There was a time when conservatives, and conservative pundits, didn’t have flexibility in their views. Whether it be the religious right, who took a no-compromise attitude toward life or prayer in schools or conservative pundits like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh who lambasted any “big government” politician.
In the age of Trump, that all seemed to change in an instant.
First, you saw Jerry Falwell, Jr abandon many of the conservative principles espoused by his father and the school he runs, Liberty University, by endorsing Trump early in the primary season. It was questionable at the time, and ever since Falwell has been one of Trump’s main surrogates from the religious right, as Trump has publicly been on the record for abortion, gay rights, and has often been at odds with Falwell’s fears of a sexual revolution in a society.
Falwell, Sr. and his moral majority were abandoned.
Maybe even more hypocritical are there are the talking heads. Sean Hannity got really rich criticizing President Obama every time he opened his mouth. During the 2008 campaign, he identified Obama’s inexperience and “radical” social values (pro-choice, pro-gay, even though Obama opposed gay marriage at the time) as a disqualifier in his search for the Presidency. But Trump, who had less government experience and very similar social views to Obama was treated as ready on day one. Hannity has often become such a sycophant that it’s made you wonder if he’s secretly on the payroll or wants to be White House Press Secretary. Many Fox Newsers, like Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, the formerly highly rated Bill O’Reilly, and the entire cast of Fox & Friends in the morning have taken frequent sips of the Trump orange Kool-Aid.
There have been conservatives, whether you like them or not, that haven’t been afraid of standing up to Trump’s mailable, less than conservative positions. Just look at Ann Coulter, Erick Erickson, David French, and Rich Lowry have continued to make their ideology or the hope for better government their goal, not supporting someone who seems to have no real values system.
The question you should ask yourself, especially if you were a Trump supporter, is this: What matters most to you? Is it a candidate or officeholder that believes what you believe? Or is it a personality who you trust to do the right thing? Many social conservatives will have to ask themselves these questions as the President continues to show his true colors.
Patrick Pfingsten is an award-winning journalist, political consultant, and PR expert. You can find him on Twitter @pfingsten1 or email him at email@example.com.