National Review, the bulwark of conservative journalism and opinion for 50 years, has, after months of jabs, finally taken off the gloves in its fight against the candidacy of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump. With a cover reading simply “Against Trump” and listing well-known conservative contributors like Glenn Beck, William Kristol and Edwin Meese III, the journal founded by William F. Buckley pulled no punches in its attempt to stop the billionaire’s populist campaign.
Led by an editorial, NR warns, “Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.”
Calling Trump “a huckster,” they nevertheless cede some credit to him for exposing the disconnect between the Washington GOP and the grassroots. In a warning to conservatives, the editors write, “If they cannot advance a compelling working-class agenda, the legitimate anxieties and discontents of blue-collar voters will be exploited by demagogues. We sympathize with many of the complaints of Trump supporters about the GOP, but that doesn’t make the mogul any less flawed a vessel for them.”
The editorial’s conclusion is unambiguous is its condemnation of both Trump and those conservatives who’ve expressed support or even embraced him:
Some conservatives have made it their business to make excuses for Trump and duly get pats on the head from him. Count us out. Donald Trump is a menace to American conservatism who would take the work of generations and trample it underfoot in behalf of a populism as heedless and crude as the Donald himself.
In a separate piece in the magazine’s February 15th issue, NR has compiled short essays from 22 commentators, many of whom are conservative leaders.
For his part, Trump responded how he has throughout so much of this campaign — via Twitter.
National Review is a failing publication that has lost it's way. It's circulation is way down w its influence being at an all time low. Sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2016
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