Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A New Political Party?

Bald, wiry, and barely 40, McMullin is not a bomb-thrower by nature. He is polite and mild-mannered, and speaks in the earnest cadence of a Mormon missionary asking for permission to come inside and share a brief message about Jesus. As a Capitol Hill policy wonk, McMullin was a loyal cog in the Grand Old Party until he quit his job in August to launch a presidential protest bid under the #NeverTrump banner. Initially, he said, his campaign was intended as a vehicle of reform, meant only to remind the GOP of its conservative principles. But now, in the final weeks of this havoc-wreaking election, McMullin is scanning the wreckage of the Republican Party, and wondering whether there’s anything left to salvage........ He has become increasingly convinced that the rise of Trump “is just a symptom of a greater disease in the party” — one that can’t be cured “within the existing infrastructure.” ....... McMullin and his campaign are attempting something much more audacious than a fluke victory in a single state. While no one was watching, they were building an entirely new political party in the desert — and they don’t plan to stop when Trump loses. ........ McMullin spent the next two and half months listening to frightened lawmakers and calculating donors apologetically explain why they couldn’t break with Trump — a party paralyzed by fear and careerism. ....... For him, these craven capitulations have highlighted the need for a new center-right party in American politics ..... if Trump continues to exert his toxic influence after Nov. 8, “we are going to see a new party emerge.” ...... they’ve assembled serious state organizations across the country on a shoestring budget, enabling them to hustle their way onto 11 state ballots in the space of just 10 weeks. As Trump’s candidacy has imploded, McMullin has sought to take advantage with campaign stops throughout the Mountain West, where he’s often been greeted with large crowds and armies of eager volunteers. ........ fewer than 50% of Latter-day Saints now identify as Republicans. ..... he ticked off his support for traditional Republican causes — pro-life, pro-trade, hawkish on foreign policy— and they cheered even louder when he took on the failures of the current Republican Party. He called for a “new conservative movement” that welcomed Muslims, immigrants, and “people who don’t look like me.”

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