National Review has had many fine moments in its storied history, and its recent editorial, “Against Trump,” and symposium, “Conservatives against Trump,” certainly add to the tally. (And if you think this was NR’s first display of leadership against Mr. Trump, think again.)
I agree with the editors and the symposium contributors, as I write in my latest column, out this morning.
The nomination of Donald Trump would be a complete disaster for conservatism. It poses the very real risk of shattering conservatism’s most viable political vehicle — the Republican Party — by transforming the party into an institution that, among other things, embraces morally appalling policies (the mass roundup and forced deportation of 11 million unlawful immigrants; “You’re going to have a deportation force”) and un-American intolerance (a “total and complete” ban on Muslims entering the country) and that stokes prejudice, nativism and cruelty. Conservatism, properly understood, is motivated in large part by gratitude and aspiration. Trump’s message and agenda are motivated by anger, fear and exclusion.
The meat of my column discusses how conservatives should move forward on the policy front.
But even if GOP voters choose unwisely in 2016, it is still important for conservatives to do the hard work of crafting a policy agenda that addresses the frustrations of voters — Republican and Democratic — and that communicates that the right understands those frustrations and wants to help. This agenda should employ conservative principles and dispositions to address the realities of the 21st century and the needs of those who live in it.
And I suggest why such an agenda — which is represented, at least in part, in today’s GOP primary field — hasn’t fully caught on.
You can read the full column here. As always, your thoughts and comments are very appreciated.