Trying to bring the Republican Party to its senses is futile. Its elected officials are more scared of Trump than they are attached to American ideals, and that won’t change over the next four years – and probably beyond. So, instead of trying to fix the Republican Party, the heirs of Lincoln should start a new one. It should be rooted in the ideals of free minds, free markets, and respect for individuals. Its foundation must be a healthy understanding of what has made this country exceptional—a patriotism that embraces new blood and engages the world.
But that’s not all. In contrast to the current Republican party, the new one has to be built on honesty, social duty, and the norms that conservatives are supposed to venerate. The new party must insist that officials place the public’s interest above their own and respect the law and consider seriously the views of others. For that reason, I’d call it the Integrity Party.
That may sound sanctimonious, but the name highlights the chasm between the new party and the current Republican Party, which is characterized not just by forsaking a set of traditional policies, which, after all, can evolve, but by forsaking standards of conduct, which cannot. The current leader of the Republican Party has little interest in telling the truth, avoiding conflicts of interest or cherishing laws and standards, and much of the rest of the party is a flock of enablers. You can’t fix this sick dynamic. You have to leave it behind and move on.