In June, George F. Will, one of the nation's most widely recognized Republican pundits, walked away from the GOP. "This is not my party," Will was quoted saying at a Federalist Society luncheon. He added that House Speaker Paul Ryan's endorsement of Donald Trump pushed him over the edge, prompting him to changed his Maryland voter registration to "unaffiliated."But as it turns out, you can take George Will out of the GOP, but it's tough to take the GOP out of George Will.In his latest column, published Friday, Will took an interest in one of the nation's most competitive U.S. House races, touting incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) as "a Republican worth voting for."A week earlier, Will published a column about one of the nation's most competitive U.S. Senate races, celebrating the conservative virtues of incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey (R) in Pennsylvania.The week before that, Will took a closer look at another competitive U.S. Senate race, making the case to readers that incumbent Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) "deserves to" win another term.And a few weeks before that, Will wrote a column on a different competitive U.S. Senate race, highlighting the perceived strengths of the Republican candidate, Rep. Joe Heck.A pattern seems to be emerging.Will's departure from the Republican Party received quite a bit of attention in June, and for good reason. Whether or not one agrees with Will's conservative perspective, he's been a fixture of the political establishment for decades and long ago earned his status as an influential Republican voice.For Will to change his voter registration against the backdrop of Donald Trump's rise in GOP politics said something inherently notable about the party's fissures and the dilemma facing Republicans who no longer recognize their radicalized party.But Will's recent columns matter, too. The bow-tied conservative may have officially become an independent, but it's hard not to notice that he's taken a keen interest in publishing highly flattering pieces about Republicans in some of the nation's most closely watched congressional races -- pieces that are reaching a large national audience given the reach of Will's syndication.Obviously, Will is no fan of Trump, but it's difficult to reconcile "This is not my party" rhetoric with his enthusiastic embrace of congressional Republicans.
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