The defeat of Never-Trump Conservatives is getting too obvious to ignore! So What Happened?
Here’s Trump talking about the resignation of Justice Kennedy and his opportunity (at the beginning of this interview):
Emerald Robinson thinks that, if Donald Trump appoints another conservative Supreme Court Justice, which now looks likely, it will be the final collapse of the Never-Trump Conservatives. Robinson is the chief White House correspondent for One America News Network, and she asks if these Never-Trump Conservatives ever represented American Conservatives. In the case of the “Neoconservatives,” the answer is obviously no. But even more ideologically Conservative pundits were in a seperate cultural class from the majority of Conservative voters.
She writes in the American Spectator, “The Collapse of the Never-Trump Conservatives.”
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Looking back, it now seems self-evident that conservative pundits were preposterously out of touch. (Who isn’t amused by the poindexter pretentiousness of George Will’s bow-ties or the pseudo-scholarly piffle of Jonah Goldberg’s byline as “the inaugural holder of the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty?”). These intellectuals barely noticed the opioid crisis running through small town America; or the base’s anger regarding illegal immigration; and they were adamantly opposed to any restriction of free trade while working class frustrations mounted over NAFTA and its ilk. (This explains why J. D. Vance and his book Hillbilly Elegy was Washington’s must-read book of 2017: it provided a portrait of rural America that the political class could digest without condescending to visit such places or talk to such voters.) It turns out that conservative intellectuals, living inside the “Acela Corridor” and funded exclusively by think tanks and foundations, are poor barometers of Republican voter concerns.
This myopia has several causes. The first is a kind of cultural “capture” that occurs when conservatives live in blue districts and big cities too long. They become, in other words, clueless (RINOS). The second reason is more obvious: many of these people are paid to be openly hostile to Trump’s agenda. The free trade absolutists at AEI and Cato are on salary to oppose any protectionist trade policies. Likewise, hawkish interventionists such as Max Boot knew they had no professional future once Trump’s isolationist instincts became policy.
There is also a low-testosterone, dilettantish strain of conservatism that has overdeveloped in the “mainstream” media to create such sterile hybrids as Michael Gerson and George Will and David Brooks. Nothing sunk these so-called wise men lower in the estimation of their fellow conservatives than their blithe indifference to the Clintons’ gangsterism. While Trump threw wild verbal haymakers at Hillary at campaign rallies, these intellectuals were basically on TV announcing they would be accommodationists for the Clinton Machine’s inevitable victory. Trump’s base was fighting a war; these guys were sipping tea. The contrast in styles of conservatism was stark: it was the pugnacious billionaire against the stuffy wimps.
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