Politics & Polls #115: Conservatism Today with Arthur Brooks

Nov 15 2018
By B. Rose Kelly
Topics Politics
Source Woodrow Wilson School

How is today’s brand of conservatism different from past presidencies? In this episode, Julian Zelizer discusses the ins and outs of conservatism today, particularly compared with that during the Ronald Reagan presidency, with economist Arthur Brooks.

Brooks elaborates on his own unlikely path to becoming a leading conservative thinker and expresses his firm belief that, because of the unique history of the United States, nearly all Americans are progressive, regardless of their party identification. He also takes an historic look at the conservative movement, noting, for example, that while many of Trump’s views are in opposition to those of Reagan, they are very much in line with the conservatism of President William Taft. 

Brooks is currently the president of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C., and also author of numerous books including “The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America.” He also writes comments in several media outlets including The New York Times.


Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is also a CNN Political Analyst and columnist for the Atlantic. He is the author of several books including, most recently, "The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society," which was just awarded the DB Hardeman Prize for the Best Book on Congress. He has edited and authored 19 books on American political history and published over 700 hundred op-eds, including his popular weekly column on CNN.com.