Unfriendly Skies

Faced with its own explosive issues, the G.O.P. heads to Houston on a wing and a prayer

In this topsy-turvy political year, the Democrats were as smug as Republicans at their New York convention, and the Republicans seem fated to be as fratricidal as Democrats this month in Houston. There is an eerie symmetry at work. Jeane Kirkpatrick, in her book justifying the neoconservatives' abandonment of the Democratic Party, described the 1972 Democratic Convention as out of touch with ordinary Americans. The New Presidential Elite argued that Democrats under McGovern were more interested in ideological purity than in winning, more concerned with being "correct" than with being inclusive. It was a party of rectitude and litmus tests. By...

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