One of the most predictable developments of the post-Trump era was that the small band of anti-Trump conservative intellectuals and Republican officials would quickly melt away. They had been repulsed by Donald Trump’s combination of grotesque character and ideological heterodoxy — opposing American alliances, free trade, and so on – but when given the chance to support Republicans who believed in traditional Reaganite principles and weren’t career criminals, politics would go back to normal and they would return to the fold.
Instead, something surprising has happened. Anti-Trump Republicans are refashioning their identity as pro-democracy conservatives.
Here are a few examples to give a flavor of their thinking. It’s not close to an exhaustive list:
David Frum, the former Bush speechwriter who was one of the first conservatives to recognize the party’s collapse into revanchism, wrote a column for The Atlantic arguing that Trump’s rise reflects not the tendency of a demagogue to inflame the majority, as the Founders feared, but the power of a minority. Frum called for democratic reforms to stop the conservative minority, given disproportionate representation by the House, Senate, and Electoral College, from exercising control. “The retreat from majority rule has not only weakened the American system’s fairness, it has also wobbled that system’s stability,” he argued. “The path back to constitutional normality depends upon a reinvigoration of the majoritarian principle.”
Anne Applebaum has argued for granting statehood to the District of Columbia. The Bulwark, a magazine that has become a hub of anti-Trump conservatism, has crusaded in favor of protecting and expanding voting rights. [Continue reading…]