As they continue a rump party convention, the Republicans — the party of good manners and good breeding, small-town hardware store operators and hard-working farmers — renominated Donald J. Trump for president amid one haunting but hard truth: They have seldom faced a passage quite like the one of this era.
For years, the party was like a fraternal lodge, passing its presidential nomination to the Next Guy, which is why Vice President Richard M. Nixon was the party’s 1960 nominee, why former Gov. Ronald Reagan of California (the unsuccessful candidate in 1976) was its 1980 nominee, why Vice President George H.W. Bush was its 1988 nominee, and why Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Dole of Kansas (disappointed candidate in 1980 and runner-up in 1988) won the 1996 nomination — and why Bush’s oldest son, Gov. George W. Bush of Texas, was nominated four years later.