Why I Love National Review by Tom Donelson

There are many great political journals and journalists on the right worth reading on a daily basis.  National Review and its online version NRO are my favorites and I have a few friends’ works there including senior Editor Ramesh Ponnuru and John Fund.


Many Trump supporters view National Review with suspicion and that began with their December 2015 issue making the case against Trump.  Let put this in perspective. In December 2015, there were serious question about Trump, not the least that it wasn’t that earlier that Trump was a registered Democrat and funded a few Democrat campaigns.  In 2012, Trump was to the left of the “Gang of Eight” that attempted immigration reform in 2013 while National Review opposed the Gang of Eight.   Nor did he run like a typical conservative during the 2016 primary and he attacked much of the foreign policy of the Bush years.

There are many Trump supporters today who agreed with National Review in 2015 and at least one major populist/conservative pundit who write for The Gateway Pundit , Cassandra Fairbanks was a Bernie Sanders supporter.  I was a never Trumper in the primary before becoming a Never Hillary in the general election.  Back to National Review and while many on staff were Never Trumpers like David French and Jonah Goldberg, others like Conrad Black and Victor Davis Hanson defended Trump and made the case for his Presidency.


In one of the 2016 February issues, Rich Lowry and Ramesh Ponnuru outline an agenda combining Trump populism and conservatism, an agenda that Trump has followed for the most part.  Trump policies dealing with immigration reform, tax reform, regulation reforms, and Supreme Court Picks resembled what National Review recommended as a course of action.

Even today, the Never Trumpers on the National Review staff support much of the Trump agenda nor have they called for Republican defeat in the midterms like Washington Never trumpers like Tom Nichols have called for.  And there are plenty of staff members who have supported Trump as they did in 2016 election. What National Review provides is an intellectual basis for the populist movement and anchoring it to conservatism.  Reagan provided a gateway to populism and conservatism in the 1970’s and 80’s, showing how a synergy between conservatism and populism can work.  So far, Trump has shown populism and conservatism can be merged.   Since 1955, National Review has helped defined and defend conservatism.


The first in a series on Conservative journals and website.

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