By Bill Collier- We are at a point where a conservative cannot win the Republican primary. The Republican Party has not favored conservatives ever and has never really been a conservative party, at least in modern history. The truth is the leaders of the conservative movement have utterly failed- that is an objective fact. The people who claimed to be leading the Tea Party, the people who led the legacy conservative organizations, and conservative politicians within the GOP have collectively failed to win the battles that they needed to win.
We cannot win with “the next Reagan”, that ship has sailed and that was a 20th century reality. Our issues, especially social conservative issues, are losing issues even though our positions are generally more in line with most people. IN other words, while the things we stand for line up with most Americans’ beliefs, most Americans don’t hold those issues as a high priority at all. Given a choice between what the liberals and moderates offer and social conservatives who only offer the opportunity to earn your own success and prosperity, we lose.
These are the hard facts which confront us at this trying hour in which, for the umpteenth time, there is not real conservative alternative who can win the election in 2016- the two major parties are both, to varying degrees, hostile to the conservative agenda, especially the social conservative agenda. America has become a socially libertine nation and it isn’t interested in the right to life, traditional marriage, or anything along those lines.
But just as Americans won’t make voting FOR social conservative issues a priority, so too, I propose, that they will not make voting FOR social libertinism their priority. Notice the Democrats and the moderates in the GOP rarely RUN on libertinism, though they pursue it once elected, and most Americans just go with the flow. What people care about is money- their money. Whether they comes from not being raked over the coals every year by the IRS or getting access to some program or benefit at public expense, or both, the American voter today lacks principles and virtues. That is a fact of life we are going to have to deal with if we are going to win voters to our cause.
Unless we can address their priorities and serve them and prove the success of our program, they will not support us. But if we serve the voters with a real agenda, not just a catch phrase, that lines up with their needs and priorities, then they will accept other aspects of what we wish to do, just as they do now for the liberals and moderates.
In the Republican Primary a socially libertine candidate won substantial support from voters who are socially very conservative because he was able to address their top priorities- number one seeming to be the economy and number two seeming to be a desire to overturn the current power structure within the Republican Party. The frustration conservatives feel is extremely high, especially for those who were excited by Ted Cruz’s candidacy. There is no candidate for the conservative, and that in part because, like most people, conservatives in large numbers voted for things they held in higher esteem than their own conservative beliefs.
I do not blame these people for doing what they did. We have to eat and survive and, sadly, while Ted Cruz had a great plan for addressing those core priorities, he spent little time and energy selling his commitment to those issues. I am not suggesting that conservative who run for office not set policy by their convictions. I am not suggesting Ted Cruz lost because of his social conservative values. I am suggesting that if you can’t prove that you will deliver good economic results for people you won’t win because people have to eat and keep a roof over their head. Trump did that. Now we’ll see if between he and Clinton which does that better- in the end that is what matters most.
I am not suggesting that a prof-life conservative stop being pro-life. I am suggesting that 90% of their campaign needs to be about what the voters care about and what their priorities are. They don’t really, in a general sense, care if you are pro-life or not, they care about what THEY care about. I don’t like it, I think it is shallow and short-sighted to be like that, I believe morals matters, but I also KNOW that voters place a premium on pocketbook and wallet issues.
The conservatives who are ready to bolt the GOP have had enough. I have been harsh in some comments to them, but as I am reflecting, I begin to see their perspective, and I have more sympathy, I myself have a visceral reaction to anything that support Hillary Clinton who will destroy our wallets and our culture! But as I step back….it becomes clear that conservatives who are ready to let the chips fall where they will have a point. Why keep trying to win on a battlefield where there has not been a real victory since 1984? The GOP has been an utterly fruitless field for the conservative movement.
But my counter argument is that the conservative movement has utterly failed on two counts- it has not farmed the field of the GOP and it has not set out an agenda and a program from action, beyond mere rhetoric, that convinces voters that we will deliver on their priorities. The Republican Party is a system.
Like all systems, self-perpetuation and maintaining the current leadership are built into the system- without these things you cannot maintain a system. So it is always an uphill climb to change the leadership and restructure the system. But conservatives have failed to even give that a good try- their time and money has not gone into moving activists into leadership from the precinct, up and they massaging has utterly failed to deliver voters on a consistent basis. Because they do not show up at meetings, participate in activities, invest money, and elect their own to local positions of authority within the Party they utterly fail.
To blame the GOP when the GOP is just a field to be plowed reminds me of the story Acres of Diamonds. In this story, the farmer sees only fallow land and trues everything but plowing the land- he tries all kinds of get rich quick schemes and none work. Eventually, he sells the farm. The guy who buys it then proceeds to plow in earnest to try and resurrect the fallow ground. He discovers that just a few feet below the surface are acres of tiny diamond fragments- he becomes extremely rich.
Conservatives have tried everything but the gritty and boring work of plowing the field. They have not focused on moving activists into the realm of local to national Party leadership through a demonstrated commitment to the Party they need to win elections. They gave not honed their message to give the People what the People want. And they have, as a movement, utterly failed to invest in the people who actually get things done, such as bloggers and local activists who work for free while consultants live large and accomplish nothing.
I am going to vote for the Party in November. I am not voting for Trump, I am voting for the Republican Party Platform, which I mostly agree with. And I am going to work to help build a prosperity movement founded on my social conservative values within the GOP that will move activists to places of real leadership in all levels of that Party, I am going to FARM THIS FIELD called the Republican Party, and in November I a going t vote to ensure that there is still a field to be plowed instead of letting the likes of Hillary Clinton ascend to the throne.
Now if, in the Convention, the Party so alters its platform that I cannot vote for it, that is a different matter. I will hope that those who have influence there will fight for a conservative platform, otherwise we would be giving away the farm to the progressives within who have been plowing that field.
The conservative rank and file have been following and supporting leaders who have failed to plow the field of the Republican Party, who have failed to move conservative activists into leadership positions in that Party starting at the precincts, and who have failed to provide a coherent message that earns the trust of voters for our candidates. A Hillary Presidency will make building a new and practically effective conservative movement nearly impossible as she may very well end our freedom to even openly operate as social conservatives or capitalists. Pulling down the whole house on our own heads is not a comparison to Sampson, it is a comparison to the kamikaze, it is kamikaze conservatism.
Social conservatives who believe in freedom, the free market, and America have to stop Hillary, farm the field of the GOP, and create a message and program that serves the People’s actual priorities and thus EARNS their support for our priorities.