NY Times: Trump Has Summoned America’s Demons

From the editorial board of the New York Times:

It seems beyond unlikely that Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, or Paul Ryan, the weak-kneed speaker of the House, would entertain any thought of strong action, like censure. But it’s fair to ask: Purely as a matter of political self-preservation, wouldn’t a concerted effort to drag Mr. Trump away from the fringes make sense?

His approval ratings are drifting south of 35 percent while he continues to romance the fewer than one-quarter of Americans who say they can’t think of anything he could do to shake their support. Heading into an election year, is that where Mr. McConnell and Mr. Ryan want to be?

The deeper question, to Mr. Trump’s remaining supporters, is not political but moral. It is whether they will continue to follow a standard-bearer who is alienating most of the country by embracing extremists. Yes, other Republican leaders, while claiming the mantle of Abraham Lincoln, have subtly and not so subtly courted bigots since the days of Richard Nixon’s “Southern strategy.”

But Mr. Trump has now made that subtext his text. Last week, he stripped away the pretense and the camouflage. In deciding to split Americans apart rather than draw them together, he abandoned the legacy of Lincoln for the legacy of Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. He chose to summon not America’s better angels, but its demons.