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The night the lights went out on the Republican Party

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Let the record reflect that on July 12, 2017, at a few minutes after 10 a.m. Eastern daylight time, the lights went out on the Republican Party.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and fellow House Republican leaders had just finished their caucus meeting and were beginning a news conference. The House Republican Conference chair, Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.), was announcing new legislation to combat human trafficking. "We made a promise — " she said. And then the room went dark.

"Whoops! Did I step on it?" she asked, looking at her feet for an electrical cord. Presently, the lighting rekindled. "Now, if we could pay the light bills," she resumed.

The metaphor alert level has just been raised to red.

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© Chicago Tribune