Historian Tom Nichols: I'm still a Republican, but my party needs to be fumigatedHistorians in the News
tags: Trump, Tom Nicholas
Tom Nichols is a professor at the Naval War College and the Harvard Extension School and the author of “The Death of Expertise."
Republicans once believed in limited government, fiscal restraint, support for the defense and national security establishments, family values, and a strong American role in maintaining global order. More than that, we were the party that believed in logic and prudence over emotion. Our hearts were perhaps too cold, but never bleeding.
Today’s Republicans, however, are a party of bellowing drama queens whose elected representatives blow up spending caps, bust the deficit, and attack America’s law enforcement and national security agencies as dangerous conspirators. Their leader expects banana republic parades, coddles the Kremlin, protects violent men in positions of responsibility, and overlooks child molestation. The rank-and-file GOP members who once claimed that liberals were creating a tyrannical monarchy in the Oval Office now applaud the expansion of the presidency into a gigantic cult of personality.
So, am I still a Republican?
I get asked this question a lot since coming out as a Never Trump Republican during the 2016 campaign. When it comes from Democrats, it’s almost always a question asked in bad faith, as they want me either to quit my party or to answer for all of its current (and past) sins. When asked “how could you stay in your party” by people whose party has plenty to answer for itself, including the nomination of Hillary Clinton, it’s not a productive conversation.
However, Republicans themselves (and not just the Never Trump variety) are having the same conversations, privately and publicly. Is President Trump now the avatar of the Republican Party, and if he is, how can anyone who once believed in the party of Lincoln and Reagan stay in it?
For a time, I actually dropped my GOP voter registration after the disgusting spectacle of the 2012 primaries, where Newt Gingrich was taken seriously as a possible president while extremists in a debate audience shocked even Ron Paul by yelling "Yeah!" when he was asked about an uninsured young man in a coma and whether "society should just let him die.” ...
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