The conservative crack-up in one National Review headline | Arkansas Blog

Friday, February 26, 2016

The conservative crack-up in one National Review headline

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2016 at 3:45 PM

Here's a headline today in the National Review, the house rag of fancy-pants conservatives: 

click to enlarge national_review.png

It took a while, but Republicans seem to be realizing that their party is about to nominate for the president of the United States of America an egomaniacal loon with authoritarian tendencies that at least sound fascist from time to time. 

Republicans are less inclined to reckon what all of this might mean about the conservative movement and its long affiliation with (if not explicit endorsement of) white identity politics and the nation's uglier elements of demagogic populism. As Jonathan Chait argued this week

It has been a bracing experience for conservative elites to behold when the forces they have successfully harnessed for so long shake free and turn against them. Conservatives are right that Trump does not represent their ideas perfectly, or even very well. What he represents instead is the actual constituency for those ideas.

In any case, a figure like Trump represents a potentially genuinely frightening break with American political norms.

So far, most Republican complaints about Trump have been directed at his heresies from GOP orthodoxy. But I suspect that there is a significant swath of the party that — wholly aside from ideological considerations — considers the strongman cult of personality around Trump to risk something much darker. That sincerely fears the reactionary, authoritarian, or crypto-fascist forces that Trump in the White House might unleash. That genuinely doesn't know just what Trump's prickly, self-obsessed, impulsive, no-nothing bluster would look like with access to the military. 

Do they hate Hillary Clinton so much that they'll fall in line with the Donald, despite it all? We'll see. If Donald Trump wins the nomination, the conservative movement is going to have to decide what to do about it. 

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