E.D. Kain explains:

I would suggest that perhaps the conservative movement itself is the most sacred of sacred cows here, and also the greatest impediment to conservatism as a ‘reality-based force in American politics’. More than anything, it is the movement itself which creates these closed information circuits, which revels in anti-historicism and the weaving of conservative illusion. In some ways it is also a great political force, but I also suspect that it is nearing its zenith in terms of both heat and light.

These sorts of movements by their very natures have poor immune systems which is why they guard themselves so fiercely, why they are forced to create alternative narratives, alternate histories. They are brittle. The conservative movement, for all its ferocity and political savvy, is brittle, because it relies too heavily on its own illusions – illusions which have been made in recent years all too convincing by outlets like Fox News.

And when such reality-divorced movements collapse, they collapse very suddenly.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.