The election of Donald Trump is both cause and effect of a scrambled American political landscape. Trump’s campaign rhetoric promised a new departure from the allegedly failed policies of the Washington “swamp,” beyond conventional categories of liberal and conservative. Although not himself a conservative, Trump attracted a great deal of support from elements within the conservative movement as he won the Republican presidential nomination, even as other conservatives opposed his rise.
Well into his tumultuous first year in office, and in the aftermath of right-wing violence in Charlottesville, President Trump continues to roil American political life. He remains a particular challenge for conservatives, who are politically linked to his administration yet still struggle to balance immediate political calculations with longer term principles. What does conservatism mean in the Trump era? How can the history of the conservative movement understand the rise of Donald Trump, and what does it suggest about the future?
To address these and other questions, FPRI President Alan Luxenberg will “interrogate” FPRI’s Ron Granieri. A historian of modern Europe who was once described by his fellow undergraduates at Harvard as “too nice to be a conservative,” Granieri seems always to be swimming against the tide of conservatism. Granieri received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and is director of research at UPenn’s Lauder Institute.