But on Tuesday night, the second of the Republican National Convention, Erickson wasn’t talking up the Republican Party or its nominee. Instead, like dozens of other conservative writers, he sent dozens of tweets mocking Donald Trump and blasting the Republicans for letting Trump conquer the party:
Trump, Jr. should run for office. He sounds like someone I could vote for, unlike his father.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 20, 2016
The GOP had one job this year — stopping Hillary. Instead, they’re handing her the White House by nominating her friend and donor, Trump.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 19, 2016
Not sure why Manafort continues to essentially blame Mrs. Trump for the plagiarism. Just admit it was a now fired speechwriter.— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) July 19, 2016
Republican politicians have largely come around to support Trump, even if they opposed him during the primary. That was illustrated tonight by speeches from House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who argued that it was important to support Trump in order to defeat Hillary Clinton.
But many top conservative writers and intellectuals have continued to resist Trump. If their reactions to the events tonight are any indication, they’ll continue to do so — regardless of what happens during the rest of the convention or leading up till Election Day.
Even as GOP politicians cave, leading conservative writers continue to oppose Trump
But the writers at the leading conservative publications — National Review, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, the American Conservative — have continued to treat Trump as a scourge on the Republican Party. (Maybe that’s in part because conservative writers don’t need Trump voters to keep their jobs, whereas conservative politicians do.)
The conservative magazine National Review proved one of Trump’s fiercest critics during the primary, at one point publishing an entire issue with 23 different essays devoted to attacking his candidacy. But it was still a sight to see the publication’s editors and leading writers spending the second night of the convention torching the party and its nominee:
"Unity is everything." Unity with what, @SpeakerRyan?— Kevin D. Williamson (@KevinNR) July 20, 2016
Don Jr. speech more orthodox Republican than most anything his Dad has said over last year— Rich Lowry (@RichLowry) July 20, 2016
One thing I don't think pro-Trump people can do: knock Hillary for being soft on Putin. Trump's affection for the guy is almost sensual.— Jay Nordlinger (@jaynordlinger) July 20, 2016
Trump has called himself "more presidential than anybody other than the great Abe Lincoln." Who said he doesn't have humility?— Jay Nordlinger (@jaynordlinger) July 20, 2016
It was hard to find the leader of a conservative publication who did not strongly attack the Republican nominee tonight. Just look at the tweets from John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary; Matthew Continetti, editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon; Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalist; and Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of DailyWire.com ... though the list could go on:
Hillary removed mention of Putin's war against Ukraine and our support from it from the platform! Guilty or not gui--wait, that's Trump— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 20, 2016
Sure, #RNCinCLE lacks policy detail. But it sounds like the GOP has a plan: Put Hillary in prison.— Matthew Continetti (@continetti) July 20, 2016
"He's also intransigent and narcissistic." https://t.co/fz4a6xmizV— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 20, 2016
Unsurprisingly, moderate conservatives — like the Atlantic’s David Frum, Business Insider’s Josh Barro, and the New York Times’s Ross Douthat — were also aghast at the spectacle tonight:
It's really amazing. The party is doing this fucking insane thing right now, and all these people are acting like it's okay.— Josh Barro (@jbarro) July 20, 2016
Oh, Donald Jr. gave a good speech. Oh, Christie should have been VP.— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) July 20, 2016
Be quiet. The party of Lincoln and Reagan has nominated Donald Trump.
Everyone major figure who participated in this grotesquerie has disgraced themselves on a level unique in the history of our republic.— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) July 20, 2016
Don't laugh. And don't ever forget.— Ross Douthat (@DouthatNYT) July 20, 2016
Not loving this Chris Christie rhetorical device of suggesting political opponents belong in prison— David Frum (@davidfrum) July 20, 2016
Desultory is our word for the day, ladies & gentlemen.— David Frum (@davidfrum) July 20, 2016
Ryan logic. The other party is boring. We offer flaming car wrecks!— David Frum (@davidfrum) July 20, 2016
Not to be outdone, more libertarian-leaning conservative writers also took whacks at Trump:
I honestly didn't know you could have two Democrats run for president. I thought one had to be a Republican.— Alyssa Canobbio (@AlyssaEinDC) July 19, 2016
Trump is "transparent" and "straight talking," except when he lies constantly, changes his positions, and won't release his tax returns.— Peter Suderman (@petersuderman) July 20, 2016
"Let's take our fight to our opponents with better ideas," Paul Ryan says, apparently unaware that the GOP nominated Donald Trump.— Peter Suderman (@petersuderman) July 20, 2016
"It still comes down to a contest of ideas," Paul Ryan says. About that: https://t.co/XVO2TfEcQD— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) July 20, 2016
Liberals might look at Republican politicians and argue that the party has caved with astonishing speed to an authoritarian demagogue. But for what it’s worth, leading conservative writers are still making their opposition to Trump clear, one angry tweet at a time.