Left and Right

The Undead Consensus

By Sohrab Ahmari, Compact

Tuesday’s Manhattan Institute gala in New York City was a show of force from the establishment right. The assembled executives, foreign-policy hawks, and pro-business editorialists celebrated two of their own, Citadel Capital chief Ken Griffin and Wall Street Journal opinion editor Paul Gigot. The message was one of renewed confidence: After several years of disruptive populism, they feel events trending their way; maybe the Reaganite dead consensus isn’t dead, after all.

Yet the same evening, voters more than 500 miles away in Ohio handed the GOP Senate nomination to J.D. Vance. The Hillbilly Elegy author ran on populist themes and a principled opposition to escalation in Ukraine—over and against the Club for Growth and other elements of the establishment right. Vance’s triumph is the latest reminder that the GOP rank and file doesn’t share the establishment’s commitments to market fundamentalism and foreign adventurism.

On many discrete urban questions, MI scholars do excellent work, which I have been happy to publish as an op-ed editor over the years. The institute deserves special credit for backing the anti-woke muckraking of Christopher Rufo, which has done much to disabuse mainstream conservatives of a starry-eyed view of corporate America. And as Gigot got up to accept an award, I couldn’t help but cheer my old boss: a consummate newspaperman with an almost monastic devotion to the principles of his Reagan-era youth.


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