Washington Post columnist and CNN global affairs analyst Boot (The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam, 2018, etc.) contemplates the collapse of the GOP under the poisonous influence of Donald Trump.
The author is convinced that the Republican Party will suffer repeated and devastating defeats for its embrace of extremism, conspiracymongering, ignorance, isolationism, and white nationalism. He feels those events will be necessary in order to rebuild as a center-right party. As much autobiography of a conservative as a political book, the narrative discusses Boot’s arrival in Los Angeles from the Soviet Union at age 7 and his early awakenings to politics. His intellectual heroes were William F. Buckley and George Will, and his political hero was Ronald Reagan. He went to college in Berkeley, “a town that never seemed to have left the sixties behind,” in the days of rallies and sit-ins. After writing editorials for a while, Boot joined the staff of the Christian Science Monitor. That neutral line, between opinion and news, has now been destroyed by the likes of Fox News, Infowars, and Breitbart. Added to that, the “alternative media” has become a massive phenomenon, giving rise to the populism proffered by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and others. The author’s move to the Wall Street Journal and the Council on Foreign Relations cemented his role as an uncompromising conservative. As readers follow the GOP fall through Boot’s eyes, many may wonder why it took him so long to leave. He states that the dark underside was always there. With Barry Goldwater in 1964, the GOP became a party of Southern whites, and the concept of states’ rights was nothing more than a euphemism for racism. Furthermore, the party’s refusal to support Barack Obama in his confrontation with the Kremlin contributed to the proliferation of Russian hacking. The Trump administration’s complete lack of ethics, sheer incompetence, and Cabinet toadyism are driving home the final nail.
Republicans particularly need to read this book; it’s not really news to the Democrats.