Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), right, walk together to a Senate Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill last week. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

There are comparatively few Americans not delighted to see the end of the presidential campaign system. Candidates, elected and appointed officials (I’m looking at you, FBI Director James B. Comey), party operatives and the media have at various times exasperated, disappointed, angered or embarrassed millions of Americans. Ordinary Americans in large numbers are exhausted and downright disgusted by politics.

Tuesday evening (we hope) we will have a definitive president-elect, most likely Hillary Clinton. Republicans, especially members of Congress, should take a deep breath. Their Clinton derangement syndrome, only partially justified by her ethical malfeasance, has gotten out of control, blinding even the most thoughtful Republicans. Republican activists and party leaders will have plenty to answer for after the Donald Trump campaign ends. So, if I may suggest, Republicans should zip it for a while.

If Clinton wins Tuesday, the GOP would have lost a third presidential election in a row, this one in large part because of their hate-filled, irrational and extreme rhetoric and aversion to reality. They may well lose the Senate majority as well. Frankly, millions of Americans, including frustrated Republicans (whether they grudgingly voted for Trump or abandoned the GOP to vote for Clinton or a third party), don’t really want to hear Republican blather on about impeachment. They don’t want lectures from nativists and fabulists such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity about, well, anything. They don’t want to hear that the GOP is now on a search-and-destroy mission to make certain we have a failed president.

Here’s a novel approach: Root for the president’s success, even if it is Hillary Clinton. We are a country at war and with deep problems; wishing her failure means wishing our country and free people misfortune. Extend her the benefit of the doubt. Look for areas of agreement. Don’t dictate the terms of debate. Keep a civil tongue. Tell their own rabble-rousers to pipe down for just a few months.

We recommend this response not merely because the public is weary of conflict and we’d like to, for example, see cooperation to increase economic growth, repair alliances and achieve victory in battle. We say this because the entire Republican Party is on thin ice, its problems so substantial as to call into doubt its continued existence. The bellowing and foot-stomping at this stage will only exacerbate the fissures and accelerate its demise. The GOP will have to figure out what it stands for and what it lets go by the wayside; digging in now against anything and everything Clinton might come up with will only paint the party into an even tighter corner.

Republicans should start by jettisoning ludicrous plans to in essence pretend Clinton didn’t really win. If Clinton is elected, Obamacare is not going away. Republicans should get serious about its real and fundamental weaknesses (it’s not affordable) and start thinking of ways in which they might transition Obamacare to a more fiscally stable system. Likewise, the JCPOA is not going to be ripped up — but it should be bolstered by sanctions on Iran’s non-nuclear mischief and its nuclear terms strictly enforced. Continued hostage taking must come at a high price. There are plenty of Democrats, including Clinton, who understand we need an actual Iran policy to constrain the mullahs, bolster our allies and defend human rights.

When it comes to nominees, Clinton, if elected, will tell us a lot about whether she intends to govern inclusively from the center. Republicans would do themselves, the country and the new president a favor by stressing ethics and qualifications, weeding out cronies and quickly confirming those dedicated public servants, not because Republicans agree with them, but because they will pursue the common good.

Do I think all this is likely? No, but then we are among the thousands of center-right Americans who think the solution to the sclerotic GOP may very well be a new political party.