I am hearing from increasing numbers of conservatives that they are finished with the Republican Party. They tell me that they will simply not vote for Republican candidates unless they are true conservatives.
New and old bloggers from the #NeverTrump Cruz Camp are trying to lead a national, however minuscule, movement away from the GOP into the murky fog of political inactivism. They believe that an exodus will force the Republican Party, the largest and most powerful party in American Politics, to reform itself. Sadly, it is far more likely that the Republican Party will simply move further left, appealing to liberals dissatisfied with the Democrat Party’s dangerously idealistic and quasi-socialist message.
I have also been lectured to repeatedly, and not without cause, about the dangers of supporting, tolerating, or settling for less-than-conservative candidates in the party. The theory being that the best way to keep representatives honest is through constant primary challenges and criticism. These conservatives understand that there is no party to escape to, but they also have no patience for tolerating a Republican Party willing to stand idly by while debt and spending balloon and the federal bureaucracy tightens its slimy grip over the entire breadth of the United States economy. In some cases their strategy seems effective, if there are enough conservatives in a particular district and if those conservatives constitute a plurality of their regions party.
However, both of these reactions to a increasingly irresponsible Republican Party in Washington, D.C. depend entirely upon what happens at the ballot box. The vast majority of political activity that takes place in this country doesn’t happen, or even depend upon, election day. Republicans in Congress will not fall on their swords were they to become a minority again.
Government has become so large and ubiquitous that to have any real impact on politics, you need to have organization, access to fresh and unfiltered data, money, and relationships with numerous people in government, on K Street, and within the offices of our electeds. Waiting around for pitiful legislation to be reported by the media doesn’t work, since within hours of being reported, it will be amended, voted upon, and passed. The elected in Richmond and Washington D.C. understand information flows and media strategy. They know if something is going to be unpopular.
Truly, by the time legislation makes it out of a subcommittee, it is likely already too late to stop it.
If a conservative exodus from the GOP into the deserts of political irrelevance were ever to take place, what possible power could they hold? If they are not voting, it is not even worth the time of politicians to pander to them. The elected will simply move their rhetoric and the nations agenda further left. If developing antagonistic relationships with politicians was actually effective, then why are there still politicians not listening to their conservative constituencies? Conservatives have been antagonistic for well over a decade.
I am convinced that conservatives need to get more involved in Republican Party politics, but before doing so they must understand how politics works and how legislation moves. The same is true for constitutionalists, libertarians, and even the populists that I’ve come to dread over the last 17 months. Without organization, money, good relationships and inside (nearly immediate) information, conservatives will always be at a relative disadvantage to forces “inside” the political realm.
There are good conservative organizations currently implementing this strategy. While none of these organizations are perfect, they are doing unbelievably difficult and important work from inside the nations capital, acquiring important information and disseminating it to conservatives quickly, as well as explaining how the legislative process is unfolding in time for you to make phone calls or write letters that actually matter. Heritage Action is one such organization and I would encourage everyone to join and to take their conference calls. It can be tedious and inconvenient at times, but you’ll be much better informed and effective for having leveraged their access and information.
When things are dire, it seems to me as though folks should be looking to get more involved, not less. While frustration and disappointment drown the fires of political passion, plunging into networks of fellow conservatives whose fires are still burning could serve to grant you the encouragement you need to keep trudging along. The Republican Party is a coalition of smaller interests. Conservatives are competing for primacy with powerful constituencies with plentiful resources. Voting is simply no longer enough. Neither is waiting for information to be reported by the mainstream media before reacting to it on Facebook. I believe much more is required of us, if it really is that important to us to have our will enacted in Washington D.C.