Funny phrase: “by the standards of today’s radical right.” Standards? Surely not intellectual standards in the age of Donald Trump’s aphasic stroke-victim public speaking and bottomless imbecility. Moral standards? I have it on good authority that if Donald Trump ever speaks three true sentences in a row the Statue of Liberty will sprout wings and fly off to Mar-a-Lago. Standards of competency? The coronavirus numbers are moving in the wrong direction, and so are the jobs numbers. Patriotism? He is a funny kind of patriot who cheers the sacking of the seat of government by barbarians carrying enemy flags. Republican radicals once stood for resistance to the worst kind of tyranny. Today’s Republican radicals stand for tyranny itself, for junta government, and they march under the banner of the very tyranny the Republican Party originally was constituted to oppose.
Like its financial counterpart, moral bankruptcy happens two ways: gradually, then suddenly. In 2016, I wrote that the likely outcome of a Trump presidency would be the end of the Republican Party as we had known it. And so it ends for the Grand Old Party: From abolition to anarchy, from republicans to rabble, a bloody-minded, homicidal gang in thrall to the very democracy John Adams warned us about. A dog in this condition would be put to sleep. It would be a piece of mercy.