I thought conservatism was irredeemable around Tea Party popularity, now it is beyond any doubt that there is no mainstream conservative party left in the US politics.
I think that was an important moment, and good sense lost out in the end. Largely due to media treatment, and that includes media of all stripes. Fox wanted to create an army of unthinking authoritarian populists, other media highlighted on the worst parts and made them seem as though they were the norm - and in the end, that it what the norm turned into.
This is the problem with movements without leaders. Much ado has been made over the course of history about the problems of movements with leadership, less about movements without - especially in a modern media environment. Its an interesting phenomena, where a movement with largely X characteristics and some Y can be decried as being Y, and thereby not only dissuading the X component from further participation but signaling to Y that their own backwardness is both popular and accepted - and thereby bringing out more of the previously closeted Y.
Originally the Tea Party was mostly about decrying the bailouts and big govt - particularly big govt in service to powerful vested interests. Obviously that isn't what it came to stand for over time, and certainly not what the Trump Party is about.
This is rather unfortunate, as the old school conservatism had already been killed off by the neo-cons and religious right. The neo-cons now suffer from debilitating failures in policy and foresight to the point of lacking any credibility popular or intellectual, and the religious right has defected to the new Trump wave, despite Trump being neither religious nor conservative.
Sadly the left is faring little better, with the neo-liberal sub-branch of neo-conservatism (lets face it, that's what it is - hi Hillary) suffering its own popular and policy setbacks, with the emerging far-left alternative being based on ideas that were thoroughly discredited intellectually around 70 years ago. (and again and again henceforth. apparently a not insignificant swath of people still mistake short memories and idealistic hopes for workable public policy)
Its as if since 9/11, people have lost any capacity whatsoever for any sort of thoughtful objectivity in the public sphere.
What troubles me is that I cannot fathom even a hypothetical way out. At least in the past, one could hold hopes (however slight, and ultimately doomed) that people would catch their breath and calm down a little, and with slightly clearer eyes see where we went wrong, and slowly start putting it right. Instead, the insanity seems to be accelerating. Perhaps were it not for social media, we would have. For a bit it seemed like our culture had finally started to adapt to the 24/7 news cycle and the constant barrage of talking heads, but suddenly everyone was able to find their own personal echo chambers, ready to legitimize any and every view they could possibly hold.