The Old Republican Party Is Gone Forever

Frank Rich: “The idea that the pre-Trump GOP will make a post-Trump comeback to vanquish these forces is laughable. Old-line Establishment Republicans in the Senate and the House, even very conservative ones like Flake, are engaging in self-deportation, as Mitt Romney might say, rather than face a firing squad in the primaries. The Trumpists will with time expunge the rest, including Paul Ryan (whom Bannon has dismissed as ‘a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation,’ according to Joshua Green in The Devil’s Bargain).”

“It’s a replay of the purge of the 1960s, when the reinvented GOP shaped by Goldwater, Nixon, and the ‘southern strategy’ shoved aside the likes of Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney. Given that 89 percent of Republicans voted for Trump in November and that 80 percent of today’s GOP voters reliably give Trump favorable approval ratings no matter what he has said or done since, that means only a fifth of those Americans identifying as Republicans are (possibly) Never Trumpers.”

“The remains of Establishment Republicanism are at best a Potemkin village. It’s too little, too late for ‘the Republican renovation project’ floated in October by the former George W. Bush speechwriter and passionate Never Trumper Michael Gerson, who imagined that John Kasich, Flake, Ben Sasse, and the like would dream up ‘a compelling alternative to the Bannon appeal.’ History will show that feckless Establishment Republicans repeatedly missed their chance to take back or renovate their party by being too cowardly, too cynical, or too inept to confront Trumpism as it fanned the flames of racial backlash under Palin, the tea party, and finally Trump during the Obama years.”

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