So sad, folks! A very fitting memorial to Koshervatism. May it reign forever in our hearts. https://t.co/eTF68Kg5dT— King President Blumpf (@PresidentBlumpf) October 19, 2019
We are witnessing the end of an era.
A mighty warrior for conservative liberalism has fallen.
Yesterday, David French permanently signed off at National Review to join his colleague Jonah Goldberg at The Dispatch which will compete with Bill Kristol and Charlie Sykes’ The Bulwark in the shriveling market of conservative liberal sites which no one reads anymore. Meanwhile, Rich Lowry is on NRO pimping his new book about … nationalism?
Goodbye National Review. Writing at the flagship conservative journal has been one of the great honors of my life.— David French (@DavidAFrench) October 18, 2019
Hello @thedispatch, I can’t wait to see what the future holds: https://t.co/Gy966ZbfiA pic.twitter.com/NXp5PoXSpT
What’s going on here?
We should reflect on how far we have come since George W. Bush was president. I clearly remember the days when the likes of Rich Lowry, Jonah Goldberg and Bill Kristol were ascendant on the Right. The Weekly Standard was one of the most influential news magazines.
In the 2010s, Trump was elected president on essentially our platform – restricting immigration, ending neoliberal free trade deals and withdrawing from endless wars – and The Weekly Standard collapsed. Millions of people who voted for neoconservatism when Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush were president died off and were replaced by younger voters.
Blompf hasn’t been able to follow through on that agenda. This is largely because he is one man stranded in the White House in a sea of conservative liberalism. Whether it is his own administration, the federal courts, the Deep State, Congress or outside the government in the donor class and opinion setting organs like FOX News, there is no one in the government who is really on his side. Tucker Carlson is the closest thing he has to someone who is on his side. Jared Kushner and Ivanka aren’t even really on his side on most issues.
Donald Trump is a man who has massive personal flaws. He ran for president as a Herman Cain or Mike Huckabee tier candidate. He never expected to actually win the nomination and the election. The reason that he ran for president was to promote the Trump brand. It was ultimately one big vanity project, not an ideological one. He had good political instincts though and knew which buttons to press to move the masses. He had absolutely no idea how to run the government though and so he leaned on his own family and the existing conservative apparatus.
Trump won the 2016 election because Conservatism, Inc. was hopelessly decadent and had grown out of touch with its own electorate:
The Republican coalition is united by authoritarianism and social conservatism and opposition to Left-Libertarianism. It is united by the social issues, but divided by economics. The center of the electorate is authoritarian, socially conservative and economically populist.
Look at the Trump rally in Dallas:
These people are all authoritarians.
Nationalism is rising around the world for a reason. It is because the liberal order is a disintegrating force. It is causing mounting social disintegration and economic distress in the electorate. These people are pessimists who want a strong man to restore the social order which they perceive as under threat. In better times when people feel more secure and less stressed like in the homogeneous in 1950s and 1960s, they are naturally more liberal.
We haven’t seen our day in the sun yet. Whether it is French Fry getting the pink slip at National Review after impotently railing against the Alt-Right virus in August, the “National Conservatism” conference or Trump winning the whole thing in 2016, the cake is baking but it is not yet done. For a number of reasons, it will be ready in the 2020s. It was always going to be ready in the 2020s due to the pace of changing demographics.