The Claremont Institute

The Trump Phenomenon: How Did We Get Here, and What’s at Stake?

June 20, 2016

The polls were right, and the pundits were wrong. A Republican presidential field that was hailed as the most talented in a generation has been flummoxed, humbled, and finally beaten by Donald Trump. The Party of Lincoln is now firmly in the hands of a Manhattan billionaire, and conservatives seem hopelessly divided about how to proceed. Some embraced Trump early on and will continue to carry his banner in the general election. Others have made peace with him as the lesser of two evils. And some remain firmly in the #NeverTrump camp, committed to searching for a third option or simply staying home.

Whatever decision individual conservatives make come November, the time has come for the Right to reckon with what has happened. What can conservatives learn from Trump and from this episode? What is at stake for the Right should Trump prevail in November? If conservatives are to succeed in turning the nation back toward the principles of the American Founding, they will need to find answers to these questions and begin charting a path forward.