After this week's primary loss in Mississippi many conservative activists, who have tried to work within the GOP system, have begun to question the utility of voting for the GOP candidate in the General Election. We've already seen calls to back Travis Childers in Mississippi, as well as open debate as to whether conservatives will support Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. Unfortunately, these discussions are justified because of how the campaigns were run.
When the Tea Party emerged in the 2010 midterms the D.C. establishment was caught off guard. The flat footed consultants, who basically run the national committees, didn't know whether to embrace the movement or not. By 2012 the lines of division had sharpened greatly and ended in a mixed bag of tea part and establishment candidates elected or reelected to office.
This cycle has been different.
The NRSC, establishment Senators, and some soulless consultants employed a new strategy.
It is actually a rather apt analogy when you think about it. The Romans wanted to destroy Carthage not only because it was a threat, but because Carthage had humiliated them. This led to the attitude that Carthage needed to be more than defeated, it needed to be totally destroyed. Vengeance would be meted out. Those who survive, would become slaves. The land would be sown with salt, just as safe measure.
There is no victory except total victory and any means necessary to accomplish victory will be deemed ethical by the victors.
So it is now with the establishment fight against the Tea Party. We have seen both McConnell's and Cochran's staff engage in race baiting in order to destroy their opponents. In Cochran's case, fliers were sent out to African American Democrats that implied State Senator Chris McDaniel was a racist who was coming for their food stamps and welfare.
With all of this in mind, I am not surprised by the anger and, dare I say, despair.
And while I am not surprised, I urge you all to reject that anger and despair.
Look, I won't tell you to be the dutiful soldier and pull the lever for the GOP candidate this November. But don't do it because you are giving in to anger and despair.
Certainly there are good reasons to not vote for Thad Cochran in November. In fact, even Allahpundit, who is notably more tolerant of the GOP Establishment than anyone here at RedState, believes that now might be the time to shake off the rule to vote for the GOP candidate in November no matter what.
If Cochran trounces Childers in the general election, the lesson learned by Republican incumbents will be that there’s no cost to beating conservative challengers by any means necessary. You guys will always turn out for them in November on the theory that the Democrat is worse, no matter how nasty to you they are in the primary, so they might as well be as nasty as they like. The question is, is the Democrat worse this time? He may be worse than Cochran on policy, but is he worse than the filthy patronage system that supports Cochran and which he supports in turn? That’s what you’re voting for, whether you like it or not, if you vote for Thad.
If you’re unwilling to risk a protest vote for a Democrat after the grotesque spectacle of a group of GOP cronies using liberal votes to prop up an elderly man whose heart isn’t in it anymore, you’ll never be willing.
If you are willing, take the time to sit, be still, listen, and formulate a plan.
Always remember this, Tea Party candidates or movement conservative candidates don't have to win every race. The GOP Establishment does. The NRSC is in even deeper trouble as it has now spent huge amounts of money and credibility in defense of incumbents in safe republican seats, leaving the goal of a Senate Majority as nothing but a side thought.
For myself, I try to remain hopeful. I don't want to have to salt the earth or engage in total war. The collateral damage that comes from that would probably far outweigh any perceived gains in the short term. Of course some will argue that the long term gain would position conservatives better, but I am not willing to submit the youth of my children to twenty uninterrupted years of a liberal run federal government.
That said, I agree that the time is now to stand against the reprehensible tactics employed by entrenched politicians and consultants. While doing so we must not be angry, we must not despair, we must be hopeful. Our demeanor and our message should expose the GOP Establishment by the stark contrast it provides in juxtaposition with the vengeful actions we have all experienced.
Tea Party and conservative activists need to make a choice, you can choose hope or despair. You can believe that our voice matters and our votes are not a given, or you can vote for the establishment candidate in November. If you choose the latter, then Carthage has already been destroyed and you've already been made a slave.