Max Boot says the Republican Party is dead

Historians in the News
tags: election 2016, GOP, Trump



Max Boot, a contributing writer to Opinion, is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

I have been a Republican as long as I can remember. Joining the Grand Old Party seemed like a natural choice for someone like me who fled the Soviet Union as a boy and came to Los Angeles with his mother and grandmother in 1976. Refugees from communism, whether from Russia or Cuba, generally oppose socialism and embrace conservative political views.

My allegiance to the GOP was cemented during the 1980s, when I was in high school and college and Ronald Reagan was in the White House. For me, Reagan was what John F. Kennedy had been to an earlier generation: an inspirational figure who shaped my worldview. Reagan had his faults, like JFK, but he was optimistic and gentlemanly. He was pro-free trade and pro-immigration. He believed in limited government at home and American leadership abroad.

That's what I believed in too — and that's what I thought the Republican Party stood for. That's why, despite my disagreements with social conservatives, I worked as a foreign policy advisor to John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012 and Marco Rubio this year. All of those candidates, different as they were, recognizably represented Reagan Republicanism.

For the time being, at least, that Republican Party is dead. It was wounded by the tea party absolutists who insisted on political purity and rejected any compromise. Now it has been killed by Donald Trump.

Trump is an ignorant demagogue who traffics in racist and misogynistic slurs and crazy conspiracy theories. He champions protectionism and isolationism — the policies that brought us the Great Depression and World War II. He wants to undertake a police-state roundup of undocumented immigrants and to bar Muslims from coming to this country. He encourages his followers to assault protesters and threatens to sue or smear critics. He would abandon Japan and South Korea and break up the most successful alliance in history — NATO. But he has kind words for tyrants such as Vladimir Putin. ...




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