Best columns: The U.S.
The GOP’s embrace of Roy Moore
Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party is now complete, said James Hohmann. When the Republican National Committee reversed itself this week and decided to support and send funds to Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore despite allegations he sexually abused multiple teenage girls, it was meekly following the leadership of President Trump. Three weeks ago, the RNC withdrew its support from Moore as highly credible accusations mounted. But the president “came to identify with Moore” because he, too, was accused of sexual abuse by more than a dozen women last year; when polls showed that Moore might win, Trump gave him his full backing. GOP senators who’d earlier warned they might expel him from the Senate if he were elected immediately surrendered their principles, saying they’d leave the decision to Alabama’s voters. For the party of social conservatism to endorse a candidate accused of preying on teenagers is astonishing; the party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, expressed his disgust, saying “no vote, no majority, is worth losing our honor and our integrity.” But “this is not your father’s GOP.” Trump—who cares only about winning—“is remaking the party in his image and infusing it with his sensibilities.”
How abusers shaped the news
The New York Times
For decades, journalists Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly, and Mark Halperin “tried to help Americans understand the country,” said Katie Rogers. Now that these powerful media figures have been felled by their sexual abuse of women, you have to wonder how their misogyny shaped their storytelling. When Lauer interviewed Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump during the campaign, he went easy on Trump while ambushing Clinton with a barrage of hostile questions about her private email server. Lauer’s defenders argued Clinton deserved tougher questions because she was the “presumed front-runner.” But now we know how Lauer treats women in private, “that interview reads differently.” It’s the same with Halperin. When more than 12 women accused Trump of sexual assault last year, the veteran political journalist questioned their credibility and insisted the Republican candidate had done “nothing illegal.” In a book he co-authored about the 2008 election, Halperin described Clinton as “Napoleon in a navy pantsuit.” In retrospect, it’s easy to see the contempt Lauer, Halperin, O’Reilly, et al. felt for ambitious feminists. As media gatekeepers, they helped shape “what the public sees, consumes, and ultimately feels.”
Long live Britain’s monarchy
Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle reminds me why I’m an unabashed monarchist, said Andrew Sullivan. It’s not because I have “anti-democratic impulses.” It’s just that in an era of political tribalism, I find enormous value in an institution that unites people with one another and their past. The United Kingdom—my original homeland—is a political mess, careening toward “economic suicide” by leaving the European Union and riven by economic, racial, and religious divisions. “But everyone loves the Queen.” The United States is similarly dysfunctional, but unlike our crass, divisive president, Queen Elizabeth II is selfeffacing, strenuously nonpartisan, and unshakably devoted to the traditions and protocols of her office. “She gives an apolitical meaning to being British.” Like all great institutions, the monarchy can also “change dramatically and still stay the same.” Princess Diana humanized the royal family. Now, her son Harry’s marriage to a biracial American actress will capture Britain’s growing diversity within its royal bloodline. “The wedding will bring a country together, pointing to an ancient past of medieval monarchs and to a future of multiracial community.” In an age of division and intolerance, “what else could possibly do this?” ■