Updated: Jul 5, 2021
Trump created a new conservatism. Now its our job to nurture it.
 Back in the early days of the Donald Trump phenomenon, whenever he supposedly got out of line a recurring joke about him was, “But he fights.” The pundits laughed. The poor rubes suckered by Trump were supposedly taken in by some canard that he was a fighter. But the fact is he was, he won a lot of those fights, and his voters are better off for those wins.
When the spurious allegations of long past sexual misconduct from now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh emerged, conventional wisdom said his nomination was over. Pre-Trump, that would have been exactly right. He would have been thrown under the bus in the time it took a Sandy Koufax fastball to reach the plate. It was the smart play. But instead Trump fought.
Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, as U.S. presidents have promised for, well nigh my whole life and never delivered on, was accomplished. This was supposedly going to retard the prospects of peace in the Middle East. Instead, Trump achieved the historic normalization of relations between Israel and several Arab states. That happened because he fought.
Since the late 1980s we have assumed that opening trade to communist China would liberate the repressive state there. We did that even after Tiananmen Square. It didn’t work. We now have a China even more committed to repressing its people. Our workers lost out over those decades of acquiescence to China. Trump started a trade war. He fought.
Our public schools are teaching our kids a version of American history that leads them to believe ours is a horrible nation, rife with racism and in need of radical reform. Trump knew that isn’t true. He commissioned thinkers to create the 1776 Commission to reform this horrible left turn. Biden erased that effort in his first days in office. Again, Trump fought.
I probably used the “but he fights” line back when I feared Trump was a great threat to the republic. You’d have to check my Twitter account. But I was wrong. It’s not actually a joke. He really did fight for things that are remarkably important when far too many in the Republican Party just let them slide. Trump spoke for me and my ideas and the ideas of millions of Americans.
Conservatives aren’t supposed to fight. We are supposed to go gently into that dark night of leftist hegemony and just hope our Norman Rockwell prints aren’t confiscated and cancelled. No. David French and Jonah Goldberg can keep doing that for whoever reads them anymore, but conservatives will not. We will keep up Trump’s fight.
When William F. Buckley annunciated movement conservatism, he said things like “Nominate the most electable conservative” and “Stand athwart history yelling stop!” These were incredibly defensive positions. In retrospect, maybe making George Will’s bow tie the avatar for a conservatism that ceded cultural ground at every turn was a mistake.
Trump invited the American people to fight back. We can argue over whether he was a carnival clown, but as the examples above show, it was wildly successful. There is no going back. Biden’s cavalcade of leftist wish list executive orders shows exactly where we are. Democrats don’t desire a détente, they desire domination. Over you, over your kids, over your community.
Unlike Buckley, Trump appeals to working-class and minority voters, and makes an effort to earn their votes. Unlike Buckley, Trump does not simply assume we are losing and trying to slow it down. He wants to win. And, yeah, he lost. He fought, but he lost.
Now it’s our fight. Now it is our responsibility to save the country. Who’s with me?