Tuesday’s editorial rightly excoriates the Republican Party for selling its soul to enable the Trump presidency, all to pack the Supreme Court with reactionary justices for the next 30-odd years. But it omits much applicable history.

The GOP abandonment of principle began long before Trump, with its embrace of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater’s trenchant 1964 declaration that “extremism in the cause of liberty (narrowly defined) is no vice.” Richard Nixon piled on in ’72 with his “Southern Strategy,” embracing the segregationist Dixiecrats as new Republicans. The GOP then voluntarily sank deeper in that racist mire with Lee Atwater’s Willie Horton campaign ad for George H. W. Bush in the ’88 presidential campaign, and by displaying abject silence when Klansman David Duke ran for the Senate as a Republican from Louisiana in 2016.

As part of this divisive strategy, the Federalist Society for years has filled the Supreme Court nominee pipeline with extreme right-wing candidates, now including Brett Kavanaugh. And who can forget Senate President Mitch McConnell quashing consideration of President Obama’s moderate Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland?

So any selling of souls began at least 54 years ago. Trump is merely capitalizing on it. The Supreme Court is no longer a bulwark against excesses by the legislative and executive branches. Unless Justice John Roberts summons the mettle to rule as a moderate, the court is now a co-conspirator in flouting the original arrangement of a triad of equal powers balancing out one another.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

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Trump’s two missions

Donald Trump entered the presidency with two primary missions: 1. Promote himself endlessly. 2. Destroy or disparage anything Barack Obama accomplished in office and smear the former president with conspiracy theories.

For the benefit of his hard-core loyalists, Trump has succeeded in both missions by employing his two primary talents — bragging and lying.

Ed Stone, Northbrook

Incoherent speech

In your July 6 edition, a short article uses the word “free-wheeling” to describe a speech Trump gave in Montana the previous night. A more accurate adjective for the speech would be “incoherent.”

John Bridges, Quincy

Kid-glove treatment

Various strategies deployed to prevent the daily shootings and killings on the West and South sides of Chicago have not worked. The recent march shutting down the Dan Ryan is destined to join the list of strategies that have had absolutely no effect on the gangs terrorizing parts of the city. These areas are a virtual killing field. Gang members committing most of these crimes are only dealt with when they are caught in the act of shooting and that rarely happens.

The result is that most murders go unsolved, meaning that hundreds of murderers are walking our streets. These young thugs have no regard for human life and will undoubtedly take additional lives.

When are the citizens of Chicago going to say, “Enough is enough?” The gangs as entities have been treated with kid gloves and given a pass. It is a rare instance when the gangs themselves are mentioned in conversations about how to deal with gang violence. The emphasis is usually on curtailing the flow of guns.

We have been told that we can’t arrest our way out of this situation. I say let’s give it a shot. All other strategies have failed. Law-abiding citizens in the affected areas will applaud this strategy. And while we are at it, random roadblocks in certain areas might curtail some of the drive-by shootings. This ongoing carnage calls for drastic measures.

Ned L. McCray, Tinley Park