The GOP obits begin: “The GOP is history. What about the country?”
Fareed Zakaria has an interesting column in the Washington Post:
Politics is an enduring feature of human life, but political parties are mortal. This week we watched the beginning of the end of one of the United States’ great, illustrious parties. The Republican Party, as we knew it, is dying.
The death of a party is not so unusual. Scholars divide U.S. history according to six distinct party systems, each responding to a particular political era. Sometimes parties retain their names but morph ideologically, like the Democratic Party, which went from being Southern, pro-slavery and pro-Jim Crow to the opposite. On other occasions, parties collapse entirely, as did the Whig Party in the mid-19th century, torn apart by divisions over slavery. (In fact, in an interesting parallel, the fall of the Whigs was hastened by the rise of a party called the Know-Nothings, dedicated to stopping what was then seen as uncontrolled immigration.) Whatever the form of the Republican Party’s collapse, it will be messy.
Sunday’s debate may have been the watershed moment. As many commentators and some of his own strategists noted, it was pretty obvious what Donald Trump needed to do — apologize, be contrite, and then strike broad themes of change, bringing back jobs and putting the nation first. Ideally, he would have reached out to women — the group of voters he desperately needs to win the election.
Instead, Trump did the opposite. He minimized his behavior as “locker-room banter,” accused Bill Clinton of much worse and paraded the former president’s accusers at a news conference. Since then, things have spiraled downward. Trump’s strange, self-defeating strategy has led to speculationthat his real ambitions lie beyond the election, when he may set up a conservative media network to rival Fox News.
It’s quite possible. But in any event, what it means for the Republican Party is simple: . . .
Later in the column, in a clear example of the thing we most despise in others is what we most despise in ourselves:
When they want to criticize opponents for being weak-kneed, Republicans often recall Neville Chamberlain and his policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler. And yet that is exactly the approach that the party’s senior leaders took with Trump — appeasing him in the hope that doing so would satisfy his appetites. They tolerated, excused and covered up for Trump as he began his political career with “birther” racism, launched his presidential campaign with anti-Mexican slurs and heightened it with anti-Muslim bigotry, and thrilled crowds with policies that would be unconstitutional or amount to war crimes — all while demeaning and objectifying women. Winston Churchill said of appeasers: “Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last.”
His conclusion is pretty grim. Do read.