“The GOP is becoming a Tea Party/Libertarian hybrid.”
Was I the only one saying this? Of course not, but I’ll just speak for me.
This past Saturday, Colorado’s Republican Party leadership changed hands, embracing Tea Party rule. I wasn’t surprised. Like many others, I openly predicted it. Despite concerns over Establishment malfeasance (don’t ask me what’s true—I’m no insider), the main factor driving Colorado’s change was inevitability. Republicans wanted bold vision, not vague strategies. Part of a trend that will continue nationwide, the Tea Party surged, demanding sharp, aggressive standards.
Yep, I’ll say it: Told ya so.
In speech after speech, I have reassured Tea Partiers about the GOP trend. “Why leave when you’re winning?” I’d say. “Why drive to the 5 yard line and punt?”
“Don’t fret,” I’d insist, “over power plays and anti-Tea Party statements from GOP leaders. Don’t panic over what happened in Mississippi. People do these things when power is slipping away.” I even discussed “flooding the GOP” in a recent article.
Most accepted my words with glee; and ironically, not from hating the Establishment. In fact, some were in the Establishment. Loyal Constitutionalists to their core, they simply felt—as do I—that Republicans would win more votes with clarity than compromise. Sure, corruption angered them, but their frustration never made them peddlers of rage or purveyors of division. They got it. They knew decades of beltway battles had worn down traditional Republicans, turning some to the dark side while luring others to practicing politics over principle. This was no cause for hate, though. Everyone gets worn down—just ask parents on a road trip with kids. For the GOP, it was simply time to pull over and let someone else drive; and this prospect filled many with glee.
Some others, however, doubted my words, insisting they saw no such progression in the GOP. Hey, who could blame them? When Republican leaders allowed amnesty, no one could deny corruption was in the air (one wise friend stated they weren’t betraying us, but just “being who they are”). When Obama’s scandal after scandal yielded no retribution, it was obvious GOP leaders lacked fire in their bellies. Every shutdown threat led to surrender; every poll drop, to panic. Depressed and despairing, we Conservatives watched our 2014 rout produce the only leadership on Earth afraid of our flailing President. Pathetic.
And yet, the trend marches on. Told ya so.
So what’s driving the trend? Rage? No, hate fuels the Left, not the Right. In fact, rage slows us by:
- Offending loyal Republicans. Some have even turned on the Tea Party—not disagreeing over principles, but exasperated with a few nasty voices stuck in permanent attack mode.
- Drawing Liberty-Minded People from the GOP. While I understand the frustration driving people away, the simple fact is their absence only lengthens the transition.
- Misreading the Political Landscape. Clarity sells, but not instantly. While bold messaging wins converts, bold demands can run ahead of our conversion rate. Think process, not protest. Truth is, we haven’t sold voting majorities on every topic, and in baseball parlance, we need to hit some singles—not just swing for the fences every time. We must fight to win, not just to fight.
As good Conservatives, we should all understand what’s really driving this trend: Market forces. Look at Washington. On one side, there are the Democrats—a party whose leadership has moved so far left, their goals assure America’s destruction. Opposing them are the Republicans—with leadership drained and ethically compromised, blending corporate lackeys with visionless advisers.
In marketing terms, we call this “an opening.” Either embrace a third party or remake the GOP—take your pick—whatever works best in the present setting.
Since the Democrats’ sheer size and unity renders third parties ineffective, the Liberty Movement’s rise in GOP ranks has been inevitable. The market simply demands it. The GOP isn’t the Liberty Movement, but rather a handy car idling outside, just waiting for someone to hop in and grab the wheel. In the current political setting, a Tea Party/Libertarian surge has been guaranteed.
Oh, and about those Libertarians. Aided largely by an influx of young voters, the GOP is fast moving their way—there’s no denying this. The Fed is hated. War is approached more cautiously. Want to surveil American citizens? Don’t tell a Republican. And marijuana, once shunned, now splits the party—another trend that will continue. Like it or not, upcoming generations are embracing Republican principles, but challenging how they’ll be applied. As I’ve been saying, it’s all inevitable.
Going forward, Colorado’s GOP will likely provide a template for other states. I expect a strong attempt to work with Libertarians, and perhaps even some improved messaging—we’ll see. I hope traditional Republicans will look past the angry words of a few, recognizing the greater camaraderie to be enjoyed with liberty-minded allies. A lot has been said on both sides; some of it petty, some of it cruel. But there’s a nation to be saved, and we can best save it together.
In the meantime, there has been a changing of the guard in Colorado—one that’s happening nationwide. The tide has turned. The needle has moved. As Jeb Bush slips further from view in the 2016 field, the demand for bold clarity rises higher. Could a John McCain even run in this race? Please—that time has passed.
It’s a new day, fellow patriots. Occasional setbacks notwithstanding, the transition will continue.
Told ya so.