People, regardless of demographic, are into idols. We have cults of personality, standards by which we judge all comers, issues (not principles) on which we will not compromise, and the ideal of the nation itself. Not all are idols, but all can be idols.
In political seasons, we make idols of our candidates — they are flawless, pure, and indestructible. That is until they are destroyed. Look no further than South Carolina for an example of this.
There are, at last count, 2.73 trillion people in South Carolina vying to beat Lindsey Graham. And that might be undercounting his challengers. The supporters of each of these candidates believe their candidate is the only person who can beat Lindsey Graham. The polls are all wrong, it is a great conspiracy, and if only the media would mention their particular guy … why that guy could beat Lindsey Graham. If only.
The same is happening in Georgia. Conservatives are dissatisfied with both David Perdue and Jack Kingston. The Chamber of Commerce has rallied to Jack Kingston. Kingston and Karen Handel are battling it out for the spot in the runoff against Perdue. But Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey’s supporters are intent on losing. They’d rather go down with their ship than have a lesser conservative battle David Perdue — a man who appears to have never cast a vote in a Republican primary.
Conservative activists have become their own worst enemy at battling the Establishment. In fact, the Establishment plays them by, in some cases, encouraging conservatives to get into races knowing they’ll beat each other up. The Establishment Jehoshaphat comes over the hill and sees that conservatives have slaughtered themselves.
Nebraska may be one of the exceptions. Conservatives have mostly all rallied to Ben Sasse and it looks like he will win. But in South Carolina, where I think the only challenger who can beat Graham is Det Bowers, conservatives who say they want to beat Graham really want to beat Graham with only their chosen candidate turned idol. All others are false gods and they’d rather Graham win than their guy not be the guy.
In Georgia, conservatives may see the Establishment battle itself because Paul Broun and Phil Gingrey’s supporters would rather their guy than anybody else. Conservatives, in primaries, are their own worst enemies. And this habit will set them up for division in 2016 too.