S5E1: Matthew Continetti | Restoring Constitutional Conservatism in America
This week’s podcast marks the first episode of a brand-new season. For this inaugural episode of Season 5, our host Henry Thomson sits down with Matthew Continetti to discuss his new book, “The Right: The 100 Year War for American Conservatism.”
The discussion starts by highlighting the significant transformation of American conservatism, particularly in the Republican Party, from 2012 to the present day. Continetti explores how the GOP has evolved and its changing relationship with conservative principles within the American political landscape.
He reflects, “What led me to writing my book was during a period between 2012 and 2016, I began noticing just how different the Republican Party was than the party that I had come of age in and worked as a journalist covering for many years.”
When speaking to highlights of his newest book, Continetti provides deeper historical context for the changes in American conservatism. He traces the evolution of conservatism from earlier periods, such as the rise of populism, the Tea Party movement, and the emergence of Donald Trump on the political scene.
Our host Thomson also asks about demographic changes in the Republican Party’s voter base, specifically the shift towards a coalition of non-college-educated white voters and its implications for the party’s future.
In response, Continetti said, “The major histories that had been written from a conservative perspective on the conservative movement and the GOP hadn’t been updated. They ended prior to certainly the Iraq war in 2003, the financial crisis, the Tea Party, and Trump.”
The conversation also delves into the influence of Donald Trump on American politics. Continetti argues Trump’s impact extends beyond his presidency. The discussion recognizes the significant role Trump played in reshaping the Republican Party and explores how Trump’s celebrity and willingness to challenge political norms had a profound impact on the GOP’s direction.
“What Trump essentially did was bulldoze all of the limits and constraints that the GOP as an institution had put on the populism of Patrick Buchanan, of Ross Perot, of Ron and Rand Paul,” said Continetti.
For more from this week’s conversation with Matthew Continetti, be sure to listen online to the Keeping it Civil Podcast.