“If Mr. Trump loses the presidential race…it will not be enough for Republicans to excuse or ignore his candidacy”

With only hours left before Election Day, here’s the painful, self-evident truth facing lifelong Republicans like me: The 2016 presidential campaign has revealed dark and disturbing things about not only Donald J. Trump but also the party that nominated him.

Self-renewal starts — but doesn’t end — with self-examination.

The forces that propelled Mr. Trump’s rise need to be confronted and defeated. It won’t be easy, given that tens of millions of Americans will vote for him and believe deeply in him. But if these forces are not defeated, what happened this year will be replicated in one form or another, and the Republican Party will continue to inflict great harm on our republic.

If Mr. Trump loses the presidential race, as I believe is likely but hardly a sure thing, it will not be enough for Republicans to excuse or ignore his candidacy. It could never have happened unless things had gone terribly awry in the Republican Party. Its political and moral recovery requires Republicans to reverse three destructive trends that have emerged over the last decade.

Peter Wehner, “Is There Life After Trump?”, The New York Times (6 November 2016), SR5.