Nick Gillespie writes at Reason,
Donald Trump's appeal among Republicans is directly related to issues and attitudes that mainstream conservatives and Republicans have been harping on for virtually all of the 21st century, if not longer. Anyone with even passing familiarity with National Review, which rarely misses an opportunity to tout its central role in the post-war conservative movement, knows that the magazine has long been extremely hostile to immigration, extremely bellicose when it comes to foreign policy and projecting American "strength" abroad, and extremely quick to attack any real and perceived slights to "American exceptionalism" (a term more often invoked than defined with any precision) while excoriating any real and perceived concessions to "political correctness."Read more here.
These are exactly the grounds upon which Trump has seized the day in the Republican primary season, so if he is in fact "a philosophically unmoored political opportunist"—and I think that's a pretty fair description—National Review's editors might at least acknowledge that they helped to create the opportunity in the first place. After all (and whatever his past affiliation), Trump isn't running in the Democratic primaries, is he? And despite the editors' claim that since Jesse Jackson entered the 1984 Democratic race "both parties have been infested by candidates who have treated the presidency as an entry-level position," the plain fact is that it's the GOP and conservatives who regularly trot out and swoon for the likes of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Herman Cain.
Gillespie continues yesterday,
I understand why educated and cosmopolitan Republicans are freaked out by Trump: He's eating the party's lunch at this point.Read more here.
And he is crass, vulgar, and generally unthinking. The things he says about women such as Megyn Kelly and Carly Fiorina, the way he reveled in Ted Cruz being called a pussy, how he thinks of Mexicans—these are all deeply embarrassing to anyone with any sense of shame or decency. His policies, such as they are, are stupid and embarrassing, revolving mostly around statements of self-aggrandizement and obsessions with masculinity, greatness, weakness, and an ability to bend people to his will.