David Brooks is conceding the political reality that Donald Trump has the GOP nomination all but locked up, and he is less than happy about it. In fact, "appalled" is the word he uses in a Friday New York Times column. "Gruesome moment" is another phrase. But that's nothing compared to this: Republican leaders "seem blithely unaware that this is a Joe McCarthy moment," he writes. "People will be judged by where they stood at this time. Those who walked with Trump will be tainted forever after for the degradation of standards and the general election slaughter." Brooks, though, isn't advocating some kind of a convention coup but rather a sort of national soul-searching to figure out why there's so much anger and pain in America, factors that have contributed to Trump's rise.
Among other things, we'll need to create a "new national story," probably one that's "less individualistic and more redemptive" because the old rags-to-riches tale doesn't apply to many people anymore, he writes. We'll also need a "new definition of masculinity," because men have lost their way, "imprisoned by the old reticent, stoical ideal" and dogged by "high dropout rates, high incarceration rates, [and] low labor force participation rates." He also thinks we have to revive the "sense that we're all in this together," perhaps through national service programs. Brooks says he's been blind to these issues of frayed communities and social isolation because he spends too much time with people in his own "bourgeois strata," but he promises to use his column "over the next months and years" to correct that. Click to read the full column.