DEAR GOP: IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME

Listen, we need to talk.  It’s time to end this relationship.  We’ve had some great times; the Reagan revolution, the Contract with America, the Tea Party.  Sure, we conservatives and libertarians had our differences with you, but winning elections seemed to always mollify the bad blood.  After all, you appealed to our rational side.  We needed to work within the two-party system in order to affect the change we wanted, you said.  Timing was important when pushing the conservative agenda, you said.  We have the resources and understand the game board, you said.

But I realize now that compromising principles for the sake of winning was only papering over our very real differences; the equivalent of having kids to save a failing marriage.  We have become two very different entities over time, and we can’t coexist any longer.  Conservatives/libertarians were the ideological core of the Republican party because we believe deeply in the concept of liberty and the culmination of the wisdom of the ages into our unique Constitution.  By virtue of our passion, we strive for truth, read our history, and cling to our values.  Because of that, we exist further to the right on the political spectrum than is currently electorally viable.  But like Neo from the movie the Matrix, we’ve taken the red pill, our eyes are open, and we cannot go back.

By contrast, the GOP establishment that has served as our vehicle to articulate these principles has not only moved in the opposite direction, adopting liberal positions in a futile attempt to court a mushy middle of the electorate and a mainstream media that will NEVER embrace you, but you are now actively hurting us in the name of political expediency.  Whether it is because you find it too difficult to articulate the vision of rightful liberty or never possessed the capacity to understand it in the first place is of no consequence.  It has become crystal clear in this election cycle that you care more about power for the sake of power than about the ideas behind why you seek it.  How else can you explain that, out of a field of talented, intelligent, and thoughtful candidates like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Marco Rubio, we end up with the oversized Oompa Loompa that is Donald Trump as our nominee?  Why else would establishment toadies like Chris Christie and John Kasich spend so much time sabotaging conservatives?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I see your perspective.  I hear you saying even now, “See!  THIS is why we kept the base in the corner all these years!  This is what you get when there are no adults in charge!”  But I would argue two points.  First, if you hadn’t continuously lied to us, we wouldn’t be in this situation.  Second, Trumpkins are not ideologically driven, they are emotionally driven.  Logic doesn’t work with them, I’ve tried.  Articulating core principles, engaging in calm discussion, explaining the electoral map or the delegate process, showing poll after poll of how badly Trump gets destroyed in the general election, none of it matters.  How else can you explain the cult following that embraces Trump even after he tells them to their faces he is lying, changes his policy positions mid-sentence, foments violence, acts childishly, and surrounds himself with the worst kind of opportunists, half-wits, amateurs, and Democrats?

No, Trump’s followers are mostly a pitchfork-wielding mob.  Politically, they are the equivalent of what is known in military parlance as bullet magnets; people so bereft of common sense that by virtue of their stupidity they endanger everyone around them.  Seeing as they have now commandeered the GOP foxhole with your acquiescence, I’m scrambling out of it as quickly as possible with my integrity intact.  And don’t try to stop us by pleading that “this time will be different.”  We’re done being your drunken 2am tryst and then doing the walk of shame after every election day.

Where will you go?

The one saving grace of this election is that Trump is the physical embodiment of every GOP establishment lie, leadership failure, and mealy-mouthed squish rolled into a single boorish lummox.  A vote for or support/endorsement of this man is on record and the Internet is forever, so this truly is a time for choosing.  That said, I propose a new party with the first criterion for admittance being that you did not vote for or endorse this man.

You may laugh, but seeing as the Democrats have become unapologetic socialists and the Republicans have become Blue Dog Democrats, it’s time for a contrast, lest the concept of liberty forever evaporate from our collective consciousness.  I’ve done a little research and there are plenty of other little parties out there that espouse constitutional conservatism, but the one that seems to have the most articulate platform is the New Federalist Party, a mix of conservative and libertarian positions that is thoughtful and well reasoned; I encourage you to check it out.

Why not join the Libertarian Party, a friend asked?  Call it rebranding.  As a libertarian with a few conservative positions, I am well aware of the stereotypes that go along with it.  From the left, they are lumped in with the right wing tea party crowd.  From the right, they are seen as the crunchy peaceniks that can’t be trusted.  A rebranding under a new banner that incorporates the key tenets of constitutional conservatism and individual freedoms seems to be the only way to successfully cleave from the GOP.  Lack of name recognition, resources, and organization are always the biggest hurdles when birthing a new party, but Rome wasn’t built in a day either.

Perhaps we can start with the House Freedom Caucus as the base and build outward from there contingent on a Conservative Review Liberty Score of 80-85 or above.  Such a party would constitute only about 10% of the members of the House and Senate, but at this point, I’m ok being a protest party.   As Samuel Adams said, “it does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.”  Let’s just own it.

The next 6 months should be used to finalize the prospective membership and the day after election day, they should declare that they are leaving the GOP for this new party.  Use the 115th Congress to show the contrast between principle and business as usual.  Over time, voters should see what is already obvious to us; that there is no discernible difference between the GOP establishment and the Democrats and that they are two sides of the same corrupt coin.

Bottom line, the damage is likely already done, as Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of America set the stage for this national embarrassment.  Best to get as far from the blast radius as possible now so that when it does detonate, we do not continue to be lumped in with the people that caused it.  I have too much respect for myself and for those that fought, bled, and died for the American idea to continue this farce any longer.  I’m leaving you, and you have no one to blame but yourself.

Donald Trump and the Ides of March

On March 15, we will see a host of large, winner-take-all states hold their GOP primaries.  The winner of these primaries will significantly increase their delegate tally and make it increasingly likely that they become the Republican nominee for President in 2016.  Currently, the delegate and poll leader is Donald Trump, a man so bereft of principle, couth, and policy acumen, that nearly 2/3 of Republicans believe him to be (correctly) unfit for the office.

Standing in his way is a fractured field of candidates of varying hues of conservatism (Cruz, Rubio, Kasich) that must unite now in order to thwart him. The irony is that the candidate most able to successfully defeat Trump is almost as loathed by the GOP establishment as Trump himself.  While the establishment floats the idea of a brokered convention or a Hail Mary in the form of a Rubio win in Florida, precious time ticks away.  While Rubio polls better in a general election against Hillary than Cruz, if he can’t get there, the point is moot.  A brokered convention to force the issue is not only short-sighted, but in this emotionally charged environment, possibly dangerous.  If it is perceived that GOP poobahs in smoke-filled rooms are denying the people their orange champion, there will be loss of faith in the electoral process, a fracturing of the GOP, and quite possibly, violence.

A defeat of Trump must occur in the open before Cleveland in order to preserve the legitimacy of the primary process.  Ted Cruz is the only candidate that can accomplish this, but he can’t do it while the opposition is fractured.  He has twice as many delegates has Rubio.  Unfortunately, Rubio’s decisive win in Puerto Rico yesterday will feed his ego and the hopes of his backers that he can pull out a miracle.  As we’ve seen though, hope is not a strategy.  Rubio’s win in Puerto Rico was the equivalent of a garbage time touchdown in a blowout defeat.

As for Kasich, his quixotic quest for the White House is also harmful to the anti-Trump effort, which leads to some interesting questions.  He has received the kid-glove treatment by Trump, most likely because he is not seen as a threat.  However, he has siphoned off delegates from the viable candidates and will continue to do so as the contests move to a more moderate Northeast Corridor.  I’m reminded of a scene in the movie Casino where Ace Rothstein (Robert DeNiro) chastises Don Ward, the idiot cowboy pit boss that allows a rigged slot machine to continue to pay out jackpots to the detriment of the casino.

“Listen, if you didn’t know you were being scammed, you’re too dumb to keep this job, if you did know, then you were in on it, either way you’re OUT!”

To me, Kasich is either too naive to realize he has no shot at the nomination OR he’s done a deal to stay in and split the field so as to secure a position in a Trump administration.  Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of Kasich lends some credence to this theory; he is Trump’s successor on the Apprentice after all and has ties to the mogul.  It’s plausible that Kasich, wittingly or unwittingly, is being used.

Such political intrigue hearkens back to the Ides of March.  March 15 is the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar, dictator of the Roman Republic, in 44 B.C.  He was stabbed to death by a group of Senators that feared his lurch toward authoritarianism and that date corresponds as a turning point in Roman history marking the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.  In my previous piece, I highlight that America is at a similar crossroads.  Except here, we can vanquish the authoritarian politically and avert a potential disaster.

On March 15, if Trump is not facing Senator Cruz with the support of the remaining candidates and the GOP establishment, he will likely win Florida and be impossible to stop, save the convention scenario, which will not end well.  It will either result in a Trump v Clinton general election which Trump WILL LOSE, or an establishment-picked candidate v Clinton that will likely lose because the record GOP turnout thus far will melt away in the face of convention shenanigans.  It will have been a pyrrhic victory for the GOP establishment, as they would have burned the party down in order to rule over its ashes.

As for Mr. Trump, he may be boorish and arrogant, but like most con artists, he is not patently stupid.  He realizes that you don’t need to be the smartest person in the room, you just have to be smarter than your mark.  Senator Rubio, Governor Kasich, for the good of our country and party, it’s time to set aside your egos and coalesce behind Senator Cruz in order to defeat Donald Trump and his Potemkin candidacy.