The operative question facing the conservative movement is where it goes from here. The first step on that journey is to acknowledge the size of this failure. It is, if you’ll forgive me the word, huge. A failure this massive cannot be dismissed easily or lightly. The path to repair and good health is not easy. Any party and political movement that nominated this man must have serious problems that extend all the way down to its roots.

It will be necessary to name those problems. Some of them are individuals, including Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh. Some of them are structural; for example, organizations that make money by whipping the GOP base into a fury, and the process by which the GOP nominee is selected. And another problem is the GOP primary base’s decision to nominate this man in the first place. Those voters have agency, and they should not be exempt from the healthy criticism that will be necessary for the conservative movement to move forward. Voters have a duty to use their power responsibly, to make sober judgments about what is in the best interest of the nation and to advance virtue. The GOP primary electorate failed in this important task…

It goes without saying that conservatives should expel the silliness: Enough with the gold standard, enough with illiterate arguments that the “real unemployment rate” is 40 percent and that inflation is out of control, enough with arguments that individual income tax cuts will always pay for themselves. A corollary is that GOP politicians need to be more discerning about who they turn to for advice. Real economists should be advising leaders on economic policy.