By David Brooks
As the election came to a close, I wrote a story about the dismal aftermath for the GOP: A leaderless party, a battered brand, an issue set that seems outmoded, an abandonment of bedrock principles, etc. The list goes on, and depending on which Republican you are talking to rather varied. On one side, there are those who believe the solution for the Republican Party is to return to conservative basics. On the other side, there are those who think the Republican Party must become something new.
Today, in the New York Times, David Brooks, who is one of the “something new” crowd, lays out these two warring factions, and then admits defeat.
They are going to win, first, because Congressional Republicans are predominantly Traditionalists. Republicans from the coasts and the upper Midwest are largely gone. Among the remaining members, the popular view is that Republicans have been losing because they haven’t been conservative enough.
Second, Traditionalists have the institutions. Over the past 40 years, the Conservative Old Guard has built up a movement of activist groups, donor networks, think tanks and publicity arms. The reformists, on the other hand, have no institutions.