Both Mona Charen and Jonah Goldberg make some fine points in response to conservatives who are defending Donald Trump on the basis that he is bringing blue-collar voters, or at least white blue-collar voters, into the Republican party. Both of them concentrate on the substance of Trump’s policies. Mona notes that Trump’s protectionism would set back the nation’s interests rather than make it great, and Jonah notes that some of these same conservatives have gone hammer and tong after proposals to appeal to working-class voters without resorting to protectionism or doing violence to conservative principles.
I’ll just add that the argument both writers are taking on is essentially one about electability: The reason we would care about getting all these new voters is, presumably, to win general elections. And it’s an argument that is being made about the candidate whom all available measures suggest is the least electable of the remaining Republican candidates. The claim that Trump is bringing a lot of new blue-collar white voters to the party is overstated–high turnout appears to be more a function of a highly contested multicandidate race than of his strong appeal–but even if he is, in the electorate as a whole he seems to be repelling more voters than he is attracting.