Untangling the party from Mr. Trump will require Republican officials to follow the lead of conservative jurists and the growing number of lawmakers who acknowledge the reality of Joe Biden’s victory. It will require a delicate recalibration of the relationship between party elites and the grass-roots populism that fuels the Trump phenomenon.
It will require a depersonalization of the right, with leaders focusing less on individual candidates and more on the principles that have guided the movement for more than half a century: anti-statism, constitutionalism, patriotism and anti-socialism. And it will take a willingness to look ahead to the next election, rather than dwell on the last one.
None of this will be easy. Mr. Trump’s power over the right waxes even as his institutional strength wanes because much of the Republican Party judges his presidency to have been a success. He infused the party with new voters, with a new set of issue positions and with a devil-may-care brio. He fulfilled his side of the bargain with conservative interest groups. His Tweets deflect attention from a lack of internal consensus on health care, technology and foreign policy.