Mitt Romney, the shadow president

If Republicans were who they were ten years ago, a Romney renaissance might make perfect sense. But Republicans have changed. One of the depressing things about my editor at National Review, Rich Lowry, is that he is so dependably correct in his estimation of the political facts on the ground, and it is difficult to argue with his recent assertion that Donald Trump now represents the main stream of the Republican political orientation. Trump’s substitution of sneering for analysis, his shallow anti-“elitism,” his attacks on free trade and on freedom of the press, his adolescent social-media habit: Republicans have not rallied behind him in spite of these things, but because of them.

Mitt Romney is a deeply religious man, and he is no doubt familiar with the story of the Israelites who fell down and worshipped the golden calf in spite of Moses’s best efforts. Republicans, being not so grand, have been seduced by Donald Trump’s gold-plated toilet — as sure a sign of the times as we have ever seen.

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