Confession: I was a Republican. I briefly became a year ago while living among the Ultrarawaks on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Their authoritarian dictates drove me crazy. And their narrow definition of economic interests as the rich versus the poor – with the middle class almost invisible – underscored their political naivety.
But another reason I became a Republican was that the party included exemplary leaders like Colin Powell, John McCain, and George HW Bush. These men, true patriots, rejected the cheap moralization of the increasingly vehement right.
Powell’s death produced a wave of sadness reminiscent of the passing of McCain and Bush. They represented a Republican Party that embodied decency, respect for democratic institutions and fiscal rectitude. Their party would not tolerate racist feelings. This would have ostracized any member who threatened school board members for anything.
My father had been a Republican for most of his life. He wanted less taxes and less regulations, but didn’t care who slept who. He left the party in disgust during President Bill Clinton’s sex scandal, when Republicans froze government for months as they erupted in false outrage over a mutually consensual date. Their sole purpose was to harass a popular democrat.
In the 1990s, when a serial bankrupt named Donald Trump tricked unsuspecting investors into putting money in his dying casinos, my father had more contempt for idiots who lost their shirts than he did. crook himself. That Trump had become president would have surprised him.
I’m telling you all of this to understand that “Republican” hadn’t been a negative word for much of my adulthood. But in recent years, the integrity of the National Party has gone so far into the crematorium that there is little left to recognize.
State and local level, pragmatic Republicans continue to win in the bluest of places. The New England liberal states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont all have Republican governors, as does Maryland.
After leaving the party, I would still support the occasional Republican for National Office. Now I can’t, although I admire a few brave spirits like Reps Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Consider them courageous in what should be two mundane acts – honoring the results of a fair election and refusing to kneel before the man who applauded the hideous attack on Capitol Hill.
And so, what can horrified Republicans, former Republicans, and Republican-leaning independents do to stop the madness, assuming they still have hope for the party? Christine Todd Whitman and Miles Taylor are urging fellow Republicans to vote moderate Democrats until management rejects Trump’s curse. After all, Joe Biden became president because 7% of Trump voters in 2016 changed the Democrats’ path in 2020.
Conservative expert Jonah Goldberg suggests training a third party to spoil deceived candidates. “The point,” he writes, “is to hurt the GOP for its descent into absurdity.”
When Republicans appoint a Reagan-style conservative, on the other hand, the new party might endorse that candidate rather than lead one of its own. That way, no Republican sickened by Trumpism would feel compelled to vote for a liberal Democrat.
A Republican party released from Trump might come up with candidates that people like me would vote for sometimes, and there are a lot of people like me. They are voters who choose their views across the political spectrum. I am in favor of immigration but I strongly oppose illegal immigration. I believe in the right to health coverage but I am opposed to the single payment.
Republicans Powell, McCain, and Bush do the trick for many of us. Will we ever see their tastes again?
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