Election 2016

How the American Conservative Crowd Is Voting

Trump gets a plurality, while figures ranging from Jill Stein to David French get cameos.


Current Events

The American Conservative is one of the few publications out there that lets its readers know how its writers intend to vote. (Reason does this too.) This year's forum features the voting plans of 26 "conservatives, libertarians, and independently minded progressives," not all of them directly affiliated with the magazine. By my count the breakdown looks like this:

Donald Trump (Republican): 9
not voting: 5
Gary Johnson (Libertarian): 4
Hillary Clinton (Democrat): 1
Mike Maturen (American Solidarity): 1
Evan McMullin (independent): 1
Jill Stein (Green): 1

There are also two write-in votes, one for David French and one (probably) for Susan Collins.

Two participants are vague about their intentions. Andrew Bacevich says he'll vote for "one of the 'third party' candidates," but he doesn't tell us which one. Chase Madar, who lives in New York, informs us that "if I were voting in my native Ohio, I'd hold my nose and choose Clinton," but he doesn't say who he will be voting for other than to note that it "doesn't matter."

It may not sound unusual for a magazine called The American Conservative to prefer the Republican over the Democrat by a wide margin. But in their 2012 forum Mitt Romney and Barack Obama each had about the same number of supporters, and in 2008 Obama had more backers than John McCain. So Trump's clear plurality here represents a break with the past, at The American Conservative as in the GOP.

That said: My vote breakdown doesn't really capture the full range of opinion, and not just because the Trump boosters have—how shall I put this?—different levels of enthusiasm for their chosen candidate. My favorite bit of ideological eclecticism comes from Gene Callahan, who plans to go Green but adds that if he lived in a swing state, he'd vote for Trump. His argument has an internal logic, but I'm pretty sure most mainstream pundits would find it mystifying anyway.

Update: Madar tells me, via Twitter, that he's "on the fence between Stein and Clinton."

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  1. David French? Egg McMuffin not douchey enough for someone?

    1. Ugh.

      David Frrrroench.

      Me support jack boot police state because authority. /scratches crotch.

  2. For a magazine called The American Conservative

    1. Nobody knows what a conservative is anymore, not even the people who write for a publication dedicated to the cause.

      1. Conservative means to radically change the US by militarily supporting an invade the world, invite the world policy

        Or that is what I get from those who claim they are conservative.

        Its like present day liberalism, except they like to weaken their oppoinents with sanctions before using the military

        1. They also are skeptical of government, because government spends too much money and gets in the way of cops just trying to do their jobs.

  3. um.

    Jill Stein?


    1. I took that “I side with” survey and had more in common with Jill Stein than Hillary. In fact Hildog came in dead last even though all the kooks were included. So, I guess it isn’t completely insane.

      1. Yeah, but what set of issues did the survey use for Hillary? Last month’s platform or this month’s? Her public opinions on things or her private ones?

      2. Same. She was my number three, behind Gary and McMullen. She won’t do anything economically that Hillary wouldn’t do, and she’d be far better on war, which the president, in our new millennium of kinetic action incidents, has more control over. I would take her over Trump, even with a Democrat Senate, though probably not a full blue Congress.

    2. Callahan’s a… he’s one-of-a-kind, let’s say that.

  4. The Hill calls for Obama to preemptively pardon Hillary even though “[h]istorians may ultimately see this as little more than an effort to criminalize political animosity,” I mean, he’s sure there’s no crime here or anything, but let’s just pardon her, anyway. If voters decide Hillary’s email issues are trifling, who cares about the law? The will of the people > the rule of law. It is known.

  5. The American Conservative is a great publication. Their writers are such an eclectic mix (the only major publication I can think of that publishes articles by Justin Raimondo) of the anti-war Right. When they backed John Kerry in 2004 (after being denounced by National Review for being ‘unpatriotic’ by opposing the Iraq War) it showed that the publication wasn’t just another shallow mouth piece for the Republican Party. I’m surprised that so many of them are backing Trump, since they haven’t really written anything positive about the Orange One.

    If the ideas espoused in the American Conservative were mainstream in the Republican Party, I think fusionism would work.

    1. I visit AC weekly. Eclectic mix is right. While it’s fun to see such a group break with mainstream conservatism, the mix is such an incomprehensible mess, it just goes to show how screwed up conservative thought is.

      1. Primarily because conservative is a meaningless term.

    2. My impression is that Trump is probably doing better with TAC staff this year because (a) control of SCOTUS is viewed as being on the line to a much greater degree; and (b) some TAC members have talked themselves into believing that Trump will be substantially less interventionist than Clinton.

  6. *looks up platform for Mike Maturen*


    1. Big-government social conservatives. *shudder*

      1. This American Solidarity Party seems to go beyond Big-government social conservatives to full-on socialist social conservatives.

  7. …he doesn’t say who he will be voting for other than to note that it “doesn’t matter.”

    Say what you want about the tenets of conservatism, at least it’s an ethos.

  8. Voting for Clinton or Stein is unforgivable for a conservative.

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