Political Experts Ask “Conservatism: What Now?”

Noted political commentators Noah Rothman and Damon Linker participated in Ursinus’s Pancoast Lecture series.

The event was held in the Lenfest Theater in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center.

Rothman, associate editor of Commentary Magazine and a frequent guest on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and Linker, a former senior editor at Newsweek, a writer for the New Republic, and now the senior correspondent for The Week, spoke candidly about the state of conservatism in the United States in the Trump era.

“Conservatism usually warns against making predictions, and the last election showed the wisdom in this warning,” Paul Stern, professor of politics and international relations, said in his introductory remarks. “But tonight, because of the current, extraordinary state of our politics, we’re going to ignore this wisdom and ask, what’s next for conservatism?”

Stern introduced the panelists, who provided short opening remarks before diving into a discussion covering a wide range of topics under the umbrella of conservatism.

Often finding common ground on topics defining conservative ideology and what is seen as “normal” within the presidency, their main difference in opinion surrounded the current position of conservatism.

Linker noted his stance that conservatism in America is “dead” and voiced his opinion that President Trump is “hands down the most thoroughly un-conservative president to serve the United States.”

Rothman, not convinced of Linker’s point, argued, “Conservative principles have survived many trials and have been around since before the nation.”

After the discussion, students engaged the panelists and asked questions touching on socialism and the national economy.

The Pancoast Lecture Series is funded by Ray Hamilton ’57 and takes its name from Sieber Pancoast ’37. —By Mary Lobo ’15