The National Interest, April 4, 2017
During the 2016 campaign, numerous prominent conservatives opposed the Trump candidacy and warned that its success would be inexorably bad for conservatism.
Some two months into his presidency, rifts between Donald Trump and conservatives are in plain sight. The new president has blamed the recent failure to repeal and replace Obamacare on the conservative House Freedom Caucus. In various presidential tweets, he named and blamed various caucus members and even threatened to fight against the group along with Democrats in the midterm elections of 2018.
Were Trump’s conservative critics correct all along that he is bad for their cause?
While the failure to repeal Obamacare is no doubt a setback for the Trump administration and Republicans in general, conservatives should nevertheless be heartened by the overall progress made and broad direction set by the new president. Unconventional though his presidency may be—and it certainly is, beyond the wildest imagination—Trump has pursued an agenda that is friendly to many of conservatism’s cherished ideals.
Since his inauguration, President Trump has picked a cabinet that many acknowledge is the most conservative in history and nominated Neil Gorsuch, a highly respected conservative judge, to the Supreme Court. Furthermore, he has pursued regulatory reform, border and homeland security and pro-market measures that conservatives have long supported.
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