Chapter 3: Matt Continetti
Chris Stirewalt’s third guest is AEI Fellow and Washington Free Beacon founder Matthew Continetti, who gives voice to the story of the GOP’s ascendant populism from the historical perspective of the American right and the conservative movement. As Matt says, while Trump may have proved the usefulness of populism as a last-ditch electoral strategy, the long-form history of right-wing populism shows that “apocalypticism is a feature, or even the dark side, of populist movements.” By Matt’s lights, conservative politicians in Washington had a vastly different understanding of what “constitutional conservatism” meant compared to the grassroots, but they kept in lockstep regardless. These contradictions simmered under the surface for years, only to explode into the Trump campaign. “For the Tea Partiers, [it meant] that the current government in Washington D.C. was something of an alien, invasive presence. And radical measures were necessary to beat it back.” Additionally, tune in for an analysis of Trump’s “mental jiu-jitsu” and a unique critique of the 2012 GOP autopsy.