What Is the Future for Conservatism? A Debate

March 06, 2021
7:30 p.m. ET

What is conservatism? And does it have a future in post-Trump America?

These are crucial questions—not just for conservatives but for the country as a whole.

Yes, Donald Trump is no longer president. But that doesn’t mean conservatives can roll back the clock to 1980 or 1964.

So where is conservatism headed? And what ideas should guide conservatives in 2021 and beyond?

On March 6, you can get answers to these and many other questions from five of the most influential voices on the American right.

The Intercollegiate Studies Institute is hosting a major debate on the future of conservatism featuring:

Ross Douthat, Charles C. W. Cooke, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Daniel McCarthy, William Kristol




  • Charles C. W. Cooke, NationalReview.com editor and author of The Conservatarian Manifesto

  • Ross DouthatNew York Times columnist
  • William Kristol, director of Defending Democracy Together, founder of the Weekly Standard

  • Katherine Mangu-WardReason editor in chief
  • Daniel McCarthyModern Age editor and Spectator US columnist

This is your chance to hear from prominent figures representing a wide range of perspectives.

And you won’t see them shouting past one another. In this thoughtful discussion moderated by ISI president Johnny Burtka, the panelists will engage one another in substantive discourse on the future of conservatism.

This is the debate conservatism needs now. Forget polls and posturing and political calculations. This is about the principles that should guide conservatives . . .

. . . and about the very nature and definition of conservatism.

This debate will air live on Saturday, March 6, at 7:30 p.m. ET from the Hilton Alexandria Old Town in Virginia. It is part of the Diana Davis Spencer Debate Series presented by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.

You can watch live online. But reserve your spot now! Online attendance is capped at 500. Don’t miss out!


Charles C. W. Cooke
Charles C. W. Cooke

Charles C. W. Cooke is the editor of NationalReview.com, cohost of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen podcast, and author of The Conservatarian Manifesto. He is a frequent guest on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher and has broadcast for the BBC, MSNBC, Fox News, and Fox Business.

Ross Douthat

Ross Douthat joined the New York Times as an op-ed columnist in 2009, becoming the youngest regular op-ed writer in the paper’s history. He cohosts the Times op-ed podcast, The Argument, and serves as film critic at National Review. Douthat is the bestselling author of several books, including, most recently, The Decadent Society. He was an active ISI student as an undergraduate at Harvard.

William Kristol
William Kristol

William Kristol is founding director of Defending Democracy Together, an organization dedicated to defending America’s liberal democratic norms, principles, and institutions. The founder of the Weekly Standard, he is now editor at large of The Bulwark. Having served in senior positions in the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, Kristol understands government from the inside; as a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University, he has studied American politics and society from the outside. Kristol frequently appears on major television talk shows, and he is the host of the highly regarded video series and podcast Conversations with Bill Kristol.

Katherine Mangu-Ward
Katherine Mangu-Ward

Katherine Mangu-Ward is editor in chief of Reason, overseeing all of Reason’s print, digital, and video journalism. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications. She is a frequent commentator on radio and television networks such as National Public Radio, CNBC, C-SPAN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC.

Daniel McCarthy
Daniel McCarthy

Daniel McCarthy is editor of ISI’s Modern Age: A Conservative Review. He served as editor of the American Conservative from 2010 through 2016. His writing has appeared in the New York TimesUSA TodayThe Spectator, the National Interest, Reason, and other publications. NPR, the BBC, and many other outlets seek out McCarthy for his commentary.

Johnny Burtka
John A. Burtka, IV (moderator)

John A. Burtka, IV, is president of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. Previously he served as executive director and acting editor of the American Conservative magazine. Johnny has appeared on Fox News and Fox Business and written for the Washington Post, the Richmond Times-DispatchFirst Things, the American Mind, and the Intercollegiate Review, among other publications. He has been a Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute and has participated in academic fellowships at Washington College and the Trinity Forum.