For the good of country, we need new Republican Party

Chris Christie is backing a man who lied about New Jersey residents because he wants to be vice president.
Chris Christie is backing a man who lied about New Jersey residents because he wants to be vice president. AFP/Getty Images

If a party could declare moral bankruptcy, today’s Republican Party would be in Chapter 11.

This party needs to start over. Someone please start a New Republican Party!

America needs a healthy two-party system. America needs a healthy center-right party to ensure Democrats stay a healthy center-left party. America needs a center-right party that offers market-based solutions to issues like climate change. America needs a center-right party that supports common-sense gun laws. America needs a center-right party that supports common-sense fiscal policy. America needs a center-right party to support free trade and aid to workers impacted by it. America needs a center-right party that appreciates how much more complicated foreign policy is today.

But this Republican Party is none of those things.

It is an empty shell, selling pieces of itself to the highest bidders. And before you know it, the party stands for an incoherent mess of ideas.

It becomes a coalition of people who sell their brand to whoever can most energize their base in order to get re-elected in order to sell more of their brand in order to get re-elected.

And we know just how little they are attached to any principles, because most of today’s GOP elders threw their support behind a presidential candidate who they know is ignorant of policy, has mocked a disabled reporter, has impugned an entire religious community, and has tossed off numerous ignorant proposals.

Top GOP leaders say they support Donald Trump – even if he’s dabbled in a “textbook definition” of racism, as House Speaker Paul Ryan described it – because he will sign off on their agenda and can do limited damage given our checks and balances.

Mr. Speaker, your agenda is a mess, Trump will pay less attention to you if he is president and, as Sen. Lindsey Graham said, there has to be a time “when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary.”

Will it ever be that time with this GOP?

Et tu, John McCain? You didn’t break under torture in Vietnam, but your hunger for re-election is so great you don’t dare raise your voice against Trump? I hope you lose. Marco Rubio? You called Trump “a con man,” he insults your very being and you endorse him?

Chris Christie, have you not an ounce of self-respect? You’re serving as the valet to a man who claimed, falsely, that on 9/11, in Jersey City, home to many Arab-Americans, “thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down.” Christie is backing a man who lied about residents of his own state so that maybe he can be his vice president.

This is exactly why so many Republican voters opted for Trump in the first place. They intuited that the only thing these Republican politicians were interested in was holding onto their seats in office. It made voters so cynical that many figured, Why not inflict Trump on them? It’s all just a con game anyway. And at least Trump sticks it to the politically correct liberals. And governing doesn’t matter – only attitude.

And who taught them that?

But it does matter. I know so many thoughtful conservatives who know it matters. One of them has to start the New Republican Party, a center-right party. Raise money for it on the internet. If Bernie Sanders can, you can.

This is such a pivotal moment; the world we shaped after World War II is going wobbly. This is a time for America to be at its best, defending its best values, which are now under assault in so many places. Trump will never be a credible messenger, or a messenger at all, for those values. A New Republican Party can be.

If you build it, they will come.

Twitter: @tomfriedman.