With the election of Donald Trump, Republicans will need to face up to a series of contradictions that will strike at the heart of right-wing orthodoxy. Trump has not yet taken office, but Republicans’ intellectual coherence is already at the breaking point.
Trump’s frail ego demands that Republicans deny Russian espionage. (They’d do well to listen to Robert Gates, who explained that “it clearly was aimed at discrediting our elections and I think it was aimed certainly at weakening Mrs. [Hillary] Clinton.”) Now Republicans will have to decide whether the party of Trump believes in a strong national security or in protecting Trump from hurt feelings.
Trump’s desire to “make deals” and bully individual companies has already undercut the Republican belief in the free marketplace and the party’s aversion to government picking “winners and losers.”