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During the campaign, many of the right’s self-styled political entertainers—those who once had an outsize role in popularizing conservatism—gave up on that mission to indulge in a burst of new enthusiasm.
They were soon joined by members of the right’s intellectual class, who began questioning whether conservatism itself had failed and deserved to be redefined.
Judging by Trump’s first months in office, many of these Republicans have reached an accommodation with the new political reality.
Without echoing Trump or the alt-right, they’ve backed away from defending or advancing conservatism.
At the same time, he adopted a long-standing liberal critique of conservatism as impractical, heedless, and even cruel.
To the astonishment of many Republicans, Trump’s negative characterization of conservatism resonated with millions and, in part, earned him the presidency. The first conservatives to publicly fall in with Trump came from media.
Trump’s voters believe, with good reason, that Washington’s elites don’t care about them, so they demand from Washington a gesture in acknowledgment of their plight. But appeals to emotion, however compelling, can give birth to terrible policy.
Practical conservatism is, in many ways, instinctually accepted by Americans.
Ours is a culture that cherishes self-sufficiency, prudence, and frugality.
Conservatives cannot, though, pin their hopes on the day-to-day actions of a mercurial political novice.
It is, therefore, necessary to articulate principled conservatism as it applies to modern life and the daily policy debates that consume news cycles.nder different circumstances, the election of a Republican president in 2016 might have been a moment of triumph for conservatism.