Well, I've been waiting for something that frustrated me enough to evoke a blog post, and then, I was supplied with an appropriate topic, as the 2014 election year kicks into high gear.
The GOP has sunk very, very low, in my mind, in recent days. If you've been following political news recently, you know what I'm referring to, if not, let me explain.
A short time ago, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was beat out by Dave Brat, who ran as the favorite for the anti-establishment Tea Party movement, within the GOP. This sudden defeat for the GOP Leader stunned many political pundits who had expected much greater success for Cantor in years to come - never expecting that the Tea Party would be able to amass so much support again, after such a dismal record, in recent months. However, many more conservative commentators were far less surprised, claiming the GOP establishment has not been overly attentive to the frustrations of constituents, focusing instead on political compromises in order to buy the centrist vote.
Now, I'm not a massive Tea Party supporter - I think in many ways the group has damaged how the public perceives the Republican Party in Washington, by utilizing excessive emotion and not enough clearly defined strategies to problems. I do admire the conservative ideals that the Tea Party represents, though, regardless of how convoluted those values may appear in poorly handled campaigns. It is important that constituents like you and I voice our frustration with the out-of-touch political elites in Washington that are more focused on winning the next election than on actual representing conservative policies.
This is why I am outraged about the actions taken by the establishment, and specifically Thad Cochran, who allied with minority democrats out of fear of defeat from Tea Party favorite Chris McDaniel. Check out the recording below, from a robocall made to many voters urging liberals to join with Republican Cochran to stop Chris McDaniel, a feat possible only through the open primary system in Mississippi, that has become increasingly popular in recent years. In addition, take a look at the flyer below, distributed by those in support of Cochran, in an effort to smear the Tea Party.
As many of you know, I am an outspoken fan of the RNC's platform and planks and I generally side with realistic solutions over idealistic dreams, but in this case, I am absolutely ashamed of my party and how it has sided with political opponents in order to smear the clearly conservative candidate in this race. Although I will admit that there is no concrete evidence, that I am aware of, directly linking Cochran or the GOP establishment to these tactics, the reality is that a significant portion of Cochran's victory was the result of outreach to liberals.
I affirm the value of bipartisan efforts, but bipartisanship is only positive when there are two clearly opposing viewpoints represented, allowing for an actual solution to be created. That is why I fear that at this stage of the game, excessive "bipartisanship" by the GOP is not helping conservatives or the nation, it is merely allowing liberal policies to have their severity reduced, instead of stopped. Great work, guys.
This is one of the reasons why I am a strong opponent to the open primary system and the problems that it creates. The closed primary system allows candidates from within each major party to chose the candidate that will run against the opposing party, and best represents the values and hopes of their constituents. This allows there to be an effective representation of the fundamental values of the parties, ideally rooted in the platform of the party. This isn't always the case, but this is predominately because of poor understanding of the political climate in the nation, by many uninformed voters. The purpose of a primary, in the first place, is to narrow down the candidates so that voters have a reduced pool to decide between in the general election. It also weeds out more extreme candidates from each ideological persuasion. This, however, is impossible, in an open primary.
The open primary allows voters to vote for any candidate they choose - whether they are registered with that party or not. Usually, this means that the top two vote getters, regardless of party, will face off in the general election. Well, this sounds "fair", but simply - it is not. First, an opposing party now has the ability to mobilize voters to choose the candidate they want from their opponents, if there is little competition within their party. It also opens up the possibility for two candidates from the same party to be represented in an election, which alienates an entire quadrant of the political spectrum from having any real impact with their vote.
As frustrating as the open primary system is for me, however, the thing that I am most disappointed about is the blatant disregard for the beliefs of constituents. Cochran's campaign recognized the potential for defeat, in light of Cantor's loss, and instead of seeing this as a call to represent what his constituents sought from him, he chose to draw support from the opposition party, in order to crush his own party. This simply exemplifies the reality that many establishment candidates are more concerned about maintaining their office than actually representing the values they claim to uphold.
The solution to this problem is not to cry and weep about being betrayed. Nor is it running away and joining third parties, further destroying any chance for conservative policies to be enacted. The solution is to stand up and fight for real conservatives who can replace the current establishment. We must stop the Party Leadership from destroying the party that many of us claim to love so dearly, and we must do it soon, before it is too late.