It is conventional to say that American "conservatives" have been composed of four groups that have little or nothing in common: national-security conservatives, social conservatives, economic libertarians, plutocrats, and successful rent-seekers. But it is increasingly clear that that was wrong. Yes, making America more unequal is a goal. Yes, entrenching rent-seekers—especially those whom regulatory rollback allows to externalize costs—is a goal. But the main point really does appear to be convincing oneself that one is part of a strong group that is winning—and that mens making other people outside the group appear to be losing. We have no special insight into this, so we continue to play our position. But it is very disturbing, as it is something our political system does not know how to handle at all:

Ezra Klein: Trump Was Right, and Justin Amash Was Wrong, About Conservatives: "For most conservatives, whether they were prominent pundits or everyday voters... no contradiction between conservatism and Trumpism.... Conservatism isn’t, for most people, an ideology. It’s a group identity.... Michael Barber and Jeremy Pope.... 'There has never been a president (or any party leader) who shifts back and forth so often between liberal and conservative issue positions'.... If conservatism was an ideology... a stronger attachment to that ideology should provide a stronger mooring against the winds of Trump.... Instead, 'we observe exactly the opposite: strong "conservatives" are the most likely to be partisan loyalists—following Trump in a liberal direction when told of his support for a liberal policy.'... Our political language fails us. The terms we use to describe ideologies are often describing social identities. And what matters to an identity group is whether their group is winning or losing. Trump understood this better than most...