The Corner

Can Nationalism Be Conservative–and Inclusive?

Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam have written an excellent essay on how conservatism can change and prosper.

[Trump’s] primary-season base was more working class and less religious and libertarian than is usual for Republican nominees, and his campaign trafficked in overtly populist rather than ideologically conservative appeals: protectionist talk on trade and immigration, an “America First” foreign policy vision, a promise to protect Social Security and Medicare and an unsubtle emphasis on white identity and white nostalgia.

Of course Trumpism is also a celebrity-driven cult of personality, forged by its leader’s unique reality-television appeal. This has made it relatively easy for the Republican Party’s leaders to hope that his campaign is sui generis, that when he loses in November (as most of them still expect) there won’t be a coherent Trumpism after Trump.

In the short term, they might be right: In 2018 and 2020, Republican politics might return to an uneasy normalcy.

But if Trump’s working-class supporters were voting as much for the man as for his message, they were also clearly voting against a party leadership that pays them lip service while ignoring their concerns. . . .

I recommend reading the whole thing.
 

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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