Most of the 2014 primaries are behind us and the GOP establishment is crowing about its victory of conservatives. Lest you think it is unusual for a party establishment to celebrate winning the primary elections in its own party, you have to realize that the GOP establishment has become essentially the same as the Democrats: same goals, just different paymasters. As Ace says:
The difference between the two parties is the difference between Android and Apple phones. They’re both selling the same product — More Government Solutions! — they just have different branding. They just target different segments of the market with somewhat different aspirational pitches — Apple targets people who think owning Apple products makes them better and more complete people, and Android targets people who think Apple people are silly.
The exact mechanisms of the software and logic differs, but they both deliver the same service. Either way, you’re getting a phone, a camera, a videoplayer, and a map.
Apparently the parties have decided the great ideological struggle of our time is whether the new social services building shall be called the John Murtha Social Wellness Center or the Thad Cochran Freedom & Independence Pavilion.
The win came with a huge price tag, though:
Establishment-aligned groups have already spent some $23 million on independent expenditures propping up favored House and Senate candidates in contentious primaries, according to a POLITICO review of Federal Election Commission records. By comparison, Republican nominees raised and spent that amount in the 2012 North Dakota, Indiana and Nevada Senate races combined — three of the most competitive campaigns fought that year.
The scope of the effort to suppress activist-backed candidates has been broader and costlier than is widely understood, covering at least 20 House and Senate primaries from North Carolina to California, and from coastal Mississippi to the outer tip of Long Island. The loose coalition of establishment forces encompasses two dozen advocacy groups, industry associations and super PACs that have raised and spent millions on behalf of Washington’s chosen candidates.
Pause and consider that for a moment. The GOP Establishment and the Chamber of Commerce has spent $23 million to vanquish conservatives. That is $23 million that they decided was better spent trashing the people who man their phone banks and do GOTV work than in actually winning elections. In fact, the GOP Establishment is treating these primaries like a general election campaign.
But we are an insurgency and insurgencies are always outspent by the Ruling Class. And the Ruling Class always wins until it doesn’t. As Jay Cost notes:
Establishment politicos often act superciliously toward these challengers, but in so doing they are missing a profound point: The Republican electorate is exceedingly angry and frustrated with their leadership. The fact that these second- or third-raters can give established leaders such a scare is proof positive. The party’s leadership can snicker at these challengers all it wants, but it had better understand that its own voters are so fed up with them that they are using these deeply flawed candidates to send them a message.
And if they do not change their ways, they will eventually face credible threats. After all, elections are governed by the law of supply and demand. If a critical mass of primary voters demand quality candidates to challenge the establishment, sooner or later such candidates will appear.
Erick pointed out a while back that the GOP Establishment and their paymasters have to win every battle in order to survive. We don’t. We only have to survive as an “army in being.” We will pick off incumbents (Cantor and Bennett) and prevent the elevation of establishment cronies (Dewhurst and Crist) and we will bleed them on a hundred battlefields in a war of attrition. The loss to senile adulterer Thad Cochran will be seen in retrospect as the time when the tide began to turn. The GOP establishment had to spend millions of dollars and they had to illegally recruit Democrat voters in order to haul Cochran’s moldering, putrescent near-corpse over the finish line. One has to wonder how many of their donors will pony up money in 2016 for another bloody round of primaries with the presidency in the balance.