Thomas L. Friedman
The New York Times
Some frustrated moderates are talking about creating a third party, said Thomas L. Friedman. But what America really needs is a second party that offers a sane conservative alternative to the Democrats. Today’s Republican Party has been hijacked by an “incoherent mix” of anti-government libertarians, anti-immigration activists, anti-tax fanatics, and social conservatives, all clamoring for an ideological purism that’s divorced from reality. In pandering to these conflicting cliques, the GOP presidential candidates are distorting themselves into a “cartoon version of Ronald Reagan,” with no realistic solutions to the nation’s pressing challenges. Simple math, for example, shows that we can’t solve our debt crisis without raising taxes. But the GOP has “cut itself off from reality” by pledging to oppose all tax increases. On climate change, immigration, and the need for a government–private sector partnership to transform the economy, Republicans have adopted simplistic, radical positions, leaving the Democrats free to indulge in their own brand of “magical thinking.” America needs two parties to move forward into the 21st century. Sadly, one is clamoring for a return to the 19th.