I recently had the chance to speak with National Review columnist Kevin D. Williamson about his new Encounter Broadside, The Case Against Trump.
One of the stones we left unturned concerns how Donald Trump’s candidacy will end—assuming it does—a question many political class prognosticators have whiffed on repeatedly since Trump’s entrance into the presidential race.
Williamson addresses this question in his Broadside in part by making a damning case against Trump’s supposed conservative bonafides and what his candidacy may augur.
Here is what Williamson has to say about a campaign about which he wishes no Broadside would have ever needed to be written:
It is impossible to say how and when the Trump phenomenon will end. It should end; rather, it never should have begun. Donald J. Trump spent most of his life as a progressive Democrat, a patron of Charles Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Rodham Clinton – the woman against whom Trump presumably would be running. He is a lifelong crony capitalist who boasts of using his wealth to buy political favors to make himself wealthier still. He is a proponent of the thieving Kelo eminent-domain regime and has attempted to suborn local governments into using eminent domain to seize properties in order to clear the way for his casino developments. He was until the day before yesterday as absolutist a pro-abortion advocate as any you’d find at an Emily’s List meeting. He has proposed daft, confiscatory wealth taxes and remains in accord with Warren Buffett and Elizabeth Warren on taxation. His views on trade and immigration are much more like those of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, than they are anything that might plausibly be described as “conservative” in the American context. He is apparently incapable of stringing together three complete English sentences, lies reflexively and instinctively, and contradicts his own pronouncements at every turn. On the verge of his 70th birthday, his mind remains unsettled about the most elementary issues of our time.
But he is rich. He is famous. He has the power of celebrity and a true demagogue’s gift for dipping his snout into the very worst tendencies of our politics, the same illiberal tendencies that had 19th century Englishmen turning up their noses at French wheat even as famine was at their door. He would have us turn away from trade and indeed turn away from the world and its complexities, imagining ourselves to be safe behind our wall. That’s a high price to pay for an immigration platform that is exceeded by the platforms of many other Republican candidates in every way except in the quantity of bile in which it is soaked. But the bile is the attraction here, not the policy.
Donald J. Trump’s admirers gleefully consider the possibility that he could be the end of the Republican Party. He could be the end of a lot more than that.
Be sure to listen to our full Encounter Books interview with Kevin D. Williamson, as well as some of our most powerful exchanges below: