Many Conservatives Are Just Fine With “Government Programs That Help the Right People”


Josh Barro has a good piece up examining whether reform conservatives like David Frum are celebrating the rise of Donald Trump. Frum & friends have long pushed for the GOP to soften its stance on entitlement reform and Trump is leading in the GOP polls while simultaneously attacking his fellow Republican candidates for wanting to cut Social Security, so his ascendency in many ways vindicates the reform conservative point that American conservatism need not be about “going Galt.”

Here is a very telling quote from Reihan Salam:

“There were a lot of people who wanted to think the Tea Party is a straightforward libertarian movement,” said Reihan Salam, the executive editor of National Review. But he said Mr. Trump’s ability to lead the polls while attacking Republicans for wanting to cut entitlement programs showed that conservative voters are open to “government programs that help the right people.”

Too true. A lot of conservatives are just fine with welfare as long as it goes to “the right people.”

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  • Ben Dreyfuss is Mother Jones' editorial director for growth and strategy. He's done some other stuff, too. You can email him at bdreyfuss@motherjones.com. But you don't have to. But you can. But you really don't have to.