An online symposium in the Washington Examiner recently compiled a wide range of points of view from right-of-center pundits and scholars on where conservatism currently stands in the age of President Donald J. Trump.
Larry Arnn, president of Hillsdale College, took a Trump-friendly stance. He speculated as to whether the president, in his simplified understanding of conservatism, is actually more in touch with the loyal, religious Christian base. There’s nothing wrong with a conservatism that seeks to conserve what is great about America, he wrote.
“Certainly, a requirement of conservatism in the age of Trump is the ability to see past Trump’s manners and tweets to political reality and to the dangers and opportunities before us,” Arnn wrote.
National Review writer David French called for consistency in the application of conservative values and urged conservatives to apply those values to Trump, writing, “there may well come a time when we have to urge the impeachment of a man who appoints the judges we love, who cuts our taxes, and who rebuilds our military.”
He also cautioned against sacrificing values for political gain, as doing so would sacrifice conservatism’s values for political gain.
Meanwhile, Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist takes a more aggressive approach, arguing that the conservative movement had grown complacent prior to the election of Trump. “There is a limit to how long people could ride the high of the Reagan years without successive accomplishments,” she argued.
She continued that the movement is yielding positive results today, and that it shouldn’t care about upending the existing political order.
Alexandra DeSanctis, a staff writer for National Review, is more critical of President Trump. “Donald Trump has scrambled our politics, changed the trajectory of the GOP, and fractured conservatism,” she wrote.
In perhaps the most pro-Trump stance, Henry Olsen, an adjunct professor at Villanova University, wrote he believes whether conservatism is healthy depends on the opinion of the individual:
If you thought American conservatism was healthy pre-Trump, then you’re probably upset and unreconciled to the new age. But if, like me, you thought it was suffering from a terminal illness, one that unless treated quickly would bring about its demise, then you see the glass at least half-full. Trump is like a serious medication that causes painful side effects and which isn’t guaranteed to cure the patient. But given the options on hand when the GOP went to the metaphorical hospital in the 2016 primaries, he might have been the only hope it had.
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