- - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The great pout of the Republican elites has run its unhappy course. It’s time to move on, look forward and get with the program. Choose your cliche.

It won’t be easy. The elites invested their time, their money and their reputations in stopping Donald Trump, and nothing worked. Rarely have so many tried so hard and failed so dismally, and rarely have the masses succeeded so spectacularly to impose their will on those who presume to call themselves their leaders.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump have presumed, so far, to call themselves their party’s nominees, but it’s obvious to everyone that the stage has been set for the “showdown of the century,” as one hyperventilating website calls it. With 85 years to go in the century it’s presumptuous to say the 2016 race will go down as the most important, but it’s accurate to say the choice is momentous and will be far-reaching.

Barack Obama has gone a long way toward transforming America into a welfare state like those in Europe. This was the “hope and change” he promised eight years ago, a marketing slogan of pure genius because it enabled the millions, even some on the intimidated right, to revel in the hope of change they could define to suit themselves. The result is a badly damaged health-care system, a diminished military, a ravished economy struggling after eight years to recover, political correctness run amok, and out of control immigration that threatens to reduce and replace the America that for nearly three centuries has been the hope of a world yearning to breathe free.

Hillary Clinton has not only embraced the Obama revolution, but promises to preserve and extend it. She pulls herself tighter into the Obama embrace with every speech on the hustings. She’s thinking big. “The whole world,” her campaign says in a fundraising letter, is pulling for her to defeat Donald Trump. “I don’t know how else to say it,” she says. “The whole world is counting on us to win this thing. And we owe it to them to step up.”

Donald Trump dissents. With his promise to “put America first,” he speaks for those who want a president who owes his first energies to doing something for the American nation, understanding that unless America is strong, prosperous and clear in its purpose it can do nothing for the rest of the world that depends for its ultimate survival on the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Many of the voices raised in skepticism of Donald Trump have been on the mark, stated in the spirit of robust debate and boisterous campaigning. May it be ever thus; Americans are not bred to be milquetoasts. Some of the voices of skepticism, however, are the screech of soreheads, claiming a higher responsibility to moral tone and vowing now to vote for Hillary to teach the rubes, rustics and lesser breeds without the law a lesson they won’t forget.

But now the higher responsibility is to pull the factions together and move toward November with a purpose to unify conservatives in the march toward November. Most of the disappointed and the disillusioned will fall in line. A strategist for Rick Santorum says, “It’s silly for us not to recognize that the people have spoken.” The deference to reality won’t happen overnight.

“This will be evolutionary,” Haley Barbour, the former chairman of the party, tells The Wall Street Journal. “We’re about to nominate two of the most negatively perceived candidates in the history of polling, so I don’t think everyone is going to be happy and jolly immediately.” He thinks Mr. Trump should make a series of policy speeches to enable Republicans to get comfortable with their nominee. Indeed, some of Mr. Trump’s critics might see what they can do to help.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, is making ever more earnest pleas for party unity. Republicans need to hear that. What they don’t need is more weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, like that of Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who says, “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed … and we will deserve it.”

The senator might deserve it, but his country does not. Now is the time for men and women of mature mind to come to the aid of the splintered party.

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