Defund the GOP, and join Romney to try to save it (USA Today editorial)

This editorial was paired with a photo of “Sen. Mitt Romney in Washington on Sunday [June 7]." Pictured in the foreground of a group of marching demonstrators, Romney is wearing a mask but still recognizable. The premise is that Romney has been showing “the kind of political courage and independent thinking that is rare” in the current political environment.

Only Republican to vote in favor of one of the House-passed articles of impeachment – joined former Secretary of State Colin Powell in refusing to back President Trump for reelection – took part in one of “the many anti-racism protests sweeping the country.

The writers speculate that Romney is not seeking to rebrand himself as a moderate. He will continue to be supportive of free enterprise, oppose abortion, favor robust trade, and support a strong national defense and generally traditional social values. But he recognizes that “today’s GOP is on an unsustainable path, built on a base shrinking in numbers while increasing in resentment,” and is seeking to save the party.

Three specific charges are lodged against the current president, all seen as “a long way from the ideas espoused by the GOP’s last great president, Ronald Reagan.” (1) A cult of personality in which lifelong public servants are forced to knuckle under to “a lawless, petty and incompetent leader.”; (2) Systematic support for the “airing of white grievances,” as shown by its immigration policies and tacit support of racist and white supremacist causes”; (3) Willingness to cling to power against popular sentiment “through the grotesque gerrymandering of legislative districts and blatant voter suppression laws and policies.”

Today, “Republicans claim to revere Reagan while disavowing much of what he stood for, including political views grounded in reality and open to productive compromise.” Kudos to Romney for speaking up, even though his Senate term runs until 2024. Time for nine other senators in this position, plus three more who are leaving at the end of this term, to follow Romney's example. “When the Republican Party is ready to abandon its destructive alliance with attempted despotism, Romney will have earned a leading voice in rebuilding it.”

The specific charges are dubious, but a major omission is even more telling. Political leaders are not perfect human beings, any more than the rest of us, so it’s insufficient to fixate on their purported flaws. Note the failure to explain why Democrats should be expected to do a better job if they prevailed in November.
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