David Brooks thinks the GOP is doomed if Donald Trump is the nominee, but he parts ways with those (like Mitt Romney) who think Ted Cruz is now an acceptable alternative. Cruz pushes an extreme anti-government orthodoxy that became popular in the 1980s but is "obsolete" in the modern world, writes Brooks in the New York Times. Trump, on the other hand, represents "authoritarian nationalism." That is, he's fine using government power but only in "negative and defensive ways," like building walls. If the GOP hopes to "survive as a decent and viable national party," it can't choose either route, writes Brooks. It needs a third option: "limited but energetic use of government to expand mobility and widen openness and opportunity." And Brooks thinks it's not too late to make it happen this year.
His solution: The party must do everything in its power to help Marco Rubio win in Florida and John Kasich in Ohio on March 15. Denying Trump victories in those states would make it extremely difficult for him to go into the convention with the necessary number of delegates to be the nominee. "It would be bedlam for a few days, but a broadly acceptable new option might emerge," writes Brooks. What happens this year will set the party's course for decades, he predicts. And while he doesn't float any names, he warns Republicans not to settle for Cruz "because he's the Titanic you know." Click for his full column.