Trump Has Broken the Republican Party—and Conservatism—for GoodRoundup
tags: Republican Party, conservatism, politics, Harry Truman, Donald Trump
William Kristol is editor-at-large of The Bulwark.
A brief history refresher course: How did Harry Truman become president of the United States?
Well, he succeeded to the office when President Roosevelt died in April 1945, a month after having been sworn in for his fourth term. How did Truman become vice president? FDR replaced his sitting vice president, Henry Wallace, on the ticket with the senator from Missouri in 1944. Why Truman? Because he had come to national attention as head of the Truman Committee, formally known as the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program.
This was a bipartisan special committee that investigated—with considerable vigor and publicity—problems of waste, inefficiency, and profiteering in our war-production effort.
This is extraordinary, when you think about it.
The committee was formed on March 1, 1941. At the time, Congress was controlled by the Democratic party. During most of the next three years, as Truman chaired the committee, the nation was united in fighting World War II. And yet this committee of Democrats was bold enough in criticizing the administration in power to make a name for its chairman.
Once upon a time, Congress was not afraid of doing its job of oversight and legislation.
Once upon a time, members of Congress of the same party as the president were not terrified to criticize him—even though he was popular with his base and the nation was at war.
Once upon a time, the institutions of a free government and a constitutional republic worked.