Ideas. Action. Results.

The Downfall of a Pragmatic Republican

Roll Call

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The death of the much-admired former Utah Sen. Robert F. Bennett just hours after Donald Trump effectively secured his party’s presidential nomination reminded official Washington of the first visible stirrings of the unrest that Trump has now ridden to the top of his party.

Before there was Trump’s “beautiful wall,” or oath to make America great again, there was this: Bennett, a party stalwart with a reputation for pragmatism and deftness at the pork-barrel politics that made compromise possible, brought to tears at a 2010 nominating convention as he realized that his own party was ousting him after 18 years in the Senate…

Bennett represented an old-guard of the conservative movement, a breed of politician whose strongest allegiance was to his state, and who was willing to make deals and accept incremental changes for the good of his constituents, said Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, where Bennett served as a senior fellow after his retirement.

“To some extent, that was his downfall,” Grumet said. “He really felt that he represented every single person in the state of Utah and not just the loudest voices that have become dominant of late.”