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Here’s why ‘conservatives’ still fight President Trump

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017

President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28, 2017

Every year, Republican politicians run against the “GOP Establishment” and slam the “inside-the-Beltway” crowd allegedly responsible for failing the conservative grassroots.

But what if it’s not just the Republican National Committee and the political consultants holding back conservatism? What if many of the institutions that make up the “conservative movement” aren’t part of the solution but part of the problem?

Chris Buskirk, author with Seth Leibsohn of “American Greatness: How Conservatism Inc. Missed the 2016 Election & What the D.C. Establishment Needs to Learn,” says that’s exactly what’s happening.

And he defined what he means by “Conservatism Inc.” in a recent interview with civil rights activist and author Jesse Lee Peterson.

“Conservatism Inc. is a term that we came up with while we were writing about the election back in 2015 and 2016, because we found ourselves in this really weird place,” Buskirk told Peterson.

The editor of the influential Web journal “American Greatness” said he found it odd that most of the influential conservative intellectuals, journalists and public personalities were vocally and publicly opposed to Donald Trump during the 2016 election, even when it was clear the only other option was acquiescing to a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Buskirk said “Conservatism Inc.” consists of “all of what we basically call ‘professional conservatism’ – the journals, the think tanks, the people that quite honestly I have, and I know a lot of conservatives out there have, looked to for guidance on political theory, on policy, on politics, all these things.”

Buskirk argued these figures largely discredited themselves during the 2016 election.

“You know, I pick up a National Review one day and I find out that the editors there have more in common with the people at Buzzfeed than they do with Republican voters,” Buskirk said. “I thought, ‘What’s going on here?’ This has become an institution that’s just become dedicated to preserving itself and not to the mission. It’s become alienated from regular working class, rank and file voters. I said, ‘This has just become Conservatism Inc.’

“I was talking with my co-author Seth about this and that was kind of the birth of that term. It’s all these institutions who spend all of this money every year and have just gotten away from what real America is all about and what we think of as traditional American conservatism.”

Peterson, a WND columnist and the author of “The Antidote,” challenged Buskirk to name a specific institution covered by the term “Conservatism Inc.” And Buskirk had an answer.

“The example I use all the time is National Review,” he said. “This has been the flagship conservative publication in this country since 1955. It’s a magazine that I grew up reading. My father got a subscription to it in 1962. It was always in my house. And in January of 2016 they published a special issue called ‘Against Trump,’ and they published all these people, some of whom are good friends of mine. And they staked out a position that said we’re going to oppose the nominee of the Republican Party.

“I thought, ‘I don’t know how that’s wise. I don’t know how that’s good politics.’ And even if it’s not good politics, I don’t think it stands for any sort of a meaningful principle because I looked at this election as an eye-opener for me. I looked at American voters … and you know they have a lot more common sense about this country than the intellectual class. And these are the people who are supposed to be telling us what’s a good idea and a bad idea in politics. I think they just failed.”

The United States of America is on the brink of chaos. And the huge network of conservative think tanks and foundations in Washington, D.C., is just another part of the problem. Learn the real story behind the intellectual and political movement that stunned the media and put Donald J. Trump in the White House. THE blockbuster of 2017: “American Greatness: How Conservatism Inc. Missed The 2016 Election & What The D.C. Establishment Needs To Learn” by Chris Buskirk and Seth Leibsohn, available now in the WND Superstore.

Buskirk charged the major conservative foundations and organizations with failing to back President Trump even after the election, suggesting many individuals were still angry at Trump for defeating their preferred candidates during the primaries.

“Even since the election, since the inauguration, we keep waiting for the institutional Republicans and the institutional conservatives to come home and support, if not the president, then at least his agenda,” he said. “But I think they should do both. They’ve dug in their heels and I think there’s a lot of pride and ego involved in these things.

“When people say they were ‘Never Trump,’ unfortunately, that’s bad rhetoric. Never is forever. If you wanted to oppose Trump because you like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, fine, that’s why we have primaries. But politics in my view is a team sport, and we need to get together if we want to advance the agenda. I do a talk show here in Phoenix. And people don’t care about the inside Washington stories, they care about the agenda getting enacted. And that’s what the professional conservatives don’t seem to understand.”

Buskirk urged “professional conservatives” and staffers for the major conservative foundations to stop being so worried about the opinions of their fellow politicos and instead get back to connecting with the average Republican voters. This includes, he says, paying attention to the populist message that gave Trump – and the Republican Party – the White House.

“The past couple years have been an eye-opener for me,” Buskirk said of the conduct of “professional conservatives.” “We have a group of people that talk to each other. … Their constituency is each other. And for all the great rhetoric on American exceptionalism, about the Constitution, about the Declaration, when it came right down to it, somebody showed up, a candidate, his name was Trump, he showed up and talked about things like citizenship, he talked about a pro-worker trade policy, he talked a pro-citizen immigration and an America First foreign policy.

“And these guys recoiled in horror. And when Donald Trump was talking about ‘draining the swamp,’ naively I guess I thought that these were people who would cheer. Instead, they identified themselves more with the ‘swamp things’ than the rest of the country.”

Peterson asked whether these “professional conservatives” brought on by CNN, Fox News and other media outlets to provide the conservative perspective have any idea what they are talking about. Are the Never Trump “conservative intellectuals” still regarded as experts?

“By themselves, sure!” Buskirk joked. “But put it this way – if they were doctors, would you go to them? Because they don’t seem to get the diagnosis or the treatment right very often. They’ll call themselves experts. You’ll see them on television when they’re a talking head and they’ll be called an expert. But I don’t want to take their medicine.”

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The United States of America is on the brink of chaos. And the huge network of conservative think tanks and foundations in Washington, D.C., is just another part of the problem. Learn the real story behind the intellectual and political movement that stunned the media and put Donald J. Trump in the White House. THE blockbuster of 2017: “American Greatness: How Conservatism Inc. Missed The 2016 Election & What The D.C. Establishment Needs To Learn” by Chris Buskirk and Seth Leibsohn, available now in the WND Superstore.

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