October 9, 2018

Max Boot: The dark side of American conservatism has taken over

Max Boot—The Washington Post:

The Republican Party will now be defined by Trump’s dark, divisive vision, with his depiction of Democrats as America-hating, criminal-coddling traitors, his vilification of the press as the “enemy of the people,” and his ugly invective against Mexicans and Muslims. The extremism that many Republicans of goodwill had been trying to push to the fringe of their party is now its governing ideology.

This is quite the Op Ed essay by a stalwart of the Republican party, or perhaps I should say, a stalwart conservative. Max Boot lays out the considered history of the Republican party, detailing how it went off the rails. By his lights it hasn’t been a recent change.

It’s long been my thinking that, given the enshrinement of the electoral college in our Constitution, America is rigidly bound to a two-party system and, as such, requires a robust intellectual and rhetorical effort by thoughtful, well-intentioned progressives and conservatives. It’s only by finding common ground between these two schools of thought that we reach livable consensus.

I’ve seen the corrosive effect of today’s hateful, nasty version of conservatism as practiced by the Trump GOP up close. What began with the rise of Newt Gingrich’s national coalition in 1994 has given us the bigoted, misogynist, and closed-minded Trumpist nationalists of today. Spittle-flecked invective replaces rational conversation, support for self-admitted sexual predators and crank conspiracists (and their ridiculous theories) becomes the norm, and contemporary “Republicans” become cheerleaders for the darkest and most shameful intentions.

Political parties are not permanent fixtures. They occasionally outlive their usefulness and pass into history. It’s high time the so-called “party of Lincoln,” a mantle the GOP shrugged off in the 1960s, passes from political relevance and is replaced by an American Conservative Party. There are among us fair-minded conservative intellectuals who can manage this. They have only to lead.

#GOP #American #conservatism