When Trump was elected, there were some who thought the Republicans in Congress would rein in his excesses and use him to accomplish some things they have traditionally supported. That hasn't happened. Instead, the congressional Republicans have imbibed the orange kool-aid and are cheering on his excesses. That has some traditionally conservative members very unhappy.
The following is part of an op-ed by Republican Tom Nichols in USA Today. He laments what his party has become.
Republicans once believed in limited government, fiscal restraint, support for the defense and national security establishments, family values, and a strong American role in maintaining global order. More than that, we were the party that believed in logic and prudence over emotion. Our hearts were perhaps too cold, but never bleeding.
Today’s Republicans, however, are a party of bellowing drama queens whose elected representatives blow up spending caps, bust the deficit, and attack America’s law enforcement and national security agencies as dangerous conspirators. Their leader expects banana republic parades, coddles the Kremlin, protects violent men in positions of responsibility, and overlooks child molestation. The rank-and-file GOP members who once claimed that liberals were creating a tyrannical monarchy in the Oval Office now applaud the expansion of the presidency into a gigantic cult of personality. . . .
I really am a Republican In Name Only, because I actively want to see the Republicans defeated — soundly — in 2018 (and in 2020, if the president is not primaried out of his seat). Where I was once unaffiliated but quietly cheering on conservatives, I am now a member of a party I want to see cast into the political wilderness for a few years — or longer, if that’s what it takes to break the fever.
In terms of party loyalty, that makes me a pretty lousy Republican. On the other hand, I might argue that I am in fact a better Republican than the opportunists on the White House staff and Capitol Hill who have left the party but refuse to give up the name.
The same could be said for “Republican” voters. Do they really represent the party, or are they The Coalition of the Incoherent? Like the president himself, they have no political compass, no policy preferences, and no attachment to anything that cannot be expressed in a bumper sticker. Indeed, what seems to unite Trump voters is a generic hostility to immigrants and a demand that government resources and transfers not be shrunk but redirected — to themselves. . . .
With all of that said, what could finally drive me from the party? If going to the wall for deficits, wife-beaters, mall creepers and Vladimir Putin isn’t enough, what is? And how much longer can this go on before the Trump administration damages the words “Republican” and “conservative” permanently?
My answer is to see whether enough of my fellow conservatives agree with me in 2018 to accept that the party needs to be purged of the New Know-Nothings. Perhaps Republicans like me need a new name: I am not a “Never Trumper” so much as I am a “Republican in exile,” as I wait for an end to the occupation of the party by people who never cared about its history or beliefs. . . .
The GOP needs to be returned to its foundations in conservative ideas instead of left to drift in mindless rage and willful ignorance. It does not need to be abandoned, nor does it need to be burned to the ground. But it definitely needs to be temporarily evacuated and fumigated.
And so, for the near future, the GOP losing is the only way to win. I’ll stay for now, because I believe in a loyal opposition — even if it has to be within my own party.