The Establishment vs. Base Merry-Go-Round Continues to Spin...Just Deal With It

Just like after every election cycle, there’s a contentious postmortem taking place right now. Some cycles, it takes place on the Democrat side. Others, on the Republican side. This cycle, despite some important gains for Republicans, that postmortem is happening on the right. The “red wave” never appeared. We are back to the same old “establishment vs. conservative base” arguments. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Of course, it doesn’t help that in some places in country, votes are still being counted (I’m looking at you, California). It certainly raises the tension when some races are still up in the air.

Regardless, we’re doing the breakdowns and that means there is a lot of blame to go around.

The MAGA wing is too loud/the establishment wing is too quiet. Abortion was an issue/abortion didn’t matter as much. Republicans were too cocky/Republicans were too timid. Take your pick. Someone is to blame and it’s probably “that other guy.”

Round and round.

I know there is a lot of angst surrounding this battle. The Red Wave that never was has a lot of people disappointed. If we can’t win in this kind of economy, with crime rising and misery skyrocketing, all because of Democrat policies, how can we win at all? Either the direction of the Republican party must change or we’ll never win another election again. I’ve heard it all before. I’m not saying it isn’t a valid conversation, but truly, I’ve heard it all before.

I came into conservative politics on the back of the Tea Party movement. I had just moved to California from Indiana, was suffering severe sticker shock, and I was deeply concerned about the possibility of socialized medicine following Barack Obama into the White House. I grabbed a poster board and a marker and headed to the nearest rally. The Tea Party inspired me to become active in politics. I cared, and I was surrounded by people who cared, and who worked hard to try to turn the country around in the direction we believed was right. There were many victories. Without the Tea Party we wouldn’t have dependable, and consistently electable, politicians like Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. Many right wing media operations were borne out of that movement as well, people you now take for granted as just a part of the media landscape.

Hey, no Tea Party, no Kira Davis, Deputy Managing Editor at RedState.

There were even more losses, however, many self-inflicted. The movement known as the “Tea Party” began to fracture, and became less of an organic movement and more one of multiple organizations competing to carry the Tea Party brand. People figured out they could make a lot of money raising funds off the fears of conservative Americans. The movement lost its teeth. We argued about finding a way to oust the swamp monsters once and for all, but as you see, Mitch McConnell is still Mitch McConnell, and despite all the great conservative candidates in 2012, we ran Mitt Romney.

We fought and raged and kicked and screamed about the establishment for years, then another election cycle came. Trump was so disruptive, that he ignited yet another argument about the establishment vs. the conservative base. Then he lost, and we lost, and we were back at it. Then came 2022 and this cycle could certainly be labeled a loss. Here we are again, lamenting, arguing, swearing we are finished with politics after this.

Are you sensing a pattern here?

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be concerned about figuring out why the GOP didn’t see the gains they should have this year. I’m not saying the prevailing establishment shouldn’t have to answer for anything, or that the conservative base shouldn’t be ticked about being ignored by the swamp Republicans. What I’m saying is that this is nothing new. We’re not at some kind of “crossroads.” The “Establishment” is the “Establishment” for a reason. They’re not going anywhere.

And neither are we.

This is all perfectly normal, and dare I say, a part of the process…the never ending, tedious, absurd process that is American politics. There really isn’t such a thing as unity in politics. Would we even want there to be? Who wants to be a part of a hive mind? What we need to make politics work is agreeability and agreement, and those things do not come without arguing. Sometimes one side wins, sometimes the other, but both sides are part of this party and are doomed to duke it out in perpetuity. It must be so, because either side without the other will become too powerful and too “untouchable.”

Don’t fool yourselves into thinking this isn’t going on with the Democrats as well. They deal with exactly the same issues. They’re winning this election cycle, so we just don’t notice it as much. They’re still pulling each other’s ponytails behind the scenes.

Go ahead and have cry, or a beer, or whatever it is you’re doing to work out your annoyances with the political class. But take comfort in knowing that this is a cycle, and it will keep churning. Let’s have the discussions, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking we’ll be coming to any permanent answers. The best we can do is fight it out every cycle and let the chips fall where they may.


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