On Saturday, The New York Times editorial board published an “obituary” for the Republican Party, concluding that it has jettisoned any principles or commitment to democracy in the Trump era.
“A healthy political system needs robust, competing parties to give citizens a choice of ideological, governing and policy visions,” wrote the board. “Among other benefits, a strong center right can co-opt more palatable aspects of the far right, isolating and draining energy from the more radical elements that threaten to destabilize the system.”
“Today’s G.O.P. does not come close to serving this function,” continued the board. “It has instead allowed itself to be co-opted and radicalized by Trumpism. Its ideology has been reduced to a slurry of paranoia, white grievance and authoritarian populism. Its governing vision is reactionary, a cross beyond obstructionism and owning the libs. Its policy agenda, as defined by the party platform, is whatever President Trump wants — which might not be so pathetic if Mr. Trump’s interests went beyond ‘Build a wall!’”
“This goes beyond the usual policy flip-flops — what happened to fiscal hawks anyway? — and political hypocrisy, though there have been plenty of both,” said the board. “Mr. Trump demands that his interests be placed above those of the nation. His presidency has been an extended exercise in defining deviancy down — and dragging the rest of his party down with him.”
In every way, the board wrote, Trump has reshaped and corrupted the GOP’s stated belief system.
“Having long preached ‘character’ and ‘family values,’ Republicans have given a pass to Mr. Trump’s personal degeneracy. The affairs, the hush money, the multiple accusations of assault and harassment, the gross boasts of grabbing unsuspecting women — none of it matters,” wrote the board. “For all their talk about revering the Constitution, Republicans have stood by, slack-jawed, in the face of the president’s assault on checks and balances.” And, “Despite fetishizing ‘law and order,’ Republicans have shrugged as Mr. Trump has maligned and politicized federal law enforcement, occasionally lending a hand.”
But the truth is, Republicans were already on their way to this even before Trump, argued the board. “Disillusioned Republicans also acknowledge that their team has been descending into white grievance, revanchism and know-nothing populism for decades. Mr. Trump just greased the slide. ‘He is the logical conclusion of what the Republican Party has become in the last 50 or so years,’ the longtime party strategist Stuart Stevens asserts in his new book, ‘It Was All a Lie.’”
“The scars of Mr. Trump’s presidency will linger long after he leaves office,” concluded the board. “Some Republicans believe that, if those scars run only four years deep, rather than eight, their party can be nursed back to health. Others question whether there is anything left worth saving. Mr. Stevens’s prescription: ‘Burn it to the ground, and start over.’”
You can read more here.