Where does the conservative movement of William F. Buckley Jr., Barry Goldwater, and Ronald Reagan stand today? By tracing the history of American conservative thought and politics, we can follow the path of a movement that began with the work of elites and has culminated in a populist revolt against elites of all stripes. By comparing the current moment with past episodes of conservative discontent, we can begin to understand what brings conservatives together—and what continues to drive them apart.
Matthew Continetti is a senior fellow and the Patrick and Charlene Neal Chair in American Prosperity at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is the founding editor of The Washington Free Beacon, a contributing editor at National Review, and a columnist for Commentary Magazine. He has been published in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, among other outlets. He also appears frequently on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report” with Bret Baier and NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd. Mr. Continetti is the author of three books: "The Right: The Hundred Year War for American Conservatism" (Basic, 2022); “The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star” (Sentinel, 2009) and “The K Street Gang: The Rise and Fall of the Republican Machine” (Doubleday, 2006). He has a BA in history from Columbia University.