David Frisk, Resident Fellow of The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), has recently published two essays on modern American politics. Dr. Frisk’s essay “The 1964 Election: A Closer Look” appears in the Spring 2020 issue of the Journal of Arizona History, a special issue that he co-edited. On April 8, Liberty Fund’s online journal Law & Liberty featured Frisk’s essay “What Conservatives Ought to Be For.”

In the essay “The 1964 Election: A Closer Look”, Frisk discusses Goldwater’s and Johnson’s voter support in the 1964 campaign, then analyzes the major details of Goldwater’s landslide defeat, including the areas where he gained and lost votes for the Republican party. The essay also comments on new developments in the Republican party in 1964 and the campaign’s significance for later conservative politics. In addition to Frisk’s contribution, the Spring 2020 issue of the Journal of Arizona History contains essays on Goldwater and the American West; Goldwater and the mobilization of young people; the media’s role in the 1964 Goldwater campaign; and the Vietnam War in the 1964 Presidential election.

Frisk was invited to collaborate with Donald Critchlow, Katzin Family Professor at Arizona State University, where he teaches American political history and contemporary American history on the special Spring 2020 issue. “Critchlow’s invitation to work with him on this project was most welcome,” said Frisk. “He is a leading scholar on the conservative movement, which Goldwater’s campaign was important in helping to develop. We recruited an excellent list of contributors, and they produced good work. This special edition should reacquaint readers with the Arizona senator while offering new insights to scholars.”

In Frisk’s “What Conservatives Ought to Be For,”  he responds to Gerald Russello’s essay “Can We Patch Up the Right,” discussing whether it needs to be “repaired” or “re-founded.”  Frisk argues, contra Russello, that “a fairly coherent Right still exists in America—and it needs help, not a re-founding.”  Frisk criticizes Russello for verging on moral equivalence in speaking of the use of government to coerce behavior in advancing agendas by both the Right and Left.  “The Left,” Frisk stresses, “attempts state and other coercion across a much wider range than do conservatives.”  While taking as a given that the Right consists of political coalitions that exist in tension with each other, he sees an “obvious” unifying principle in the necessary resistance to “a vast political force—the Left, the would-be transformers of society who through governmental and other forms of power work tirelessly to impose on our citizenry an ongoing series of ‘never enough’ redistributions, redefinitions, levelings, and bans.”

Frisk is the author of If Not Us, Who? William Rusher, National Review, and the Conservative Movement (ISI Books, 2012) and is working on a biography of the conservative political theorist Willmoore Kendall, a mentor of William F. Buckley.