As GOP Bends Toward Trump, Critics Either Give In or Give Up

Jonathan Martin and Jeremy W. Peters – The New York Times:

the retirement of an anti-Trump Republican could actually improve the Republican Party’s chance of retaining a seat. Senator Jeff Flake’s decision on Tuesday to not seek re-election was greeted with quiet sighs of relief in a party anguished by his plunging approval ratings.

But such short-term advantages mask a larger, even existential threat to traditional Republicans. The Grand Old Party risks a longer-term transformation into the Party of Trump.

“There is zero appetite for the ‘Never Trump’ movement in the Republican Party of today,” said Andy Surabian, an adviser to Great America Alliance, the “super PAC” that is aiding primary races against Republican incumbents. “This party is now defined by President Trump and his movement.”

We’re witnessing a replay of history. The so-called “Party of Trump” is better referred to as neo-Know Nothing.

The Know Nothings, an informal reference for the American Party, was a mid-19th century nativist, virulently anti-immigrant movement angling for political authority. It stepped into the void opened by the collapse of the once-dominant Whigs. It was also avowedly anti-Catholic, nationalist, and populist, and sound a lot like today’s Republican party.

I believed that the GOP would distance itself from Mr. Trump as his chicanery became evident. It seemed inevitable, too, as he serially failed to accomplish any of his campaign promises throughout the first nine months of his administration.

Now, though, as moderate conservative members of Congress take their leave of elected office, I’m becoming convinced we’re in for a bad season of American politics and polity. None of it will serve the interests of the so-called “left-behind,” or movement conservatives, or rational thinkers, or the American people at large.

The 2018 mid-term elections will reflect how much Trumpism Americans are willing to bear. If Congress does not change majority then, we could see a second Trump administration.

The only things standing in his way are criminal indictment and voter turnout.

#GOP #Republican #Know #Nothing #American #Party