Defending Trump Is Killing Conservatism


Donald Trump’s tweets are, at various times, ridiculous, offensive, and obviously untrue. Sometimes all three. David French doesn’t like what this is doing to conservatives:

The tweets, however, are exposing something else in many of Trump’s friends and supporters — an extremely high tolerance for dishonesty and an oft-enthusiastic willingness to defend sheer nonsense….I’ve watched Christian friends laugh hysterically at Trump’s tweets, positively delighted that they cause fits of rage on the other side. I’ve watched them excuse falsehoods from reflexively-defensive White House aides, claiming “it’s just their job” to defend the president. Since when is it any person’s job to help their boss spew falsehoods into the public domain?

….GOP gratitude for beating Hillary Clinton cannot and must not extend into acceptance (or even endorsement) of presidential dishonesty and impulsiveness. Trump isn’t just doing damage to himself. As he lures a movement into excusing his falsehoods, he does damage to the very culture and morality of his base. The truth still matters, even when fighting Democrats you despise.

I’m not sure Trump really had to work very hard to bring out these traits among conservatives. Drudge and Limbaugh and Fox News and now Breitbart have been mining this same vein for decades. But we can leave that argument for another time.

None of us has a lock on truth, but we should at least try to value the truth as best we can discern it. I would be very happy to see liberals and conservatives alike make at least some modest movements toward that goal. But I’m not holding my breath.