Important Essays

“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.”

The last decade in American politics has seen massive politics shifts and re-alignments, especially with the rise of Trumpism and the illiberal right. The outstanding journalism and political analysis compiled here has contributed to the public interest with accurate reporting and compelling analysis on the unique Trump years and its clash with our liberal tradition.

What Went Wrong with Conservatism?

What Went Wrong with Conservatism?

Two important pieces of the puzzle: mindless anti-leftism and hackish popularizers.

Shay Khatiri, The Bulwark - September 2021

The Cruelty Is the Point

The Cruelty Is the Point

President Trump and his supporters find community by rejoicing in the suffering of those they hate and fear.

Adam Serwer, The Atlantic - October 2018

Why Is Marjorie Taylor Greene Like This?

Why Is Marjorie Taylor Greene Like This?

On the ground in the Georgia congresswoman’s alternate universe.

Elaina Plott Calabro, The Atlantic - December 2022

An Exit From Trumpocracy

An Exit From Trumpocracy

If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.

David Frum, The Atlantic - January 2018

Inside the Jan. 6 Committee

Inside the Jan. 6 Committee

Power struggles, resignations and made-for-TV moments — the untold story of the most important congressional investigation in generations.

Robert Draper and Luke Broadwater, The New York Times - December 2022

How the Libertarian Party Became the Reactionary Arm of Trump and Trumpism

How the Libertarian Party Became the Reactionary Arm of Trump and Trumpism

The takeover of the party by the Mises Caucus means election subversion has another friend in 2024.

Andy Craig, The UnPopulist - July 2022

Trump’s Neo-Fascism Takes America’s Racism to the Next Level

Trump’s Neo-Fascism Takes America’s Racism to the Next Level

What seems to be emerging in the Republican Party is a kind of modern-day fascism in which anyone who isn’t loyal to the leader, or the leader’s party, is treated as illegitimate.

Jason Stanley, Daily Beast - January 2021

I'm Glad I Got Booed at CPAC

I'm Glad I Got Booed at CPAC

What happened to me at CPAC is the perfect illustration of the collective experience of a whole swath of conservatives since Donald Trump became the Republican nominee.

Mona Charen, The New York Times - February 2018

The Radical Young Intellectuals Who Want to Take Over the American Right

The Radical Young Intellectuals Who Want to Take Over the American Right

They hate the establishment. They want to destroy the system. Meet the illiberal upstarts trying to remake conservatism.

Sam Adler-Bell, The New Republic - December 2021

How ‘Stop the Steal’ Captured the American Right

How ‘Stop the Steal’ Captured the American Right

The movement to reinstate President Trump has gone far beyond him — and now threatens the future of American elections.

Charles Homans, The New York Times - July 2022

What The Gop Does To Its Own Dissenters

What The Gop Does To Its Own Dissenters

After January 6, Peter Meijer thought he could help lead the Republican Party away from an abyss. Now he laughs at his own naïveté.

Tim Alberta, The Atlantic - December 2021

Critics Call It Theocratic and Authoritarian. Young Conservatives Call It an Exciting New Legal Theory.

Critics Call It Theocratic and Authoritarian. Young Conservatives Call It an Exciting New Legal Theory.

‘Common good constitutionalism’ has emerged as a leading contender to replace originalism as the dominant legal theory on the right.

Ian Ward, Politico - December 2022

The Future of History

The Future of History

Can Liberal Democracy Survive the Decline of the Middle Class?

Frank Fukuyama, Foreign Affairs - January 2022

The Illiberal Right Throws a Tantrum

The Illiberal Right Throws a Tantrum

A faction of the religious right has concluded that if liberal democracy does not guarantee victory, then it must be abandoned.

Adam Serwer, The Atlantic - June 2019

What Josh Hawley and the Right Get Wrong About Manhood

What Josh Hawley and the Right Get Wrong About Manhood

The Republican senator identifies a real crisis among American men and boys that some on the left deny. But like other conservatives, he’s looking for scapegoats, not solutions, and recruits instead of results.

Will Norris, Washington Monthly - May 2023

I Thought I Understood the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong.

I Thought I Understood the American Right. Trump Proved Me Wrong.

The role of elites—like those who criticized Trump in 2016 and ever since—in the party and movement politics.

Rick Perlstein, The New York Times - April 2017

Why Willmoore Kendall And James Burnham Are the Prophets of Modern Conservatism

Why Willmoore Kendall And James Burnham Are the Prophets of Modern Conservatism

Burnham and Kendall helped give birth and intellectual legitimacy to a conservative movement primarily defined by its opposition to liberalism, resentment of elites, distrust of democracy, and drive to fight the liberal destruction of America and “the West.”

Joshua Tait, The National Interest - July 2021


How Bronze Age Pervert Charmed the Far Right

An internet personality who espouses fascism, racism, and bodybuilding has won influential converts.

Graeme Wood, The Atlantic - August 2023

Trump's Next Coup Has Already Begun

Trump's Next Coup Has Already Begun

January 6 was practice. Donald Trump's GOP is much better positioned to subvert the next election.

Barton Gellman, The Atlantic - January 2022

How Tucker Carlson Reshaped Fox News — and Became Trump’s Heir

How Tucker Carlson Reshaped Fox News — and Became Trump’s Heir

How Tucker Carlson Stoked White Fear to Conquer Cable.

Nicholas Confessore, The New York Times - April 2022

Moronic Convergence

Moronic Convergence

Kooks and normies increasingly have each other’s backs.

Nick Catoggio, The Dispatch - September 2022

There Are 11 Types of Donald Trump Enablers. Which One Are You?

There Are 11 Types of Donald Trump Enablers. Which One Are You?

A taxonomy of the messiahs, demonizers and tribalist trolls of Trumpland.

Tim Miller, Politico - July 2022

Where Trump Came From—and Where Trumpism Is Going

How ‘Stop the Steal’ Captured the American Right

A populist movement rooted in worries about globalization and alienation from elites culminated in the storming of the Capitol. What can conservatives salvage from the debris?

Gerald F. Seib, The Wall Street Journal - January 2021

“A very large portion of my party,” he told me one day, “really doesn’t believe in the Constitution.”

What Mitt Romney Saw in the Senate

Senator Romney reveals what drove him to retire.

McKay Coppins, The Atlantic - September 2023

In a Slow-Motion Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Media Figures Embrace Trump One by One

In a Slow-Motion Invasion of the Body Snatchers...

Someone you know or love goes to sleep one night and appears the next day to be the exact same person you always knew. Except.

Jonah Goldberg, The Dispatch - March 2016

The election of Donald Trump in 2016 sparked a major debate over the nature and fate of the liberal international order, suddenly caught, it seemed, between the Charybdis of illiberal great-power challengers and the Scylla of a hostile U.S. president. Trump may have lost the presidency in 2020, but the liberal order remains under threat. If anything, recent events have underlined the magnitude of the challenges it faces—and, most important, that these challenges are only one manifestation of a much broader crisis endangering liberalism itself.

The Real Crisis of Global Order

Illiberalism on the Rise

Alexander Cooley and Daniel H. Nexon, Foreign Affairs - January 2022

The burgeoning youth Christian ultranationalist movement recently came together in upstate New York for some good old-fashioned fun, like painting wooden crosses with images of 4chan icon Pepe the Frog.

They Love Jesus, Bon Iver, and Incels. Inside America’s New Ultranationalist Youth Movement.

They paint Pepe the Frog crosses at church camp while decrying modern American society. But allegations against white nationalist Nick Fuentes by a former ally threaten to tear the movement apart.

Tess Owen, Vice News - June 2022

Last December, Ross Douthat suggested that “there are two Republican Parties.” One of them governs dutifully, “certifying elections, rejecting frivolous claims and conspiratorial lawsuits, declining to indulge the conceit” that Donald Trump’s defeat could be overturned anti-democratically.

Meet Trump’s Pro-Insurrection “Intellectuals”

We should have known January 6 was coming, because Trumpism’s “intellectual” wing called for it, for weeks.

Christian Vanderbrouk, The Bulwark - January 2021

THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WAS IN BIG TROUBLE, and Lindsey Graham knew it. It was January 21, 2016, and the senator was taking questions at a press conference. A month earlier, he had abandoned his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Now two men he despised, Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz, were leading the race.

The Corruption of Lindsey Graham

A case study in the rise of authoritarianism.

Will Saletan, The Bulwark - May 2023

The New York Times carries some conservatives, but it does not reflect conservative politics

The real problem with the New York Times op-ed page: it’s not honest about US conservatism

It wants to challenge its readers, but not with the ugly truth.

David Roberts, Vox - May 2018

It’s hard to think of two American presidents with less in common than Calvin Coolidge and Donald Trump. For one thing, Coolidge held a variety of public offices, from Massachusetts governor to vice president, before assuming office on Aug. 2, 1923. Mr. Trump had no government or military experience before his inauguration in 2017.

How Conservatives Forged the MAGA Right

In The Right, Matthew Continetti offers a sweeping and flawed history of modern conservatism.

Joshua Tait, The National Interest - September 2022

t’s 2020, four years from now. The campaign is under way to succeed the president, who is retiring after a single wretched term. Voters are angrier than ever—at politicians, at compromisers, at the establishment. Congress and the White House seem incapable of working together on anything, even when their interests align. With lawmaking at a standstill, the president’s use of executive orders and regulatory discretion has reached a level that Congress views as dictatorial—not that Congress can do anything about it, except file lawsuits that the divided Supreme Court, its three vacancies unfilled, has been unable to resolve.

How American Politics Went Insane

It happened gradually—and until the U.S. figures out how to treat the problem, it will only get worse.

Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic - July 2016

Most important, Buchanan put the elites in his own party on notice, while Perot’s third-party run gave both sides cause for concern—his 18.9 percent of the popular vote may have defeated Bush, and certainly put Bill Clinton in the White House with less than a majority. In the wake of this defeat, the GOP determined to grab the populist tiger by the tail, which it did in the 1990s. Now under the direction of House Speaker Newt Gingrich and accompanied by thunderous support from a new generation of conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham, the GOP invented and refined the politics of “no”—or as Limbaugh liked to put it, “Hell, no!”

The Moment the Republican Party Lost Control

The GOP believed it could appeal to its extremist fringe, without succumbing to it.

Claire Potter, The New Republic - October 2022

The Republican Party hasn’t adopted a new platform since 2016, so if you want to know what its most influential figures are trying to achieve—what, exactly, they have in mind when they talk about an America finally made great again—you’ll need to look elsewhere for clues. You could listen to Donald Trump, the Party’s de-facto standard-bearer, except that nobody seems to have a handle on what his policy goals are, not even Donald Trump. You could listen to the main aspirants to his throne, such as Governor Ron DeSantis, of Florida, but this would reveal less about what they’re for than about what they’re against: overeducated élites, apart from themselves and their allies; “wokeness,” whatever they’re taking that to mean at the moment; the overzealous wielding of government power, unless their side is doing the wielding. Besides, one person can tell you only so much. A more efficient way to gauge the current mood of the Party is to spend a weekend at the Conservative Political Action Conference, better known as cpac.

Does Hungary Offer A Glimpse Of Our Authoritarian Future?

American conservatives recently hosted their flagship conference in Hungary, a country that experts call an autocracy. Its leader, Viktor Orbán, provides a potential model of what a Trump after Trump might look like.

Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker - June 2022

For much of the Republican base these multiple shocks discredited the conservative political and intellectual leadership that had failed to deliver on promises to contain immigration, produce prosperity and make America safer. Increasingly unwelcome even in a thoroughly right-wing magazine like National Review (which devoted a whole issue during the primaries to denouncing Trump as a sham conservative), paleocons found new vehicles for their nationalist-populist ideas in The American Conservative, founded by Buchanan and Theodoracopulos in 2002

An Intellectual History of Trumpism

Trump’s ideology has deep roots in U.S. history. But this is the first time it’s made it to the White House.

David Greenberg, Politico Magazine - December 2016

How Bronze Age Pervert Built an Online Following and Injected Anti-Democracy, Pro-Men Ideas into the GOP

How Bronze Age Pervert Built an Online Following and Injected Anti-Democracy, Pro-Men Ideas into the GOP

A modern story of shitposting, self-publishing and how an anonymous persona can help your ideas take off — and take root at the highest levels.

Rosie Gray, Politico - July 2023

Halfway through Never Trump, the Republican strategist Stuart Stevens lets loose. “To buy into Trump,” he says, “you have to believe that the essence of what the Republican Party stood for—personal responsibility, embracing of legal immigration, character counts, strong on Russia—you have to believe that all of that was just a marketing slogan and it didn’t mean anything—any more than ‘We say, “Chevrolet’s the heartbeat of America.”’”

Never Trumpers and the Future of American Conservatism

The role of elites—like those who criticized Trump in 2016 and ever since—in the party and movement politics.

Joshua Tait, The Bulwark - May 2020

Since Dreher’s return from Hungary, he told me, he had been thinking about Orbán in terms of Huey P. Long, the famed Depression-era governor of Louisiana who denounced the oil companies, fired hundreds of bureaucrats, and replaced them with patronage appointments—another corrupt populist. Having met in downtown Baton Rouge, and spent a little while talking while looking out at the unvegetated Mississippi River, we eventually drove a few minutes to Long’s monumental tombstone, on the grounds of the Louisiana statehouse, which was built by Long himself. The statehouse is the tallest building in Baton Rouge surrounded by twenty-seven acres of well-tended but mostly empty gardens; it’s still probably the most interesting-looking structure in the city. We were looking at a monument to a pre-liberal politics while considering a post-liberal future.

What American Conservatives See in Hungary’s Leader

For Rod Dreher and others, the country under Viktor Orbán has become a dark mirror for the U.S. culture wars.

Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker - September 2021

If you had any lingering pretensions that our political elites know better than the average QAnon-pilled zombie, it’s past time to let them go. The people in charge of the Republican Party are mostly old and poorly informed operators who believe some of the most asinine theories to emerge from social-media bilge. Granting them some measure of savviness — saying that this is red meat for the Republican base, or that it keeps the checks from right-wing billionaires coming in — is to offer too much credit. More than that, it risks absolving them through some nod toward political practicalities when, mostly, this is all pretty evil and disturbing.

QAnon’s Takeover of the Republican Party Is Virtually Complete

Ginni Thomas’s texts to Mark Meadows on January 6, 2021, reveal that Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, is a bona fide conspiracy theorist. She’s not the only one: Josh Hawley, Mike Flynn, Donald Trump — all coopted by QAnon.

Jacob Silverman, New York Magazine - May 2022

ugene goodman is an American hero. At a pivotal moment on January 6, the veteran United States Capitol Police officer single-handedly prevented untold bloodshed. Staring down an angry, advancing mob, he retreated up a marble staircase, calmly wielding his baton to delay his pursuers while calling out their position to his fellow officers. At the top of the steps, still alone and standing just a few yards from the chamber where senators and Vice President Mike Pence had been certifying the Electoral College’s vote, Goodman strategically lured dozens of the mayhem-minded away from an unguarded door to the Senate floor.

Q-Anon is Destroying the Gop From Within

Until last week, too many in the Republican Party thought they could preach the Constitution and wink at QAnon. They can’t.

Senator Ben Sasse, The Atlantic - January 2021

There's a well-worn tale about modern American conservatism: It says that the movement as we know it came into being during the mid–20th century as a "fusionist" coalition of economic libertarians and religious traditionalists. These groups, whose goals and priorities differed from the start, were held together mainly by two things: the sheer charisma of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr., and the shared enemy of global communism.

Is There a Future for Fusionism?

In the years since the Cold War, conservatives have lost sight of the relationship between liberty and personal responsibility.

Stephanie Slade, Reason - March 2021

For this sort of right-wing populist, attacking colleges and universities also mobilizes the resentments of people who never went to university and may dislike, often justly, the entitlement that a college degree can confer on its beneficiaries. If a crucial component of the Trump-era Republican electorate comprises people who may not have graduated from high school, then an attack on universities is pure gravy for the demagogue. Similarly, for these angry voters, the downside of such an attack—weakening the scientific, technical, and cultural innovation that universities make possible—does not carry much weight.

Why the Populist Right Hates Universities

American conservatives are taking cues from Hungary’s Viktor Orbán because elite education is a convenient enemy for authoritarian populists.

Michael Ignatieff , The Atlantic - August 2023

The Claremont Institute used to be one of the principal places for conservative intellectuals to come together. It was founded by scholars who were taken seriously even by people who disagreed with them, and some such scholars still publish in the pages of the CRB. That Claremont has been unparalleled in its intellectual submission to Trumpism should give us pause. After all, in some respects the Claremont crowd is precisely the sort who should have known better: deeply read in political philosophy and history, and familiar with the many warning signs that Trump would be a damaging and divisive president. There is also a sense, however, in which the Claremont crowd’s submission to Trump was the most predictable thing in the world—the simple culmination of a political theory rooted in jingoism and denial.

What the Hell Happened to the Claremont Institute?

How the once-distinguished conservative think tank plunged into Trumpism, illiberalism, and lying about the election.

Laura K. Fields, The Bulwark - July 2021

For Americans younger than fifty-five, the story of conservatism has been the dominant political factor in their lives, and Rick Perlstein has become its chief chronicler, across three erudite, entertaining, and increasingly meaty books: “Before the Storm” (2001), about the birth of the conservative movement in the late fifties and early sixties, up to the landslide defeat of Barry Goldwater in the 1964 Presidential election; “Nixonland” (2008), about Richard Nixon’s strategy of amassing power by dividing the country into two antagonistic camps; and now “The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan” (Simon & Schuster), which finally brings into focus the saga’s leading character, Ronald Reagan, who made cameo appearances in the earlier books.

The Uses of Division

Rick Perlstein chronicles the fall of the American consensus and the rise of the right.

George Packer, The New Yorker - August 2014

The Nixon White House didn’t enact all of these recommendations, but it would be hard to find a more succinct and unapologetic blueprint for Republican success in the conservative era. “Positive polarization” helped the Republicans win one election after another—and insured that American politics would be an ugly, unredeemed business for decades to come.

The Fall of Conservatism

Have the Republicans run out of ideas?

George Packer, The New Yorker - May 2008

It’s hard to think of two American presidents with less in common than Calvin Coolidge and Donald Trump. For one thing, Coolidge held a variety of public offices, from Massachusetts governor to vice president, before assuming office on Aug. 2, 1923. Mr. Trump had no government or military experience before his inauguration in 2017.

The Return of the Old American Right

The Trump GOP resembles the party of Calvin Coolidge in its commitment to economic protection, restricted immigration and non-intervention abroad.

Matthew Continetti, The Wall Street Journal - April 2022

IT IS INSUFFICIENT TO STATE the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact. With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Donald Trump—a president who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit.

The First White President

The foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic - October 2017

For four years, Sarah Longwell has been hoping for Donald Trump’s downfall. But nothing has triggered it. Not the Mueller investigation into his dealings with Russia. Not his coverup of hush-money payments to a porn star, or the profiting from his office to benefit his personal businesses. Not even a Ukraine extortion scheme that resulted in just the third impeachment and trial of a President in history. He has proved immune to every scandal. Will the coronavirus pandemic be any different?

The Trials of a Never Trump Republican

The lifelong conservative Sarah Longwell has been hoping for the President’s downfall, but he has proved immune to every scandal. Will the coronavirus pandemic be any different?

Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker - March 2020

On June 25, 2015, a week after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president of the United States, the Census Bureau released a landmark report on the demographics of American children under the age of five. For the first time in U.S. history, it reported that a minority of this group is “white”—neither black, nor Asian, nor Hispanic.

Donald Trump and the Twilight of White America

Racial resentment and economic anxiety are not separate forces. For many Trump supporters, they are inextricably linked.

Derek Thompson, The Atlantic - May 2016

The school welcomes conservative provocateurs—Dinesh D’Souza and Andy Ngo, among others—to speak at events, publishing some of the talks in Imprimis, a monthly digest of speeches. In 2021, Hillsdale tapped two of the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration—an open letter that advocated against widespread lockdowns early in the pandemic—to help launch the Academy for Science and Freedom, “to combat the recent and widespread abuses of individual and academic freedom made in the name of science.”

The Christian Liberal-Arts School at the Heart of the Culture Wars

Conservatives like Ron DeSantis see Hillsdale College as a model for education nationwide.

Emma Green, The New Yorker - April 2023

Over the span of three days in March, in far-flung corners of Ohio, more than 20,000 people—retired schoolteachers, hair stylists, chinos-clad Young Republicans, Nicaraguan immigrants, Vietnam vets, primly coiffed soccer moms—braved downpours, traffic, muscle spasms, hunger, and protesters for a chance to behold, in the very tanned flesh, Donald J. Trump, billionaire, business genius, TV star, and, very possibly, the next president of the United States. One of those people was me.

Inside the Trump machine: the bizarre psychology of America’s newest political movement

How has Trump defied pretty much every rule not just of electoral politics, but of contemporary civil discourse to lead the race for the Republican party’s nomination for president?

Gwynn Guilford, Quartz - April 2016

For American conservatives, the appeal of Orban lies not so much in the details of his laws or policies as in his tactics and his advocacy, at least publicly, for Christianity. He invokes regularly, if vaguely, the “Christian values” of Europe. Hungary is predominantly Catholic, though Orban himself is not, and it isn’t incidental that many of the American conservatives most interested in Orban’s government are themselves part of an increasingly muscular Catholic wing of postliberal conservatives.

How the American Right Fell in Love With Hungary

Some U.S. conservatives are taking a cue from Prime Minister Viktor Orban — how to use the power of the state to win the culture wars.

Elisabeth Zerofsky, The New York Times Magazine - October 2021

Leaving conservatism behind, then, was like leaving behind my youthful fundamentalism. Both conservatism and fundamentalism assume freedom to be the foundation of our lives, not something limited by environment or resources. Both assume that virtue can conquer the brute force of circumstances. And both condemn us to a world where grace must be earned rather than freely given—a view of life that comforts and flatters the successful but can only prove cruel to everyone else.

Leaving Conservatism Behind

How I renounced the God-and-guns conservatism of my blue-collar roots and embraced class politics.

Matthew Sitman, Dissent - Summer 2016

In 1979, Barry Goldwater turned to his diary to register a change in the nation’s politics. “Today as I sit in the Senate,” he wrote, “it is interesting to me to watch liberals, moderates, and conservatives fighting each other to see who can come out on top the quickest against those matters that I talked so fervently and so much about in 1964.” That year, Goldwater had been thoroughly crushed in his presidential contest with Lyndon Johnson, earning only 52 electoral votes against LBJ’s 486 and less than 40 percent of the popular vote. Richard Rovere wrote in The New Yorker that the election had “finished the Goldwater school of political reaction.” But 15 years later, Goldwater looked out on a different landscape. “Now that almost every one of the principles I advocated in 1964,” he concluded, had “become the gospel of the whole spread of the spectrum of politics, there really isn’t a heck of a lot left.”

How the GOP Became the Party of Resentment

Have historians of the conservative movement focused too much on its intellectuals?

Patrick Iber, The New Republic - August 2020

Conservative circles are currently engaged in a debate between two approaches to politics in the broadest sense — not just political office, but the entire enterprise of advancing interests in the public sphere. The debate primarily concerns whether social conservatives, especially Christians (both Catholic and Protestant), should respect classical liberal values or abandon them to fight the culture war.

Do Social Conservatives Really Face an Existential Crisis?

The flawed assumption underlying both sides of the intra-conservative debate kicked off by Sohrab Ahmari

Nicholas Grossman, Arc Digital - June 2019

Worrying about the state of our men is an American tradition. But today’s problems are real and well documented. Deindustrialization, automation, free trade and peacetime have shifted the labor market dramatically, and not in men’s favor — the need for physical labor has declined, while soft skills and academic credentials are increasingly rewarded. Growing numbers of working-age men have detached from the labor market, with the biggest drop in employment among men ages 25 to 34. For those in a job, wages have stagnated everywhere except the top.

Men are lost. Here’s a map out of the wilderness.

No one is offering men a model except the far-right. It's time for a new plan.

Christine Emba, The Washington Post - July 2023

Why has so much of the American conservative movement embraced the story that the principles of equality and the pursuit of a more just society are the greatest threats to Western civilization today? Who or what is responsible for giving these paranoid ideas an intellectual veneer? The Claremont Institute gets you much of the way to an answer.

What the Hell Happened to the Claremont Institute?

The California think tank was once (mostly) traditionally conservative and (sort of) intellectually rigorous. Now it platforms white nationalists and promotes authoritarianism.

Katherine Stewart, The New Republic - August 2023

To the extent that self-described Bob Dole Republicans still exist, they’d probably say the same thing. But Kruse said Trump’s appeal wasn’t just a set of beliefs; it was a willingness to go to extremes to pursue and defend them. “I think that’s one of the biggest differences he’s brought into the Republican Party,” he said. “It was somebody who was just willing to do what was right, even if others thought it was wrong.”

Win or Lose, It's Donald Trump's Republican Party

The G.O.P.'s politicians, activists and voters are still figuring out what that means.

Elaina Plott, The New York Times - October 2020

But in leading their predominantly white, Republican congregations, Brown and Bolin have come to agree on one important thing: Both pastors believe there is a war for the soul of the American Church—and both have decided they cannot stand on the sidelines. They aren’t alone. To many evangelicals today, the enemy is no longer secular America, but their fellow Christians, people who hold the same faith but different beliefs.

How Politics Poisoned The Evangelical Church

The movement spent 40 years at war with secular America. Now it's at war with itself.

Tim Alberta, The Atlantic - May 2022

Liberalism centers individuals, treating them as equals and granting them rights against the state in order to be able to live their lives in the way they choose. Radical right theorists see this as a terrible mistake.

How conservatism conquered America — and corrupted itself

American conservatism’s extraordinary political power and radical future, explained.

Zack Beauchamp, Vox - July 2022

America faces an acutely precarious political environment, with immediate and severe threats to liberty that go beyond what P. J. O’Rourke once called, “wrong within normal parameters.” It’s not just that we’re staring down rising inflation and a possible recession. It’s that one of the two major parties, always a few marginal voters away from winning elections, has made clear it will subvert those elections, rejects the rule of law, and has abandoned any pretext that institutions should constrain the pursuit of power.

Toward a Healthier Libertarian Movement

Libertarianism can have a bright future. But first it needs to break its decades-long alliance with the GOP.

Aaron Ross Powell, Reimagining Liberty - February 2022

As the Republican Party tries to make up its mind between wishing away the events of Jan. 6 or celebrating them, one thing should be clear to conservatives estranged from the party: We can’t go home again.

The Trump Coup Is Still Raging

One thing should be clear to conservatives estranged from the Republican Party: We can’t go home again.

Kevin Williamson, The New York Times - September 2021

In one common understanding of America’s weird new political alignment, the relationship between the Never Trumpers and the Democrats is a marriage of convenience: Conservatives will snap back to the Republican Party when some semblance of sanity returns to it. This may be true for many voters, but the rupture between the Never Trump intellectuals and the party seems—at least in some cases—irreparable.

The Revenge of the Never Trumpers

Conservatives who have repudiated the president are an essential part of the coalition that could elect Biden—and reshape American politics for years to come.

Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, The Atlantic - July 2020

When Democrats help prop up candidates who are committed to avenging Trump, they interfere with this project. And if they indict Trump — raising the salience of Trump’s personal grievances and putting Trump’s fixation on his own alleged persecution into more plausible alignment with the locus of Republican primary voter interest in 2024 — they will also interfere with the project.

'Team Normal' Republicans, Stop Whining That Democrats Won't Help You

Your Trump problem is just that: Your problem.

Josh Barro, Very Serious - August 2022

“There’s definitely a message bigger than Louisiana here,” Susan Howell, then the director of the Survey Research Center at the University of New Orleans, told the Los Angeles Times. “There is a tremendous amount of anger and frustration among working-class whites, particularly where there is an economic downturn. These people feel left out; they feel government is not responsive to them.”

The Nationalist’s Delusion

Trump’s supporters backed a time-honored American political tradition, disavowing racism while promising to enact a broad agenda of discrimination.

Adam Serwer, The Atlantic - November 2017

Today’s equivalent of the John Birch Society is the QAnon conspiracy theory, an online grift that got out of hand and became a worldview. It posits its own spectacularly implausible conspiracy theory: That there is a global network of pedophiles who secretly run the world and control our politics so that they can abuse children. This conspiracy theory has in turn spawned other conspiracy theories which claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. It is currently being mainstreamed in attacks on Disney as a corporation bent on “grooming” children to prepare them for exploitation by pedophiles.

Did the John Birch Society Win in the End?

Modern conservatism was built by purging the right’s reckless conspiracy theorists—but now they’ve taken over.

Robert Tracinski, The Bulwark - April 2022

But Douthat believes — evidently quite deeply — that the biggest danger to the United States is the cultural left, which means he’s stuck. He cannot or will not face the full extent of the Republican party’s turn against democracy, and focuses his energy on downplaying it, perhaps in part to convince himself.

The Non-Education of Ross Douthat

The New York Times columnist insists on defending a version of the Republican party that doesn't exist.

Nicholas Grossman, The Bulwark - September 2021

Morrison’s interest was not in fascist demagogues or fascist regimes. It was rather in “forces interested in fascist solutions to national problems”. The procedures she described were methods to normalize such solutions, to “construct an internal enemy”, isolate, demonize and criminalize it and sympathizers to its ideology and their allies, and, using the media, provide the illusion of power and influence to one’s supporters.

America is now in fascism’s legal phase

The history of racism in the US is fertile ground for fascism. Attacks on the courts, education, the right to vote and women’s rights are further steps on the path to toppling democracy.

Jason Stanley, The Guardian - December 2021

The third and largest strain is the young. They grew up in the era of Facebook and MSNBC and identity politics. They went to colleges smothered by progressive sermonizing. And they reacted by running in the other direction. I disagreed with two-thirds of what I heard at this conference, but I couldn’t quite suppress the disturbing voice in my head saying, “If you were 22, maybe you’d be here too.”

The Terrifying Future of the American Right

What I saw at the National Conservatism Conference.

David Brooks, The Atlantic - November 2021

In this spirit, The American Mind began, in the months after Trump left office, to talk of “counterrevolution.” Glenn Ellmers, a senior fellow at Claremont, urged readers to “give up on the idea that ‘conservatives’ have anything useful to say,” and called for “all hands on deck as we enter the counterrevolutionary moment,” while asserting that the 80 million Americans who voted for Joe Biden were “not Americans in any meaningful sense of the term.”

How the Claremont Institute Became a Nerve Center of the American Right

They made the intellectual case for Trump. Now they believe the country is in a cultural civil war.

Elisabeth Zerofsky, The New York Times Magazine - August 2022

Earlier this month, while speaking via Zoom to a promising group of politically inclined high school students, I was met with an abrupt line of inquiry. “I’m sorry, but I still don’t understand,” said one young man, his pitch a blend of curiosity and exasperation. “What do Republicans believe? What does it mean to be a Republican?”

The Grand Old Meltdown

What happens when a party gives up on ideas?

Tim Alberta, Politico - August 2020

The Long History of Fighting Over the Term ‘Conservative’

The Long History of Fighting Over the Term ‘Conservative’

The postwar circle of New Conservatives tried to claim the word—but they lost and were largely forgotten.

Joshua Tait, The Bulwark - April 2021

Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy

Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy

America should accept its new role as the "benevolent global hegemon."

William Kristol and Robert Kagan, Foreign Affairs - July/August 1996

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