The Republican establishment has done all it could to fragment and divide the Republican Party. Divide and conquer is part of their strategy. In each election, they are willing to let Republicans lose who do not fit the mold of their moderate visions. Conservatives are told to go along, and to shut up besides. Worst of all, different factions within conservatism are beginning to follow the cues of the GOP establishment. Conservatives of various descriptions should understand that we mustn’t permit the establishment to blame conservatism, whether they point their finger at economic conservatives, Tea Party constitutionalists, social conservatives, evangelicals, or any other element within the broader description of conservatism. This is part of their strategy to divide us. Please don’t fall for it. Instead, I’d like you to look at the GOP establishment, where the blame really rests, and consider what it has meant to all of conservatism to be led by a pack of moderates who behave as a fifth column for the left. We may never put Humpty-Dumpty together again, but I ‘m not certain we should try. Instead, I want all of the subsets of the greater universe that is conservatism to examine how the Republican establishment has betrayed all of us, and we can’t win with their divisive approach.
Let’s examine this thesis a little more closely. I’d like to see if I can demonstrate my point to the broader audience that is conservatism. Let’s identify some sub-groups, and how their most important issues are being thrown overboard by the GOP establishment:
- Fiscal conservatives are being told that “we can raise taxes a little on the upper brackets.”
- Conservatives in general are being told that “we must be open to comprehensive immigration reform.”
- Social conservatives are being told that “we must be more open to the gay rights agenda.”
- Evangelicals are being told that “abortion, contraception, and related life issues are killing us.”
- Liberty-minded conservatives are being told that “we may have to make some compromises on gun control.”
- All conservatives are now being told that “Obama-care is the law of the land [and we’re going along.]”
- All conservatives are being told that “we need to become more inclusive”[while they ditch and fail to support Love and West.]
Which division or subset of the conservative base of the party has not been betrayed by the GOP establishment?
During the primary season, we were told that Mitt Romney was inclusive, Mitt Romney could appeal to independents, he would do well among Hispanics and the LGBT community, and that incredibly, he would do well among minorities in general. We were assured repeatedly that this sort of moderate candidate could reach all of these independents, but the results of the election tell a completely different story. We did not make even a slight dent in the so-called “gender gap,” the minority gap, the gay rights gap, or any other discernible subset of so-called “moderates” or “independents.” Why did that fail? Why was Romney’s alleged draw insufficient? The answer is rather simple, and I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: You cannot win by trying to out-liberal the liberals. They will beat you because this is their game, and they are professionals at winning it, but more importantly, they will rush to point out how you’re effectively endorsing their positions anyway. Biden did this during the debate with Ryan, and sadly, Ryan had no effective answer.
What you might conclude from this is that the Republican party is hopelessly lost, and I would agree inasmuch as under the current direction and “leadership” offered by the establishment, there is no way to repair the fault-lines splitting the party apart. Let’s be honest about it: Conservative positions on a per-issue basis are winners across a broad spectrum of the electorate. I think we need to engage the various subsets of conservatism and ask the simple question: What one issue is the absolute deal-breaker for you? Are there more than one? I suspect there may be, but let’s be honest with ourselves and one another about what that list of issues looks like.
I don’t like the fact that evangelicals have decided (broadly)to take a powder. I don’t like the fact that social conservatives are splintering away. I detest the fact that the Tea Party wing of conservatism has felt rejected and put-upon. In fact, as I go through the list, the thing all of the subsets of conservatism have in common is this: The GOP establishment is out to mute them. Some may put a priority on one issue over another, but in a broad and general sense, most of these subgroups within conservatism agree. The problem may be that we’ve been too willing to cast a subgroup of which we are not constituents overboard. “Throw the evangelicals overboard.” “Ditch the Tea Party.” “Get rid of the social conservatives.” No, if we fall for this ploy, we’re trapped like suckers in a game we cannot win.
In order to obtain electoral victory, we will need to define ourselves rather than letting the media or the establishment define us. We’re going to need to find away to create a working coalition that is large enough to capture the White House. We will either do this or die as an electoral force. We can’t deny that the one thing the Democrats and their cohort groups never do is permit themselves to be split. The GOP establishment’s tendency to compartmentalize conservatism so as to better control us means we’re going to need to defeat and discharge them from leadership, or abandon the Republican Party altogether. We have four years to have our act together, but truly a good deal less, and it’s time to acknowledge that the leadership of the Republican party on the national level is ineffective, disingenuous, and in all too many instances, the largest part of the problem. The work begins now. Let’s get going!