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'The party of Lincoln has come to Cleveland this week to die'

Ben Domenech, the publisher of The Federalist, had this to say yesterday morning on "Face the Nation." And today he expands on the point in the magazine.

"A hundred and fifty years ago this party was begun by Abraham Lincoln on the idea that constitutional rights were not bound by race or creed,” Domenech told his TV audience yesterday morning, “that the American eagle’s wings were broad enough to accept all that would come here. Now, this party is coming to Cleveland to die.”

Lincoln, of course, did not begin the Republican party, though he was one of its founders. Nor was he its first nominee; that was John Fremont in 1858. But he did embody what it stood for from the beginning. What was born after a four-year gestation at the romantically named Wigwam in Chicago in 1860 dies this week in the Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena, a venue whose tacky name is just as appropriate.

The Republican party, Domenech points out, was never- contrary to Democratic propaganda- the party of the rich. It has always been the party of those who wanted to be rich, who believed the American dream and believed, as Lincoln did, that ours is a system in which anyone can become rich by dint of hard work and common sense. True, not all succeed. But unlike the Democrats, Republicans have not seen that as the issue. For Republicans, the issue is that everyone should have the chance to succeed. Granted, some will have a harder time than others. But the point is that we are all free to aspire to and strive for success and that our system, more than any other than has ever existed, gives all the chance to try.

Trumpism rejects that ideology. is based on the premise that there are some of us who are Other, and who not only cannot succeed but whose very presence is an impediment to the success of others. Its solution is to marginalize and exclude those people. It rejects free trade for protectionism. It abandons the notion that free and open competition is the best way, and prefers that economies, like conventions, be rigged.

The two philosophies are utterly and radically incompatible. Lincoln would not recognize Donald Trump's Republican party, and would refuse to be a member of it.

So should anyone who believes in Lincoln's ideals.


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