Trump’s GOP: The end of "checklist conservatism"

He’s a proud New Yorker, at ease with modern society, with same-sex marriage, with Social Security, with the idea that our health care laws should look after the most vulnerable Americans.

He’s not in any way a bigot, and the only blinkered folks who would think he is are people who can understand the world only through the prism of race and gender, and who moreover are eager to smear their opponents.

Here’s what Trump isn’t: a right-wing ideologue, a member of the Republican Party of Mitt Romney and Ted Cruz, of checklist conservatism and of the idea that 47 percent of Americans are “takers.” That party died in 2012, a victim in part of its own heartlessness. It took with it the right-wing intellectuals who, after all, aren’t so very intelligent and the right-wing thinkers who aren’t well-read either; and who so closely resemble the left in their contempt for Trump’s supporters.

What unites those at the extremes of our politics is a belief in the rottenness of ordinary Americans.