Editor’s Note: This article by Kevin D. Williamson first appeared in National Review. We reprint in part here.
Conservatives love a faction. Among my friends here at National Review, we have conservatarians (Charles C. W. Cooke), reform conservatives (Ramesh Ponnuru), the secular Right (Andrew Stuttaford), etc. The distinctive features of those camps are, respectively, being comfortable with gay marriage, favoring tax credits for children, and favoring tax credits for the children of gay marriages so long as the money doesn’t end up in the offering plate.
The reaction to Donald Trump’s announcement of his presidential campaign suggests that there is room for one more: Grow the Hell Up Conservatism.
Trump brings out two of the Right’s worst tendencies: the inability to distinguish between entertainers and political leaders, and the habit of treating politics as an exercise in emotional vindication.
Whatever Trump’s appeal is to the Right’s populist elements, it isn’t policy. He is a tax-happy crony capitalist who is hostile to free trade but very enthusiastic about using state violence to homejack private citizens — he backed the Kelo decision “100 percent” and has tried to use eminent domain in the service of his own empire of vulgarity — and generally has about as much command of the issues as the average sophomore at a not especially good college, which is what he was (sorry, Fordham) until his family connections got him into Penn.