Days of Change

Checklist Campaigns | September 5, 2015

I think it was during the 1996 presidential campaign when Rush Limbaugh said something to the effect that if we wait for the perfect conservative candidate to not stay home, it will be the year 3000 and Democrats will win every election. This is a good argument for those who know Democrats aren’t the party that deserves power. Even if the nominee is a “compassionate Conservative,” a maverick or guy who tries to embrace Democrats, Republicans and conservatives need to get together to support him. The opposite should also be true. If conservatives have the power to nominate someone, the party should accept that result. This hasn’t quite happened.

If you look at Tea Party candidates in the last few elections, the GOP has basically used bargaining, denial and acceptance. In 2010, a number of candidates beat establishment Republicans in primary votes. In many cases, the party machine fought them. Sometimes their candidate won anyway, sometimes it went to the Democrats. In 2012, the GOP were able to beat a scattered field of Tea Party candidates, especially since they were mysteriously unable to raise money. IRS scandal, anyone? By 2014, Republicans fielded more conservative candidates and worked with non-traditional candidates who won their primaries like Joni Ernst.

in the 2016 race, the GOP seems to be back to straight-up anger. This is ironic since Rush Limbaugh has said that Trump is able to tap into the anger of voters who saw what Obama did and realize this isn’t the way things should be. That’s a lot of what the Tea Party was about. The movement had ideas and plans of action, but they were primarily angry that one election was going to fundamentally transform America.

Reagan led the modern conservative movement, despite failed attempts by Barry Goldwater. He also knew that the Republican Party needed to be a big tent where people could have different ideas but they needed to support the nominee to even get close to making those ideas a reality. The candidates this year who best check off the list of credentials for a GOP candidate are the ones with the lowest standing in the polls. Maybe there needs to be a new checklist.


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1 Comment

  1. The GOP needs to embrace the Conservatives, not undermine them. In other words, the Repubs need to say NO to political correctness.

    Comment by Mary — September 6, 2015 @ 1:49 am

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