After seeing the Vice Presidential debate, many conservatives are lamenting what could have been. Why couldn’t we have nominated Mike Pence, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Bobby Jindal or Rick Perry? I would say that most of us would have been thrilled to support any one of those in spite of their individual flaws. So seeing the contrast between Pence and Trump just highlights how disappointed we are.
I am disappointed, but I have come to realize that I am praying for a miracle healing for a terminal cancer patient. God can do all things. Now, only he can make the GOP into a conservative party. This cycle has made it perfectly clear to me that the reason conservatism doesn’t ever seem to lead the GOP (with the exception of Reagan) is that the GOP isn’t conservative. It talks conservative. It takes some show votes. It professes love of liberty, love of the Constitution, shrinking the government, balanced budgets, less regulation, protection of life, strong American defense abroad and on and on, but the GOP isn’t conservative. Obamacare is the law of the land because the GOP will not fight to get rid of it. They claim they want to repeal it. They don’t. They want to make it work better and put some more nuggets in for their donors.
Democrats don’t compromise because they don’t have to. They know that the GOP will cave at the first sign of pressure, just like Mike Pence did when it was his moment with RFRA. There are isolated cases of backbone, such as Judge Roy Moore in Alabama and Pat McCrory in North Carolina. I don’t doubt that many GOP politicans believe in conservative values, but they aren’t willing to risk backlash to accomplish them. What good are beliefs and goals if you refuse to fight for them? Then we have a large chunk that don’t believe in conservative values at all. They see the party as a cash cow, a vehicle to power or other nefarious purposes.
I don’t buy all the excuses about how the GOP can’t do anything without the Presidency. That is bull. The Democrats did what they wanted after 2006, when they had the House and Senate and the GOP had the Presidency. We have had 2 years of GOP control of both Houses of Congress. What have they fought on and not caved?…. Merrick Garland is the only thing I can think of. We all know as soon as Hillary wins, if not before, they will cave on that too.
The GOP is not the vehicle for conservatism. It isn’t conservative, it just claims to be. Trump claims to have the best brain and hire the best people. Neither are true. Trump has a brain (I think) and he may have hired a few good people in his life (hopefully), just like there are conservatives in the GOP. This doesn’t make the party a conservative party. The sooner we realize and accept that, the better off we will be.
Even the term “conservative” has been co-opted to mean Republican or anti-Democrat. People under 40 think of Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain, Romney, Frist, Lott, Gingrich, Hassert, Boehner, Ryan, McConnell and Trump. That is every Presidential nominee, Speaker of the House or Majority Leader for the last 30 years. What is conservative about that? A few accomplishments with Gingrich in the 90’s and some tax cuts with Bush 43.
I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know if taking over the Libertarian Party is the best route to take forward. They have 50 state ballot access and likely federal funds for 2020. We would only need about 8% of Cruz’s primary supporters to exceed the high water mark of the Libertarian Party in the general election (2012). Maybe we should just skip cleaning out or overruling the crazy and start a new party. I don’t know what the best route is yet. I do know that conservatives will not win within the GOP. Even when we get something out front, the surrender caucus will make sure it dies quickly. I am moving on and I hope other real conservatives will join me. Together we can do better. We must demand more than the scraps from the GOP table.