Step #2: Follow Your Own Advice

The Republican Party has had remarkable success winning governorships, state legislatures, House and Senate seats. Yet they have been shut out of the White House for eight years and run a high risk of losing it again. Both of these outcomes can be traced to the same source: Republican base voters. Older white voters turn out, especially when they […]

Step #1: Choose Defeat Over Catastrophe

Last weekend, I promised that, once back in Philadelphia, I would offer some unconventional thoughts about how the Republican Party can survive the Trump phenomenon and position itself to compete with 21st century voters. My proposal cuts against the short-term thinking that drives the political process. It involves making five excruciatingly difficult choices that run counter to how parties are built to act, […]

Five Excruciating Steps to Republican Renewal

It’s hard to count the number of people who have asked me whether the Republican Party can survive this election. And while I have been tempted at times to draw comparisons to the Whigs, today’s parties are highly institutionalized and decentralized. In many places the Republican brand is strong, and it’s hard to see the party being […]

Leaving Washington

I’m tired. I’ve now been in Washington for three weeks, where I have been engulfed by political myopia fed by a certain detachment from the rest of the country. Politics is Washington’s major industry, and like any company town it is infused with an insider’s sense of how things are done that can look quite different from how […]

Metaphor?

A garbage truck bearing the name “progressive” turns left as it exits Republican National Committee headquarters, June 2, 2016. No word on whether the Trump campaign was on board.    

Two Islands

Ten days ago, at the start of my DC program, I noted that few people I met in official Washington seemed to have a grasp of the political situation. With two-thirds of the program now complete, I would say that quite a few political professionals are rattled by Trump’s rise and confused about how it happened. To help […]

Defending Trump

When Republicans appeared to be heading toward a divided convention we said the cost of denying Trump the nomination would be conceding the presidential election. But I thought this outcome might be better than allowing Trump to win the nomination and rebrand the Republican Party in his image. We are now getting the first glimpse of what […]

Entering Washington

It’s probably too easy to regard the two-mile backup I encountered approaching the Beltway yesterday as a metaphor for official Washington. After all, horrendous traffic was a hallmark of the District during the days when bipartisan cooperation wasn’t a punchline. But it did get me thinking about how predictability is embedded in the political mechanics of this city as much as […]

Clinton Is a Poor Fit to the Election Cycle. Trump Is a Poor Fit to the Electorate.

After months of enduring more candidates than could fit on a debate stage, the presidential race has boiled down to a transplanted New Yorker with an extensive resume and limited vision versus a native New Yorker with no resume and limited judgment. Then there’s that third New Yorker—the guy with the Brooklyn accent—who has tapped the imagination of those who want […]

This Has Happened Before

Picture a candidate who acts in ways that appear unsuitable for high office, makes outlandish claims and never walks them back, then blithely refuses to acknowledge or cannot understand that some people find what they say offensive. Sound familiar? Sure it does – except I’m not talking about who you think I am. In 2010, Nevada Assemblywoman Sharron […]