Some of the most interesting people in the world to me right now are the homeless conservatives, that not-so-merry band of right-leaning ideologues and idealists who reject Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party and who find it more pleasurable to stand outside Mar-a-Lago and throw rocks than to make believe that what is happening inside is normal.
One of the most important of these homeless conservatives is Jonah Goldberg, who has been a stalwart anti-liberal voice for a generation. But Goldberg, a senior editor at the National Review (which is itself a kind of shelter for Never Trumpers) has seen many of his friends accommodate themselves to the new reality.
“The slow takeover of the right by the Trumpets is akin to Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” he told me on a recent episode of our podcast, The Atlantic Interview. “All of a sudden, you see a close friend of yours talking about Comrade Trump, and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, they got you!’”
The cult of personality is strong, he says, and the social consequences for conservatives who argue against Trumpism are harsh. “If you don’t speak in these silly euphemisms, like ‘Maybe he should tweet less,’ you piss people off.”
I wanted to interview Jonah because I find him provocative and sharp, but also because I have as a goal the disaggregation of all media Goldbergs. I am frequently confused for Jonah, and sometimes I’m blamed for the things he writes. He is blamed for the things I write, of course, and we sometimes get each other’s mail. This interview was a chance to convince podcast listeners that we are, indeed, two separate people.