To use Michael Lind’s opinions on how to renew conservatism in order to renew conservatism, is a little like asking Benedict Arnold to lead the Continental Army, having reached him before he boarded the British sloop in the Hudson River. But that is unfair to General Arnold who fought many battles on the side of the his native land, before turning against the colonies.

Nonetheless, the long-proclaimed apostate has ideas on what is wrong with legacy conservatism in 2015. Of course, he’s essentially had those ideas for years but they might bear some listening to. Writing in he states that there is a divide between GOP donors who tend to be libertarian and globalists, and GOP voters who tend to be populist, protectionist and nationalist. No kidding.

Having made your money by being good at providing something to America and the rest of the world, you have no desire to bind down the economic body of the nation with an ever-increasing maze of taxes and trade regulations. Even if you have the overhead to play those dense and complex rules to your favor. On the other side, having seen your job outsourced to often inferior and always cheaper foreign labor, you want an administration that keeps value in America on main street and not just in the financial centers, both at home and abroad.

As Ben Domenech wrote 2 years ago, populism today is about limiting the (mostly) federal government’s role in deciding winners and losers – or redistributing opportunity as he put it. But as Michael Lind states, medicare and medicaid are popular with much of America’s paycheck earners. How popular with how many of GOP voters is an interesting question to ask in 2015.

Think of this: Trump does not spend a lot of time detailing his plans for entitlement reform. If he has any. Christie has done his best in the debates and the campaign to do what Trump doesn’t bother to do. Or what Trump knows is not a winning proposition with his voters. And Christie’s numbers show the political expediency of his brave attempts at true reform of entitlements. Should Christie look at Carson’s numbers – considering Carson’s views on health savings accounts – and take heart?

At the corporate end of entitlements, does the Export-Import Bank bother working voters? Or is it’s abolition a quixotic libertarian crusade to use Lind’s wording? If it doesn’t bother voters to any appreciable extent compared to other areas of federal waste, and if medicare and medicaid can only be tweaked slightly, then maybe Trump is the new conservatism, rather than just an opportunistic media mogul. If ex-im is seen as a symbol of much of what’s wrong in the beltway, then Cruz may be the future instead. If people trust Carson enough to follow him down the path of entitlement reform, then a novice politician of faith may hold the future of conservatism.

But some change in what conservatism means seems inevitable, beyond who wins the nomination.