As Donald Trump emerged victorious in the race for the Republican presidential nomination this week, the loudest cries of anguish heard in Washington may well have come from one section of his own party—from those in its conservative movement.
“Conservatives had their party hijacked from them in the 2016 primaries,” wrote Jonathan S. Tobin in Commentary, a leading platform for conservatives. He added: “The consequences for individual liberty and restraint of government power, not to mention America’s foreign-policy interests, will be incalculable.”
David French wrote in National Review, a kind of conservative Bible: “The party of Lincoln is in ruins. A minority of its primary voters have torched its founders’ legacy by voting for a man who combines old-school Democratic ideology, a bizarre form of hyper-violent isolationism, fringe conspiracy theories, and serial lies with an enthusiastic flock of online racists to create perhaps the most toxic electoral coalition since George Wallace.”
The misgivings came from conservatives active on national security as well as domestic policies. Eliot A. Cohen, a leading figure in the neoconservative foreign-policy movement and a veteran of both Bush administrations, wrote in the Washington Post that it’s time to form a third party.: “Donald Trump, a man utterly unfit for the position by temperament, values and policy preferences, will be the Republican nominee for president. He will run against Hillary Clinton, who is easily the lesser evil but is trailed by clouds of scandal and misconduct and whose party’s left wing poses its own threats to liberties of speech, religion, enterprise and association.”
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