David Brooks has spent years giving the Republican Party ideological cover as it devolved into the radicalized mess it's become. But now, he's so horrified by what he helped create that he's abandoned any attempt to whitewash what is happening and he's calling it like it is:
Many Republican members of Congress have made a Faustian bargain with Donald Trump. They don’t particularly admire him as a man, they don’t trust him as an administrator, they don’t agree with him on major issues, but they respect the grip he has on their voters, they hope he’ll sign their legislation and they certainly don’t want to be seen siding with the inflamed progressives or the hyperventilating media.
But if the last 10 days have made anything clear, it’s this: The Republican Fausts are in an untenable position. The deal they’ve struck with the devil comes at too high a price. It really will cost them their soul.
This is what the left has been saying about the Tea Party since 2009 when Republicans hitched their wagon to an out of control movement predicated on pure racism. But Brooks, like many Republicans, assumed they could corral the useful idiots and keep doing the bidding of the rich.
With the election of Trump, however, Brooks, like many Republicans, realize they fucked up. Badly. But unlike many Republicans, Brooks is free to sound the alarm and has done what was once unthinkable for a major conservative columnist - openly describe the Trump administration as rooted in white nationalism:
...the Trump administration is not a Republican administration; it is an ethnic nationalist administration.
That is astonishing considering that it took the "liberal" newspapers and media outlets what seemed like an eternity to make the same point. There's a quibble to be made about using "ethnic nationalist" instead of "white nationalist" but it's also quite likely that Brooks' moderate conservative and centrist readers will see "white nationalist" and immediately tune out. Brooks is not speaking to the left, after all.
And he's quite persuasive on the point that Trump is toxic to the GOP:
It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity — substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment.”
The danger signs are there in profusion. Sooner or later, the Republican Fausts will face a binary choice. As they did under Nixon, Republican leaders will have to either oppose Trump and risk his tweets, or sidle along with him and live with his stain.
But even now, with Trump threatening everything we hold dear, Brooks continues to be unable to concede that Trump is the Republican Party. This is what their voters wanted because unrepentant bigotry is what Republicans encouraged as the dominant narrative for half a century. Just because someone outmaneuvered them and swiped their power doesn't absolve them of their responsibility.
Still, it's to be hoped that Brooks' voice will join with other conservative voices to reach a crescendo that will shift conservative politics away from the nihilistic white nationalism that has consumed it. The country is so divided right now that they might be the only voices that can even reach the right wing these days.
- This article kills fascists
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