In Britain, the center-right party has been sobered into self-reflection. In the United States, it is on the verge of being destroyed. Instead of doing something essential and difficult — finding creative ways to help the "just managing" working class without alienating rising minorities — Republicans are working out internal grudges and dealing with the demons of a narcissistic misogynist. And there is little hope that Election Day will end the bitterness. A recent poll found that Republicans, by a majority of 51 percent to 33 percent, believe Trump to be a better representative of GOP views than House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.
That is a party hopelessly hijacked by anti-intellectualism, for Ryan, though he's the party's smoother and more positive alternative, is as pseudo-cerebral as Trump. While the latter flails in scatterbrained demagoguery, Ryan marinates in ideology — which is also profoundly antithetical to conservatism's intellectual founding.