A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it. – William F. Buckley
This guy gets it:
Despite firing every weapon in their arsenal, the conservative pundit class failed to thwart Donald Trump’s conquest of the Republican Party. They, and especially those who carried the banner of #NeverTrump during the final months of the GOP primaries, face a dilemma: Get behind Trump, hoping to defeat Hillary Clinton and at least wield some influence in Washington, sit out the election (or even support Clinton) — or break with the GOP and back a third-party candidate.
Although it is late in the year to organize a new campaign without an existing party’s label, conservatives like Bill Kristol are actively pitching the idea. Such an effort would be a total fiasco for conservatives.
No matter the candidate, a third-party presidential nominee dedicated to conservative purity would be an absolute electoral failure.
Conservative elites, who speak for some number of principled Republicans, despise Trump because he is not a “true conservative.” They are right about that; he is not really a conservative.
But they are wrong to believe this represents a major electoral problem for him.
To be a true, unpolluted conservative in America today, one must be a free-market purist, a believer in limited government, a cultural traditionalist and a superhawk on foreign affairs. Never mind that these principles are only loosely connected. And forget that the conservative intellectual movement was an ideological marriage of convenience based on the sociopolitical circumstances of the early Cold War. The important point now is that Trump is not sincerely attached to those positions.
To conservative elites, that’s apostasy; these core principles are supposed to be nonnegotiable.
What they miss is that, while Trump is not a consistent conservative, neither is your average Republican voter. When it comes to actual policy preferences, Trump’s nativism and economic populism are a much better match for rank-and-file Republicans than the “Jack Kemp model” of Republicanism promoted by Paul Ryan and The Wall Street Journal.
Donald Trump and Scottish government butt heads about windfarm
If we look at what Republicans in the electorate actually tell pollsters, we cannot miss the disconnect between what the GOP has been selling for years and what GOP voters have been champing at the bit to buy.
A quick review of the 2012 National Election Study, a joint project of Stanford and the University of Michigan, demonstrates this. The Republican rank and file are not opposed to new taxes on high earners (62% supported tax increases on millionaires); fewer than one in 10 wanted to cut spending on Social Security; 63% supported restrictions on foreign imports.
On social issues, Republican voters are also more moderate than the conservative elites that claim to speak for them. In 2012, fewer than one in five Republicans nationwide wanted to ban abortion in all circumstances. A majority of Republicans favored legal recognition for same-sex couples.
The conservative movement’s takeover of the Republican Party — begun by Barry Goldwater and completed by Ronald Reagan — was an impressive tactical victory. However, the movement never convinced regular voters of the wisdom of its anti-government message.
The problem with purity policing (for both left and right) is it moves the parties towards the ends of the Bell Curve, but most of the votes are in the radical middle. The secret to winning national elections is that the party that captures the middle wins.
Macy’s was founded in 1858 and currently has 789 stores. Their target market is the upper end of the income scale. They are also famous for their annual Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Walmart was founded in 1962 and currently has 11,527 stores. Their target market is everybody. They don’t have a parade, but they are famous for their “Black Friday” sales.