The Republican Party can no longer win a race against a radical leftist without the Tea Party
A Republican Civil War
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Back when Romney was rammed through the establishment choice, I wrote that the establishment had its shot, but that if it blew it again, those responsible should be prepared to pay the price. No price is being paid of course. Instead, insanely enough, the GOP is trying to purge the Tea Party.
This is fantastically stupid, because Obama won on turnout and organization, he won on volunteers from a passionate member base willing to fight for an extreme program. And where is the GOP going to find the people who will out-volunteer, out-organize and out-donate them? Nowhere. A party of business leaders was a fine proposition in 1821. It’s no more viable today than it was a hundred years ago.
The fiscal cliff is Obama’s way of splitting the Conservative grassroots, who are a threat to him, from the established Republican Party, which is not.
Republicans are worried about being blamed for the economic fallout, little realizing that they will be blamed regardless of what happens. If Boehner gives Obama every single damn thing he wants, the media will still blame Congressional inaction for the economic problems, and unless that narrative is fought back against, the sort of people who get their news from Saturday Night Live will eat it up with a spork.
Is the Tea Party an unparalleled success? Absolutely not. From the moment Doug Hoffman was put forward, it was obvious that there was a serious candidate problem. But that’s natural because if you operate outside the establishment, the people you put forward will not be professional politicians. They will lack basic professional skills, but there are plenty of people who do have those skills in spades. Ronald Reagan was a sportscaster, actor and toured the country delivering speeches before he went into politics. That skillset is not incredibly unique. Neither is the ability to vet candidates before running them up the flagpole.
But while the Republican establishment makes a great deal of Akin or Angle, what are we to make of two-time loser Linda McMahon who handed out “Obama/McMahon ballots and dressed her people up in fake SEIU shirts. Or Meg Whitman. Or Mitt Romney.
The Republican Party has too many super-rich candidates with no ideas or principles. The Tea Party has too many principled candidates with very little understanding of how to run for office. It might be nice if we met somewhere in the middle.
Conservatives are threatening to walk out, but there aren’t that many places to walk to. Still with the Republican brand already toxic, running third party reform candidates committed to a conservative program in local elections might make a difference. The larger problem though is that the Republican Party establishment has the experience and the infrastructure. Both are rotten, but that doesn’t mean that doing without them will be easy.
The bottom line is organize, radicalize or lose. The left knew this and won on it.
Now the Republican Party can try to counter this (Obama’s organization) in two ways.
- Build up its own community organizer network made up of non-profits linked to conservative religious institutions and advocacy groups that replicate the liberal formula of creating grant-funded community groups that act as political interfaces with entire communities. These groups help residents get benefits and navigate problems with the government. For those who don’t like the benefits part, those groups also provide tax assistance and a variety of similar services. And these groups would target non-minority rural populations that are underserved and do not turn out to vote in sufficient numbers.or/and
- Use its own grassroots as volunteers. And the Tea Party is the country’s largest conservative grassroots movement.
Grassroots movements believe in things. They can turn out large numbers of volunteers who passionately believe that they are making a difference, rather than serving the system.
Would Obama have gotten as many volunteers without gay marriage, ObamaCare and the unilateral DREAM amnesty? Probably not. And Republicans who hope to get massive numbers of volunteers on the ground need to stand for actual conservative issues that they intend to implement.
A Republican Party that caters to an establishment elite is never going to be able to replicate the radical left’s organizing efforts.
So there are two choices here. Organize and radicalize or lose. The Republican Party can no longer win a race against a radical leftist without the Tea Party.