Trump’s Triumph Should Signal an End to ‘Checklist Conservatism’

"Strong military"? Check. "Free markets"? Check. "Family values"? Check.
“Strong military”? Check. “Free markets”? Check. “Family values”? Check.

Conservatives who supported Donald Trump for president are going to be disappointed eventually. Perhaps even pretty soon. And that’s a good thing.

While liberals obsess over Trump’s alleged affronts to their cherished identity politics, conservatives are going to discover that many of the pieties they’ve held for a generation are suddenly obsolete.

Liberals have invested a lot in creating a cartoon caricature of a racist, sexist, anti-Semitic monster taking over the executive branch. We’ve seen it in the protests and vigils following the election. We’ve seen it in the anguished commentaries about why Hillary Clinton lost. The general consensus seems to be that a solid plurality of Americans is hopelessly racist and sexist. Keep thinking that way—it’s a guaranteed path to irrelevancy.

Conservatives in the meantime have their own problem with irrelevancy.

For the better part of a generation, all one had to do to be considered a “true conservative” was swear allegiance to what might be called the right-wing trinity: a strong military, free markets and “family values.”

Everyone wants a strong defense. Many Americans still prefer capitalism to state-managed socialism. And people like families.

But let’s face it, “family values” is a phrase so amorphous as to be virtually meaningless. As my American Greatness colleague Chris Buskirk has pointed out, “family values” morphed into “compassionate conservatism” which in turn was used to justify every crazy scheme “from open borders to Obamacare.”

Over time, conservatives rendered a “strong military” and “free markets” virtually meaningless as well.

Read the rest at the Sacramento Bee.

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