The “barstool conservative” theory is real, and Dave Portnoy just illustrated why. Respond to the leak Dobbs On his show this week, Portnoy, an early Trump supporter, was adamant. “If that’s a problem, I’m voting Democrat,” he said.
In 2021, Matthew Walther coined the phrase “Barstool Conservatives”, defining the group “as a coalition that shares [Portnoy’s] contempt for the language of liberal enhancement, the harassing and academic attitude of Democratic politicians and their allies in the media, and, above all, the elevation of risk aversion to the level of a first-order principle by our professional classes.
Indeed, when Portnoy endorsed Trump in 2015, he wrote, “I vote for Donald Trump. I don’t care if he’s kidding. I don’t care if he’s racist. I don’t care if he’s sexist. I don’t care about all that. I hope he stays in the race and I hope he wins. Why? Because I love that he makes other politicians squirm.
“I love that he says no one else will, no matter how ridiculous it is,” Portnoy added, surely channeling popular sentiment at the time.
By 2021, Walther’s outline of the “Barstool Conservative” demographic was fully formed and very attached to Trump.
“What Trump has acknowledged is that there are millions of Americans who don’t oppose or even care about abortion or gay marriage, let alone cell research. strains or any other cause that had driven mainstream social conservatives,” Walther observed. “Instead, he correctly guessed that the new culture war would be fought over very different (and more nebulous) issues: vague concerns about political correctness and ‘SJWs’, opposition to the popularization of the so-called critical race theory, the sentimentality about the American flag and the military, the right of male students to indulge in fornication while intoxicated without fear of the Title IX Mafia.
Walter continued. “Whatever their opinions were 20 years ago, in 2021, these are people who, with varying degrees of enthusiasm, accept pornography, homosexuality, drug use, legalized gambling and all that. what was GamerGate. On economic issues, their views are a curious and sometimes incoherent mix of standard libertarian talking points and pseudo-populism, encompassing lower taxes on the one hand and stimulus checks and tighter regulation of trading platforms. social media on the other hand.
As Portnoy sought to make sense of Dobbs’ leak this week, he defaulted to the standard libertarian stance on abortion, arguing it was “small government.” Of course, we don’t view murder laws as a matter of limited government, so the logic doesn’t quite hold if you think abortion involves the death of a child.
But Portnoy’s position makes perfect sense within the framework of the “conservative stools”. If you hate the establishment and political correctness more than you worry about the social conservatism of most GOP candidates, Trump is an acceptable alternative to Hillary Clinton or even Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Thus, a coalition has been forged of secular libertarians and traditionalist conservatives since both blocs have rightfully prioritized their opposition to the radical left since the rise of Trump. (Democrats haven’t produced anything similar.) If Portnoy is representative — and he has been so far —Dobbs could expose the weakness that has always existed in the foundation of this coalition, threatening the GOP’s ability to benefit from it in the future.
This, of course, does not mean that Republicans should continue to squirm on the question of life. This moment requires strength and clarity: abortion kills a baby. It is wrong. It is a stain on our society. If that alienates “Barstool” voters, so be it.
Although we don’t often think of our sexual norms in this way, Portnoy and Barstool actually illustrate the tragedies of the post-deer America. Janet Yellen and her husband co-authored a study for Brookings in 1996 detailing how the proliferation of contraceptives and abortion in the late 1960s and early 1970s increased births out of wedlock. “Noncommittal sexual activity was increasingly expected in premarital relationships,” they noted.
For men like Portnoy who appreciated this new arrangement, in which women believed noncommittal sex to be acceptable and empowering, abortion served as a crucial protection against unexpected and premarital fatherhood. To revoke it is to revoke freedom. Generations of Americans were born after deer and said by the pro-abortion establishment for years, it was settled law, despite the many flaws that even liberal scholars found in the opinion. The pro-life position on Dobbsin this tragic context, feels radical.
Portnoy is an entertaining, often intelligent character. As a victim of shoddy #MeToo journalism from Business Insider earlier this year, Portnoy retaliated by copying consensual connections and posting a trove of direct messages between himself and his accusers that contradicted the report’s claims.
“As these girls say,” Portnoy wrote on Barstool, “I film them without consent and I’m too hard on them, then they come back a week later and we have sex again and I film them again without consent , then they come back a week later and I film them again without their consent.
In a country where abortion hadn’t contributed to the shift in sexual dynamics described by Yellen and her husband, Portnoy wouldn’t be very lucky to find so many women willing to pounce on him without an ounce of commitment. It should be noted that Gen Z is rethinking the benefits of “sex positivity” that the media has forced upon them for years. “HBO kind of did a number on me,” one girl recently told BuzzFeed.
In the 2010s, women were more likely to have had multiple sexual partners before marriage. The percentage of women with zero and one partner fell from 21% to 5% and from 43% to 22% respectively. Recent indications suggest that young Americans, who tend to be more risk averse, are less sexually active than previous generations, so premarital partners may start dropping at some point. But if Americans continue to marry less and marry longer, the numbers could climb.
It’s inherently unhealthy for both men and women, but it’s also the norm. That’s why the departures look sweeping and could propel abortion to the top of the priority lists of “barstool” voters. The popular stereotype of Republicans as puritanical war bets on women remains powerful when these issues are brought to the fore.
The Democrats’ relentless culture war on gender and race has given Republicans a serious boost, especially in places like Florida or San Francisco, where attempts to roll back radical leftism have proven popular with a broad spectrum. coalition of voters. Democrats will struggle to shake off their reputation as culture-crazed warriors, which means “barstool” voters could continue to prioritize backsliding to the left and voting red in some races.
Additionally, Trump’s conversion on abortion may have been mirrored by other conversions during his presidency. The realignment politics of recent years, combined with the advancement of science and emboldened conservative rhetoric, have opened some people’s eyes to the realities of the Democratic Party’s position on abortion. The more Democrats talk about the issue, the more new media can highlight cases like the one described below by Mollie Hemingway, which I had the misfortune to witness in the Supreme Court on Monday night as well.
Republican support for the overthrow of deer cannot single-handedly annihilate the “conservative Barstool” coalition or stop the GOP’s momentum in the culture war. Portnoy’s reaction to the Dobbs The leak, however, is a reminder of just how fragile this coalition has been from its inception until 2015.
Emily Jashinsky is a culture editor at The Federalist and host of Federalist Radio Hour. She previously covered politics as a commentator for the Washington Examiner. Prior to joining the Examiner, Emily was the spokesperson for the Young America’s Foundation. She has interviewed leading politicians and entertainers and regularly appeared as a guest on major television news programs including “Fox News Sunday”, “Media Buzz” and “The McLaughlin Group”. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Real Clear Politics, and more. Emily is also director of the National Journalism Center, host of The Hill’s weekly show “Rising Fridays,” and a visiting scholar at the Independent Women’s Forum. Originally from Wisconsin, she is a graduate of George Washington University.