On Tuesday, writing for The Washington Post, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said the Republican Party is "dead" — and that in order to revive it, it needs to be fundamentally purged of all the forces leading it right now.
"Since last month's mob attack on the Capitol ... I'd wager that many among those millions [of Trump supporters] now regret their votes. The extreme fringes of a political party can sometimes take over the main body, especially when encouraged by the president himself. Jan. 6 will for years be imprinted on every American's brain, and Republicans won't easily shed the association," wrote Parker. "But whatever one's politics, most Americans would agree that the country needs two strong political parties. When I recently wrote that the Republican Party is dead, I meant it in the Christian sense: Penance, forgiveness and rebirth are not only possible but also necessary."
"Gone is the intellectual heft that Buckley and his cohort brought to the debate. Missing are the big ideas that spur economic growth, excite incentive and cultivate hope. Absent, too, is the gentle temperament of so many past presidents, notably Ronald Reagan, whose good nature was sparked by a healthy self-deprecating humor and a powerful optimism," wrote Parker. "By contrast, Trump brought a scowl to the party. His lack of intellectual curiosity was an insult to every American. His coarse behavior and insistence on constant attention, frantically tweeting at all hours like an adolescent whose brain hasn't fully developed, was ridiculous and dangerous. He wasn't worthy of the office, and everyone reading this knows it, even if it feels like a personal insult to have it said out loud."
Parker outlined the key steps that must take place for the GOP to function again as a healthy political party.
"It is imperative now that Republicans reinvent themselves: divest their interest in Trumpism and provide his supporters with an alternative vision; disempower the conspiracy propagators by offering fact-based truth and better ideas; and stand for something that inspires and attracts all people of good will," wrote Parker. "It's past time to throw open the tent flaps, beckon big thinkers young and old, and set places at the table for academics, scientists, writers, poets, musicians, artists and, yes, even actors. Democracy, like nature, functions best when the ecosystem is diverse, big, balanced and protected."
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