Who doesn't love the smell of right-wing civil war in the morning?
What about the aspirant who has a private vision to offer to the public and has the means, personal or contrived, to finance a campaign? In some cases, the vision isn’t merely a program to be adopted. It is a program that includes the visionary’s serving as President. Look for the narcissist. The most obvious target in today’s lineup is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America. But whatever the depths of self-enchantment, the demagogue has to say something. So what does Trump say? That he is a successful businessman and that that is what America needs in the Oval Office. There is some plausibility in this, though not much. The greatest deeds of American Presidents — midwifing the new republic; freeing the slaves; harnessing the energies and vision needed to win the Cold War — had little to do with a bottom line….
[For voters,] the resistance to a corrupting demagogy should take first priority.
Unlike many on the left, I'm not a Bill Buckley-hater. The man had his faults; so do I. And since I don't hate myself (much) for my faults, I have a hard time intensely hating him for his. But mostly my tolerance of, and ambivalence toward, Buckley (whose finest biography, incidentally, is law professor Carl Bogus's Buckley: William F. Buckley Jr. and the Rise of Modern Conservatism) comes from my upbringing — that of my father's weekly (and anti-Buckley) sessions of watching "Firing Line." Enormously dissimilar to modern right-wing morons like Rush Limbaugh, Buckley reveled in reserved, literate, sophisticated debate with the ideological enemy. I admired that, his political substance notwithstanding.
Should Buckley, whose name is indeed inextricably tied to the rise of modern conservatism, have known that his political substance could, in time, lead to a Donald Trump? The above-cited article suggests that he suspected just that, and was warning against it long before the Brookses and Wills and Krauthammers ever did.