Trump and the GOP

Donald Trump exploded upon the political scene as a strongly charged individual, not as the head of a faction of the Republican Party or of a movement of his own.  The great question, from the moment he announced his candidacy for the presidency, has been what effect he might have on the party whose candidate he was seeking to become.  While many of his admirers supported him simply for himself, others backed him in the hope that, whether successful in his bid for the White House or not, Trump would reshape the GOP by making it the true and effective opposition to the Democratic Party radicalized over eight years by Barack Obama.  Ten days into the new administration (at the time of this writing), it seems he could be poised to do that.

Trump’s Cabinet is shaping up as a responsibly conservative group of men whose disagreements, carefully managed by the President to his ultimate advantage, are mostly based on conservative principle.  Trump has so far kept the neoconservatives beyond arm’s length.  Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who treated Trump during the primary season as an irresponsible wild man and the antithesis of everything the Republican Party stands for, is now an enthusiastic backer of The Wall, claiming it to be essential to national security, and he has described the President’s plan for a border-adjusted tax as “responsible nationalism”—a long step to the...

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