status quo and seek a stable political system within which they hope to soon wield power. Unlike the Trump supporters, these conservatives are heavily focused on foreign policy and the frequent and aggressive use of state power in the international sphere. They downplay domestic policy and culture war issues, preferring to instead embrace a position of tepid opposition to the Left’s legislative agenda.

How the Old Guard Lost Control of the Conservative Movement

In practice, outside the areas of immigration and foreign policy, the differences between these groups are relatively minor. The rift is largely one of culture and tone and preferred tactics.

But the divide is nonetheless very real, and at some point early in the Donald Trump presidency the anti-Trump conservatives from the old guard realized they had lost control of the movement they once dominated.

The flagship publication of the conservative movement had long been National Review, for instance, but during the 2016 campaign, NR had declared its everlasting enmity toward Donald Trump, devoting much of the magazine’s January 2016 issue to a feature titled “Against Trump.”

Continue reading→

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.