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Mr. Kristol’s conservative credentials, it is worth noting, are impeccable. During the Reagan administration, he served as Secretary of Education William Bennett’s chief of staff. During the first Bush administration, he served as Vice President Dan Quayle’s chief of staff.

In 1993, he attracted the attention of the public when he spearheaded conservative opposition to the Clinton health care plan, a key factor in its failure to win congressional approval. In 2008, he was foreign policy advisor for Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign.

In 1994, along with fellow conservative John Podhoretz, he founded The Weekly Standard, a conservative news magazine. For 10 years, Mr. Kristol was a regular panelist on Fox News Sunday. He has also appeared on other network programs, including ABC news.

In short, when someone with his credentials expresses doubts about the future of the Republican Party, his concerns need to be taken seriously.

Though pessimistic about the future, however, he emphatically states, “It’s worth fighting for the future of the Republican Party. We may lose that fight. We may lose it very soon, in a year or two. We may lose it in three years. We may lose it in seven years. Or we may win it.”

He adds, “From the point of view of the country . we really need to have functional parties. We can’t have either one go off the rails.” He is right about that.

Mr. Kristol has chosen to remain in the Republican Party and fight for its survival. Other prominent conservatives have cut ties. Syndicated columnist George Will changed his voter registration from “Republican” to “Unaffiliated.” Joe Scarborough, a former Republican member of Congress who co hosts MSNBC’s Morning Joe announced this past summer he was leaving the Republican Party to become an Independent.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Republican members of Congress have announced that they will not be running for re election. One political analyst observes that the governing wing of the Republican Party the moderate and conservative members of Congress willing to work for bipartisan solutions to the problems we face is nearing extinction.

While others have left the party, Mr. Kristol states, “What gives me hope is that, although everything has become more ‘tribal’ the fashionable term a fair number of Republicans did vote against Roy Moore in Alabama. And a fair number stayed home. The same thing happened in Virginia, where there were enough swing voters to teach Republicans a lesson. And I expect Republicans will get taught another lesson in November of 2018.”

Is defeat of Republican candidates what will bring Republicans to their senses? Or will it mark the beginning of a long winter of one party rule with the Republican Party being essentially irrelevant?

My hope is that Mr. Kristol is right. One party rule by an increasingly liberal Democratic Party would not be good for our political system or for our country. Yet it could happen. Such could be the legacy of the Age of Trump.

A postscript to last week’s column:

Some readers took exception to my reference to the most recent Freedom House report on freedom and democracy. As noted in my column, while the report does include criticism of the Trump administration, it states that 2017 was “12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.” That includes, not just the first year of the Trump presidency, but all eight years of the Barack Obama’s presidency and the last three years of George W. Bush’s presidency. In short, there is blame enough for everyone.
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