This week’s feud between Chris Christie and Rand Paul highlights the growing division in the Republican Party. It’s not just Conservatives and Libertarians, though. It’s also Establishment types and consultants. We are a fractured group. And the problem is that none of the factions can win an election on its own. We need each other. And if we do not find a way to cooperate, the Republicans will go the way of the Whigs.
Last election there were some Republicans who were actually campaigning against Mitt Romney after he won the nomination. (http://republicansagainstromney.com/, http://www.lp.org/news/press-releases/why-no-true-libertarian-no-true-ron-paul-supporter-no-true-tea-partier-will-even). Romney was doomed from the beginning.
And it is already shaping up to be another election where the Establishment is pushing a candidate (Jeb, Christie) who will turn off conservatives and/or libertarians. The last two primaries had many good candidates who added a lot to the debates. The argument against some of them was that they could not win. But neither, it turns out, could Romney.
We are now at the point where a significant percentage of our own base refuses to vote for the party nominee. In a country where we are divided almost 50/50, we can never win without all hands on deck. And some of our folks still don’t seem to get that.
The establishment/moderates have already begun the tired drumbeat: we must nominate a moderate to appeal to the women, youth, minorities, etc., etc. “We must pass amnesty and endorse gay marriage to appeal to those groups,” is another theme. If Republicans moderate on social issues, the base will totally disengage. Texas just elected a true conservative Latino in Senator Ted Cruz. Is the establishment satisfied with him? On the contrary, when Republicans elect a conservative Hispanic, black or woman candidate, those same candidates are attacked viciously, not only by the Democrats, but also by some in our own party. Why? Because they are conservative.
An American Spectator article, “When Conservatism is a Second Language,” (http://spectator.org/archives/2012/11/08/when-conservatism-is-a-secon) written last November details the following facts:
In the last 80 years the GOP has nominated 11 moderate candidates: Hoover, Landon, Willkie, Dewey (twice), Ford, George H. W. Bush, Dole, McCain, and Romney. Only one, Dwight Eisenhower, won his election and that was because he was a general-hero of World War II. Somehow, some way, the base of the party must prevent the nomination of yet another moderate in 2016.
So is it possible for the warring philosophies within the GOP to come to agreement on any one candidate? Time will tell, but there is one irrefutable fact: If we select another moderate for whom conservatism is a second language, we will surely lose.
The best bet for 2016? A candidate who energizes conservatives, inspires the Tea Party, believes in the Constitution and appeals to Hispanic voters. Senator Ted Cruz fits the bill. He has demonstrated courage under fire and refuses to go along to get along in the elitist Senate. Moderates such as John McCain and Karl Rove are already working against Cruz. But he seems to be the best candidate to come along since, well, Reagan. He is a candidate who could actually win. Let the primary begin.