Jay Cost: Republican Party Down – The Weekly Standard

In sum, the Republican party is in a very bad way. Bereft of good organization—nationally, in many states, and in Congress—it is struggling to field and support principled, electable candidates for office and cannot hold them accountable to those principles after victory. Worse, its leaders are pale imitations of the giants who carried the party banner in previous eras. Granted, in several of the states—like Wisconsin and Texas—the party seems capable of governing effectively for the public interest, but the national party lacks this kind of coherence, many states are in terrible shape, and congressional Republicans have mostly been an embarrassment.

It is fair to ask: What is the point of the Republican party these days? It has won an extraordinary number of offices over the last several cycles, as voters have registered their discontent with Obama-style liberalism. But to what purpose? If we believe Burke and Madison, then a party should elevate and manage the public discourse, around principles that advance the general welfare. Nobody honestly believes today’s Republican party is capable of this on a national level. Instead, the complaint of Iowa senator James Grimes from 1870 is much closer to the mark:

It looks at this distance as though the Republican party was “going to the dogs”—which, I think, is as it should be. Like all parties that have an undisturbed power for a long time, it has become corrupt, and I believe that it is to-day the [most] corrupt and debauched political party that has ever existed.

Such a party hardly has the wherewithal to resist a demagogue like Trump. Lacking sensible organizations or trusted leadership, the party was vulnerable to such an infiltration, and he sensed it.

Source: Republican Party Down | The Weekly Standard

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