Christopher Buskirk, publisher of the ingratiating website American Greatness, writes in a Washington Post op-ed that "As President Trump continues to remake the Republican Party in his image, calls for last rites to be given to American conservatism are not just premature — they’re entirely wrong." In fact the president's detractors "are missing an intellectual and political reformation that is reshaping U.S. politics."
Buskirk's at-first curious use of "reformation" is nonetheless key, for he goes on to compare Trump and Trumpism to — brace — Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, which is a bit like comparing Professor Irwin Corey and his television skits to Albert Einstein and his two theories of relativity. For Buskirk there is no Trumpian hyperbole too hyperbolic. He complains that "critics focus too much on the man" rather than his stupendously brilliant "message," although "the man" himself is conspicuously central to all that Buskirk holds dear.
As he sees it, Trump's Republican predecessors screwed up everything, what with their "high-church coastal conservatism." But with Trump in charge conservatism is — try not to suppress your laughter here, just let it rip — "yielding to an intellectually deeper and politically robust small 'r' republicanism that hopes to build a new political consensus from the ground up."
Construction, according to the essayist, is already well underway. "American conservatism isn’t dead or dying. It’s thriving, but you’d have to look outside the Beltway and the legacy institutions to see it."
That's precisely what Harvard's Institute of Politics did. Its finding can be found in its "Spring 2018 Youth Poll," the 35th annual survey of those 18 to 29 years of age. Among the poll's findings is this: "25 percent approve of [Trump's] performance, 72 percent disapprove."
There you see the generational future of American politics, which is far from the "new political consensus" that Buskirk imagines — "At the heart of [whose] movement are the millions of people of good faith who back Trump and, more important, his agenda." Buskirk further describes the movement as a "conservative renaissance" that "is young but vigorous." Vigorous it may be, in a grumpy, rocking-chair kind of vigor. But a renaissance it ain't, and though relatively "young," it sure as hell isn't youthful.