When you ask committed conservative activists if the current Republican Party is representing their views and speaking to their concerns, you will hear an emphatic NO. You will also hear some sort of disclaimer “with the exception of a few fighters like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Jim Bridenstine.” Yet, when presented with the most direct opportunity to actually affect change through low-turnout congressional primaries, which are dominated by conservative voters, many of us apathetically rubber stamp 95% of the incumbents with another 2-year or 6-year term. That has got to change, and it appears that it will change very soon.
Until fairly recently, conservatives blithely reelected every flaccid incumbent with an R by his/her name without thinking twice about a primary challenge. As late as 2004, it was considered revolutionary to challenge someone like Arlen Specter, a man who was literally a Republican-in-name-only. That failed dynamic has changed slowly over the past two election cycles. It’s time to accelerate the pace.
This is not the 1990s. The challenges we confront domestically and abroad – challenges that threaten the very fabric of our Republic and civil society – make the battles of 20 years ago look like child’s play. Obama and the Democrats have accomplished more in the past 4 years to fundamentally alter America than Republicans have ever accomplished in pursuit of our agenda in a century. We can no longer afford to send members to Congress who will go for bunts and defensive plays when Democrats successfully hit grand slam after grand slam when they are in power. Worse, we continue to elect Republicans who score points for the other team.
There are 14 Republican seats up for reelection next year and 12 incumbents. Most of them are either complicit in the assault on our Republic – be it on issues pertaining to debt, funding Obamacare, market distorting venture socialism, interstate internet taxation, refusal to fight for marriage, or amnesty – or completely feckless in fighting the Democrats. They come from states like Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, Wyoming, Kansas, South Carolina, and Mississippi.
In addition, there are a number of open seats and vulnerable Democrats in red states like Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana, and North Carolina. There are also dozens of weak House members from red districts. The 2014 primaries and general election will actually provide us with more opportunities than we had in 2010. Remember, it is on this turf where Democrats plan to run on Obamacare, amnesty, gay marriage, and infanticide. Perforce, it is precisely on this turf where we need a bold contrast.
While we will be forced to deal with some of these members in the general election, we are not in the general election yet. Now is the time for Republicans to begin picking the best conservatives in primaries, particularly from strong states. Now is the time to charge the country club and change the face of the Republican Party. Now is the time to step back from the generic red vs. blue fight and make sure that what we are looking at is indeed red.
When I embarked on this program last December, things looked pretty grim. It was hard to find credible challengers even in House races. That has all changed over the past two months. There is a quiet but swift wave building – one that has the potential to wash away the country club Republicans with constitutional conservatives, much like the Pelosi Congress was washed away in 2010.
We are very close to the point where the only discussion of a third party will revolve around them starting the alternative party – one which stands for nothing and appeals to nobody. In a number of red states and districts, voters will no longer be presented with the false choice of “the lesser of two evils.” Mike Lee and Ted Cruz are about to get some reinforcements. The small group of House conservatives like Jim Bridenstine, Ron DeSantis, Tim Huleskamp, and Tom Massie are about to grow in numbers.
In their hubris, the establishment has no idea what is about to hit them. And that is a good thing.