COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., March 20, 2016—The GOP establishment just doesn’t get it. Or maybe they do, and they’re terrified of the truth: most people believe the country is going in the wrong direction, they are highly dissatisfied with Congress, and political parties are not responsive to them.
The GOP establishment (GOPe for short, as it is becoming known) has lost control.
Not that things are that much better over on the Democrat side; their voters are angry, too. Their lurch leftward has left conservatives and even moderates far behind. But this story is about the Republicans.
As the Trump train picked up speed by taking four out of five state primaries, the GOPe is conducting business as usual. Just this week, events from different levels of the party hierarchy exhibit just how tone-deaf they are.
In the GOP-controlled Senate, seven GOP senators joined a majority of Democrats to confirm Barack Obama’s nominee, John B. King, Jr. as education secretary. King is an avowed supporter of Common Core. And while they’ve committed to not even consider Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, they’re full steam ahead on approving his lower federal court nominees.
Meanwhile, in the House Paul Ryan is fighting the conservative Freedom Caucus to retain the spending levels that got John Boehner fired. House Leadership wants a $1.07T budget; the Freedom Caucus wants $1.04T.
Lest you think the number is some kind of rounding error, that difference amounts to $30,000,000,000. For each year going forward.
Ryan sent out a Speaker’s note this week telling us that the House is demanding accountability for the president’s executive overreach on immigration. His brilliant plan? He’s going to submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the impending Texas v. U.S. immigration case.
In effect, he’s saying, “Please, Supreme Court, side with the states over the executive branch.”
Is that the best he can do? The Constitution gives the Congress the exclusive right to control immigration. (Art 1 Sec 8).
Not to be outdone, the Republican National Committee (RNC) is doing its own plotting.
They’ve already lost the nomination. The only two left (Kasich notwithstanding) are running on anti-establishment platforms. Instead of accepting the eventual nominee, they’re scouring the rules to see how they can game the system.
Do they really think that the delegates the people are sending to the convention are going to stand for it? Both Trump and Cruz have spoken out against a so-called brokered convention. Both would prefer an outright win before the convention.
Even local parties, it seems, are still trying to maintain control.
The Colorado Republican Party, believing they were following the RNC’s rules, denied the people a straw poll on Super Tuesday. People are furious. They want a primary.
The party’s response? Blame conservatives. The system doesn’t work because conservatives want to hijack the party.
Jeff Hays, Chairman of the El Paso County Republican Party—by far the state’s largest—wrote a guest column in the Colorado Springs Gazette this week. In it, he wrote that “The caucus is inherently disenfranchising.” and “is exclusionary.” This despite the fact that any and every registered Republican may attend.
His solution? He’ll go the primary route, but “a closed primary election that decides party candidates for all positions from precinct leader to president.”
That’s right: positions now filled by volunteers would be replaced by people who must “submit verified signatures of 2 percent and a filing fee of 2 percent of the registered party voters of the district they seek.”
In other words, pay to play.
Using his own example, someone wanting to run for a House District chair would have to collect about 1000 signatures and pay a filing fee of $1,000.
These are volunteer positions today. Who’s going to go through that kind of effort? Professional politicians. Forget the will of the people. His plan would “…reduc[e]…the possibility of factions hijacking the election.”
In other words, conservatives, the Tea Party and libertarians. Those with principles need not apply. Money talks.
And that’s the way it is all the way up to the top.
Reince Priebus, RNC Chairman, sent out letters this week with the words “Delinquency Notice” in red on the outside envelope. Inside, the letter begins, “This NOTICE OF DELINQUENCY has been sent to you because the Republican Party has contacted you multiple times to ask for your support of our 2016 campaign…” [emphasis and ellipses in original].
Lower down, it lists a contribution as “PAST DUE.” First they ask, then they demand.
Dick Morris predicted this week that both parties will emerge from 2016 transformed, just as they did in 1968. The radicals of the 60s and their millennial next-generation progeny will take that party permanently left.
What happens to the Republican Party is less clear.
A drowning man, if allowed, will grab on to his rescuer and drag them both under. If we–the insurgents, the Tea Party, the constitutional conservatives, call us what you will—are to save the party and by extension the country, we’re going to have to break the grasp of the drowning elites.