“Please don’t go quietly into the night”

Today, on the same day, two of America’s leading Republican columnists, New York Times’ David Brooks and Washington Post’s Michael Gerson, plead for their party to take a different route, away from Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.

In his rally cry, Brooks writes that it’s time to get together and for a new coalition of the forces of the “hopeful, practical, programmatic Republicans.” “Please,” he ends, “don’t go quietly and pathetically into the night.” For Gerson, the only good outcome for the Republicans of Trump vs. Cruz is “for both to lose.” And he ends, that “for the future of the party as the carrier of a humane, inclusive conservatism now depends on some viable choice beyond them.”

Neither Brooks nor Gerson recognize their party today. Gerson describes it under Trump and Cruz as a party that undermines religious liberty and encourages an ethnic basis for American identity that, in turn, strengthens prejudice. And for Brooks, alienating every person of color in the 21st Century is “borderline insane.”

As the showdown in Iowa and New Hampshire quickly approaches, Brooks and Gerson have grown visibly more frustrated and nervous. They fear not only for the future of their party but also for the outcome in the November elections. It’s a nervousness and fear they share with many in the Republican Party establishment, or governing Republicans, as Brooks calls them. The reality is that they are facing a new party, a party full of anger, as David Leonhardt writes in today’s New York Times. This unhappiness among Republican Party members and voters is unprecedented in the last two decades. Its reasons are both economic and cultural, and, in addition, racial.

We’ll soon know if the Republicans primary voters will diverge from the polls and turn their backs on the demagogic messages of Trump and Cruz.


Is the Republican Party no longer a normal party?

Back to work today after “Capital Fourth,” as the National day celebrations are called here in the capital, with its parade, concert and huge fireworks display for the hundreds of thousands of spectators scattered on the grass under the monuments on the National Mall.

Warm and humid, as usual, and with the same festivities full of the usual nationalist elements: Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, musicals, and, this time, with Steve Martin, actor and banjo man, and his bluegrass band as last night’s special treat.

But, back to work, even for the US Senate, which, after President Obama’s bantering last week that Congress should stay in Washington and do its job to reach a deal on the budget and the debt ceiling, rather than take the week off, went back to work today, without really having anything on the agenda.

New York Times columnist David Brooks writes today about the prospects for such a deal. Brooks, himself a Republican, is deeply pessimistic about today’s Republican Party reaching such a deal, although such an agreement would be greatly beneficial to the Republican Party.

Without naming the Tea Party movement directly by name, he writes:

”We can have no confidence that the Republicans will seize this opportunity. That’s because the Republican Party may no longer be a normal party…The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise. The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency… The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of its name.”

Responsible Republicans must now take control of the party to reach agreement on the debt ceiling, Brooks concludes, otherwise the independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism led to failure.

“The will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern. And they will be right.”