366 days from today — one calendar leap year — someone new will be reciting the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States.
And so far, the 2016 presidential campaign has been defined by the term anti-establishment.
Bernie Sanders — a self-described socialist and independent — is making a strong run at the Democrats’ establishment candidate, former Secretary of State and First Lady, Hillary Clinton.
Among Republicans, the anti-establishment candidate is the front-runner. Donald Trump jumped into the lead in the polls and has yet to be toppled.
While Democrats are not questioning Sanders’ party credentials, the same cannot be said for Trump and the Republicans, to the point where some icons of the conservative movement say they can envision a third party conservative candidate if Trump is the Republican standard bearer.
The Establishment vs. The Conservatives
Jonah Goldberg – National Review
A major reason for this stems from the fact that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have spent the last year lumped together by those conservatives who consider themselves “anti-establishment.” That’s fine, and it is absolutely true that both Trump and Cruz are anti-establishment. But being anti-establishment isn’t in and of itself an ideologically coherent worldview. Bernie Sanders is anti-establishment, too. That doesn’t make him conservative, does it?
The Truth About Donald Trump
Erick Erickson – The Resurgent
Donald Trump is not my cup of tea as a candidate. I’m more into candidates who try to lift us to the better angels of ourselves and I do not think his campaign is doing that right now. … If Donald Trump really has become a conservative, I take St. Paul to heart that we should not put new converts in charge. He needs some time helping the movement before he leads the movement. …
Whether you think Trump is an opportunist or not is irrelevant. All politicians are. Trump is a businessman who saw an opportunity and took it. He has, in the process, done several commendable things.
Why I Will Never Vote for Donald Trump
Peter Wehner – The New York Times
Beginning with Ronald Reagan, I have voted Republican in every presidential election since I first became eligible to vote in 1980. … Despite this history, and in important ways because of it, I will not vote for Donald Trump if he wins the Republican nomination. …
If Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton were the Republican and Democratic nominees, I would prefer to vote for a responsible third-party alternative; absent that option, I would simply not cast a ballot for president. A lot of Republicans, I suspect, would do the same.
Why Trump’s Conservative Apostasies Don’t Matter
Kristen Soltis Anderson – Washington Examiner
“Deal from strength or get crushed every time!”
Much of the media laughed, of course. But the lyrics of the “Trump Girls” anthem — and Trump’s consistent use of the language of strength vs. weakness — actually tell us quite a bit about why Trump has thus far been impervious to attacks on his Republican and conservative bona fides.
Trying to undo Trump by attacking his Republican loyalty or conservative creds seems to have limited impact. That’s because Trump’s core proposition is not that he will be a champion of free markets or advocate for limited government. It is that he is strong. He is bold.