Pete Spiliakos is a columnist for First Things.

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Assembling An American Majority

From Web Exclusives

Liberals are confident that they own the future, but conservatives have a chance to shape a better tomorrow. Ramesh Ponnuru notes that, even though the conservative voter base of white, married Christians is in relative demographic decline, American public opinion has been fairly stable over the . . . . Continue Reading »

Scott Walker and the Bubble

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Wisconsin governor Scott Walker's transition from state to federal politics has been bumpy, but it is indicative of broader social trends. Walker seems to have a firm grasp of the opinions and priorities of the median Wisconsin voter on state-level issues, but has seemed terribly confused about . . . . Continue Reading »

The Republican Establishment and Trump, Hubris and Nemesis

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There is a chasm that separates right-leaning voters (a group that is larger than the conservative “base”) and the Republican Party's establishment. A grotesque figure who had supported single-payer health care and a recent supporter of Planned Parenthood is leading the polls for the Republican nomination. A famed surgeon who has no experience of elective office is running second, while the Republican senator most hated by the Republican senatorial conference is running third. These polls are a terrible predictor of the next Republican presidential nominee, but they still tell us something important. Continue Reading »

The Real Story of the Summer

From Web Exclusives

The Planned Parenthood videos are a far more important story than the Donald Trump nonsense. Whether by Columbus Day, or Thanksgiving, or Valentine's Day, the Trump campaign will be over due to declining poll ratings or defeat in delegate selection contests. The Planned Parenthood videos and, just as important, the reaction of liberal elites to the Planned Parenthood videos demonstrate the enormous obstacles and the equally enormous opportunities that conservatives face in reaching a large fraction of the American public. How we overcome those obstacles—or fail to—will determine the course of American politics and society. Continue Reading »

We Need Institutions and Trust

From Web Exclusives

Imagine you are part of that growing majority of Americans who do not watch Fox News, do not listen to conservative talk radio, and do not frequent conservative websites. You have heard about the Confederate flag controversy. You have heard all about Donald Trump's various idiocies. What have you heard about the horrors emanating from Planned Parenthood? There is a chance you have heard nothing. Perhaps you read a story that was a barely comprehensible jumble of competing allegations. Perhaps you heard about how some extremists are viciously attacking a respected provider of women's health services. If we can't reach such people, we cannot win lasting victories. Continue Reading »

A Campaign That is Lost Every Day

From Web Exclusives

Many conservatives feel like they are living in a country they no longer understand and that does not particularly like them. There is some truth to those feelings. Millions of Americans only hear about conservatives when they (putatively) misbehave and about conservative ideas in ugly and distorted forms. The result is that many Americans who might otherwise be supportive of or indifferent to political conservatism range from passively to actively hostile. Continue Reading »

Don't Sweat the Donald

From Web Exclusives

Eleven percent of New Hampshire's conservatives favor crony capitalist, eminent domain abuser, supporter of single-payer health care, and all-around-buffoon, Donald Trump for president. But they don't really. A fraction of the Republican electorate is having some weird fun with the conventions and . . . . Continue Reading »

What Have We Learned From the Iraq War?

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Knowing what we know now,” would you have invaded Iraq? Jeb Bush stumbled over this question. His answer focused on whether Saddam Hussein's regime had active programs for weapons of mass destruction. But the mistakes relating to WMDs are neither the only, nor the most currently relevant, of the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Real Immigration Challenge

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Back in the 1990s, Newt Gingrich observed that every society faces an immigration challenge (this was when he was a somewhat more reliable ideas man). He said that there are geographic immigrants (who come from some other place), and there are temporal immigrants (who are born into society). It is . . . . Continue Reading »

Conservatives and Low-Skilled Workers

From Web Exclusives

People in the Republican establishment have been suggesting that conservatives can either try to appeal to working-class whites by supporting limits to future immigration levels, or they can try to appeal to Hispanics by seeking to increase future immigration levels. The truth is that conservatives have never had to make this choice. In 2012, Republicans chose to alienate both working-class whites and Hispanics. In the future, conservatives should try to appeal to both groups by focusing on the economic priorities of those groups rather than ethnic gamesmanship.In the 2012 campaign, Romney's combination of economic priorities and immigration messaging proved especially toxic. On immigration, Romney advocated no amnesty and hoped that current unauthorized immigrants would self-deport. For Hispanics (and possibly even for Asians—among whom Romney did even worse than among Hispanics), the message was that Romney’s love for business owners was exceeded only by contempt for immigrants (legal and illegal). Continue Reading »