Yale University: “Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites”

Donald Trump, Trump rally, MAGA, 2019, Greenville, NC, Internet, Campaign, Republican Party

Center for the Study of Representative Institutions: “Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites”


On October 29, 2020, the Center for the Study of Representative Institutions at Yale University, a JMC partner program, will be hosting JMC faculty partner Robert Saldin and Steven Teles to discuss their recent book, Never Trump: The Revolt of the Conservative Elites:

As it became increasingly apparent that Donald Trump might actually become the Republican party’s 2016 presidential nominee, alarmed conservatives coalesced behind a simple, uncompromising slogan: Never Trump. Although the movement initially included a large number of Republican office-holders, its white-hot core was always comprised of the policy experts, public intellectuals, and campaign professionals who play a critical role in the modern political party system. They saw in Trump a repudiation of longstanding conservative doctrine and, in his unprincipled appeals to voters, the kind of demagogue the founders famously warned about. Never Trumpers took their shot at denying Trump the presidency-everything from flailing attempts to coalesce around other Republican candidates and collective letters of opposition, to a desperate third party challenge and even supporting their longtime nemesis Hillary Clinton. But in their attempt to kill the king, they missed. Now on the margins of a party that has enthusiastically united around the president, Never Trumpers have been reduced to the status of a remnant, shut out from government and hoping for a day when their party awakens from its Trumpist spell.

Based on extensive interviews with conservative opponents of the president, Robert P. Saldin and Steven M. Teles reveal why such a wide range of committed partisans chose to break with their longtime comrades in arms. Never Trump provides a window into the motivations of these conservative professionals and a guide to the long-term consequences that their unprecedented revolt holds for the Republican and Democratic parties, conservatism, and American democracy.

Thursday, October 29, 2020 • 4:00 PM EDT
A virtual event • Yale University

Contact ycri@yale.edu to RSVP

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Robert Saldin is a Professor of Political Science and a Mansfield Center Fellow at the University of Montana. He is the author of When Bad Policy Makes Good Politics (Oxford, 2017) and War, the American State, and Politics since 1898 (2011). His scholarly articles have appeared in outlets such as The Journal of Politics, Political Science QuarterlyJournal of Policy History, Political Research Quarterly, and Presidential Studies Quarterly. He’s also written extensively for the popular press, including The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Republic, and National Affairs.

Professor Saldin is a JMC faculty partner.

Learn more about Robert Saldin >>



Steven TelesSteven Teles is a Professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University, and Senior Fellow at the Niskanen Center. He is the author of The Captured Economy: How The Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth and Increase Inequality (With Brink Lindsey, Oxford 2017); Prison Break: Why Conservatives Turned Against Mass Incarceration (With David Dagan, Oxford 2016), The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law (Princeton, 2008) and Whose Welfare: AFDC and Elite Politics (Kansas, 1996). He has also written widely in a number of general interest publications, from The Nation, Democracy, The Washington Monthly, and The American Prospect, to The Public Interest, National Review, and National Affairs.

Learn more about Steven Teles >>



The Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions (YCRI) at Yale University is an interdisciplinary pilot program, established for the purpose of developing the study of the theory and practice of representative government in the Anglo-American tradition. It is hosted by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University.

Click here to learn more about the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions >>



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