National Review - Trump

The National Review issue features anti-Trump essays from more than 20 conservative thinkers, leaders and commentators. | AP Photo



By Shane Goldmacher
01/21/16 – 09:04 PM EST

  • The influential magazine turns to conservative leaders to make the anti-Trump case.

For months, Republican leaders have worried about how to stop 2016 frontrunner Donald Trump. Now, one of the conservative movement’s most influential publications is taking matters into its own hands.

National Review is dedicating a special issue of its magazine, one week before the Iowa caucuses, to stopping Trump. “Against Trump,” blares the magazine cover. Inside, a blistering editorial questions Trump’s commitment to conservatism, warning voters that backing him is tantamount to allowing the conservative movement to have “fallen in behind a huckster.”

“Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” the editorial reads.

And that’s just the start.

The National Review issue features anti-Trump essays from more than 20 conservative thinkers, leaders and commentators spanning the GOP’s ideological spectrum from David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian-infused Cato Institute, to William Kristol, the hawkish editor of the Weekly Standard, to David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth. All call for Republicans to nominate someone other than Trump.

“This is the time to mobilize,” said National Review editor Rich Lowry, who is also a weekly opinion columnist at POLITICO. “The establishment is AWOL, or even worse, so it’s up to people who really believe in these ideas and principles, for whom they’re not just talking points or positions of convenience, to set out the marker.”

Although Trump has dominated national presidential polls since last summer, he has been subjected to relatively minor attacks on the airwaves. Instead, the more traditional candidates have turned into a circular firing squad shooting at each other, especially anyone who emerges as a possible top Trump alternative. The campaigns and super PACs supporting Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie have aired millions in ads slamming one another. (The super PAC supporting John Kasich has been the notable exception in targeting Trump.)

With Cruz clinging to a narrow lead in Iowa, and Trump leading everywhere else, the question of who to choose between the two has convulsed through Republican circles in recent days and weeks.

Some leading GOP voices, most notably Bob Dole, have argued that Trump is a deal-maker with whom establishment Republicans could actually work, unlike Cruz. Former GOP Senate leader Trent Lott said he’d take Trump over Cruz, too. And longtime Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has announced his opposition to Cruz, though he has not backed Trump.

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