How liberals totally blew it on Donald Trump

They have some serious soul-searching to do

The unlikely politician.
(Image credit: REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

The conservative intellectuals who did not support Donald Trump for president often had idiosyncratic reasons for doing so. Many of them objected to his populist and nationalist positions on trade and immigration. These conservatives were devoted to liberal ideals of the free movement of labor and capital. Others conservatives opposed him because he demonstrated a devotion to an "America First" foreign policy. He wasn't always consistent, but he said he wanted to be friendly with Russia, and he regretted America's recent wars in the Middle East. These conservatives believe American power has to actively shape the world, or the world will fall into more chaos and violence.

I wasn't one of these conservatives, exactly. I wanted a more populist, protectionist, nationalist, and anti-interventionist GOP. But I could not bring myself to support Trump to accomplish it. His understanding and devotion to nationalist politics was not to be trusted, and he brought with them a maximal load of racist baggage. His resistance to "political correctness" itself seemed to unleash the worst in his supporters. His personal moral corruption made him unfit for the office. And most of all, I believed that the ranks of hawkish amateurs that surround him and his own touchy ego make him uniquely dangerous as the man conducting our foreign policy.

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Michael Brendan Dougherty

Michael Brendan Dougherty is senior correspondent at He is the founder and editor of The Slurve, a newsletter about baseball. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, ESPN Magazine, Slate and The American Conservative.