by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The attack was released nearly a week ago but it appears to have made no dent on Trump’s poll numbers. In fact, the brash New Yorker now boasts some of his highest numbers only a few short days away from the Iowa caucuses.
Granted, National Review’s proprietors stated the primary reason for publishing the issue wasn’t necessarily to derail Trump at the ballot box, but to “stand on principles.”
It also wasn’t too big of a shock for NR and Co. to make this statement. Since announcing he was running for the White House, big names on the Right have shown little love for The Donald.
The first article published by NR after Trump got into the race in June was titled, “Witless Ape Rides Escalator.”
Ignoring the mutual mud slinging between Trump and his conservative critics, the chief criticism of the presidential hopeful from the Right has always been that’s he’s a “fake conservative” and threatens all the great work of the conservative movement. National Review just reiterated those claims and put them all together for one mega-declaration of non-support.
But, increasingly, it’s seeming Republican voters don’t care Trump is not a conventional conservative. Even The Donald rarely identifies himself by that label, in contrast to all of his opponents who have draped themselves in conservatism throughout the primary — regardless of whether their respective records or policies are actually so.
Trump, on the other hand, simply appeals to national pride and identity, not abstract principles. Failing conservative purity tests doesn’t seem to upset him or his supporters.