Donald Trump’s campaign soars above our conservative elites, who in their foundations, their little magazines, their think tanks, define what conservatives may do or say. Trump ignores them, they tell us, and disorder and chaos must follow.
Mere anarchy is a fair description of the state of the Republican Party, at least amongst those who purport to be its [leaders]. Mimicking the vulgarity they decry in Trump, they employ every vile epithet to describe him and his followers. National Review’s Rich Lowry enthused that Carly Fiorina had “cut his balls off.” For Lowry’s colleague Kevin Williamson, Trump is a “witless ape … not just an ass, but an ass of exceptionally intense asininity.” As for Trump’s followers, George Will calls them “invertebrates,” while John Hood describes them as “a motley crew of simpletons, bigots, and cynical manipulators.” In their hatred of Trump, they have come to resemble the man they despise.
It’s not hard to see a little wounded self-love in all this. The conservative elites thought they had ownership rights to the Republican Party, at least to its thinking component, and it’s a psychic shock to be quite ignored. Trump boasts that he is a winner, but the party had settled into a comfortable second-class status, more concerned with the purity of its policies than with winning anything. In 2012 George Will said that if the Republicans lost that year’s election they should get out of the business, but that showed that he didn’t understand the party of beautiful losers. Romney lost, but let’s not forget that he had a very pretty 59-point plan.