GOP to purge ‘impurities’

A move aimed at Republican unity would redefine U.S. conservatism.

Last week, the Republican National Committee circulated a new 10-point statement of party principles that is being called a âÄúpurity test.âÄù If adopted, the declaration would potentially deny party funding to any candidates who fail to sign off on eight of 10 core principles. Yet it claims astoundingly to âÄúwelcome those with diverse views,âÄù all the while narrowing its vision of 21st century conservatism. The Republican Party, which has traditionally sheltered candidates across a broad spectrum of social and fiscal conservatism, appears intent on driving moderates and centrists completely out of the fold. Perhaps more troubling is the proposalâÄôs embrace of dangerously oversimplified rhetoric about complex issues like âÄúObamaâÄôs socialist agendaâÄù and âÄúcontainment of Iran and North Korea.âÄù American resistance to third (or fourth or fifth) party involvement in the political system is centuries old, but itâÄôs an idea whose time may be coming. While escalating partisan rancor reverberates daily through the media, the number of Americans who identify themselves as âÄúindependentsâÄù has been quietly soaring in recent years. This trend suggests that both major parties are growing increasingly distant from the will of voters, although the Republican Party has been shrinking more markedly. The Obama administration, which quickly abandoned its starry-eyed campaign dreams of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, has borne witness to the growing impossibility of dialogue and compromise in polarized politics. The voice of the American people is being stifled as our two political parties fail increasingly to represent the broad diversity of our views.