The Atlantic

“There Is Only Trump”

Karl Rove and Rich Lowry discuss the murky future of the Republican Party.
Source: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Like the swallows of San Juan Capistrano, conservative intellectuals always return to panels on the future of the Republican Party. I’ve been covering these gatherings for almost 20 years. But I’ve never heard a conversation quite like yesterday’s between the National Review editor Rich Lowry and Karl Rove, the political architect of George W. Bush’s victories.

These men didn’t describe and handicap rival factions. Both believe that the future of the GOP is murky because Donald Trump is sui generis and so long as he’s president, no debate about what comes next can be settled.

An anecdote set the tone.

One day, Lowry found an envelope from the White. Intrigued, he opened it up to find a clipped-out newspaper column. “I’d written about what a dominating political and cultural presence Donald Trump is––so even if you’re a Republican who wants to distance yourself or run away from Trump there’s just no way you can do it,” he explained. “I thought I had a lot of incisive and some disparaging references to the president. That actually made no impression on him. What caught his eye was the headline that the editors put on the column: THERE IS ONLY TRUMP.”

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