Over at The New Republic, I make “The Case for Shutting Down the Republican Party.” The Republican coalition is simply too reliant on bigots to survive in an increasingly multicultural America. That bigotry is fueling the rise of Donald Trump, who gets clobbered in every general election poll.
Republicans have tried for years to avoid confronting the rot of bigotry in its foundation, most painfully by ducking the immigration debate. But Trump makes ignoring inoperative. The party schism is coming. The question for the Republican leaders is how to manage the downfall.
Republicans should not treat this as tragedy, but opportunity. Sure, they won’t win this year if they either stop Trump at the convention and his supporters revolt, or if long-time Republicans abandon a Trump-led party. But a party in which more than half of its members want to ban Muslims from entering the country and forcibly deport all undocumented workers isn’t going to fare well in an electorate that opposes such bigoted measures by nearly 2-to-1.
Once conservatives separate themselves from their bigots, a world of possibilities awaits them. Instead of getting by with pandering to the worst of human impulses, they can get back to proposing actual ideas for solving problems, and repair the damage to their ideology inflicted by the failures of the George W. Bush presidency. They can offer sincere proposals for alleviating poverty and providing legal status to the undocumented. They embrace ideas that they used to support, like the negative income tax for the working poor. They can be part of a sane, rational, functional party.
It just may require starting a new party from scratch, normally a terrifying prospect. But years of obstruction has made the Republicans intellectually bankrupt and ripe for a hostile takeover by a bunko artist. There’s nothing left to save. And starting over will feel liberating.