Tuesday night saw a special election in Alabama between Roy Moore and Luther Strange, with Moore being the winner. His victory is part of a larger problem that has been gaining traction in Republican circles for the last decade and culminated with the nomination and election of Donald Trump as president.
Since the 2008 election, when I first started becoming really interested in politics, Republicans have dreamed of an “outsider” candidate. Somebody who had absolutely zero ties to Washington, and was not a part of the the mythical establishment political class. Look back to Christine O’Donnell’s unsuccessful run for Senate in 2010, or perhaps the unexplainable rise of Herman Cain in the 2012 primaries. Time and time again, you’ll see Republican voters flirting with the idea of nominating a person that most Americans find dangerous, crazy, and generally unelectable. Alabama made the same mistake Tuesday night.
My views on Roy Moore have been made clear in past articles that you can find here and here. He doesn’t share the same views as the vast majority of Americans on many issues. However, the larger problem is that the people of Alabama did not care and voted for him anyway. They voted for him, not for any policy position he took, or because he speaks eloquently. No, the reason they vote for Judge Moore was to stick a thumb in the eye of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Putting up as many roadblocks to governing successfully is something the grassroots and activist segment of the party slap each other over the back over, and it’s sickening.
The establishment is the boogeyman, you see. The simple-minded members of the grassroots cannot understand why Speaker Paul Ryan and the aforementioned Leader McConnell just can’t wave their magic wands and pass conservative legislation, and since they can’t they, must be RINO’s. They, of course, are egged on by the entertainment wing of the party: your Sean Hannitys, Michelle Malkins, Mark Levins, Rush Limbaughs, et al. These people know better, but fan the flames of outrage because it gets better ratings. They are as culpable as anyone in the destruction of the Republican Party. The entertainment wing were also the first group of people to gush over Donald Trump when he decided to run for president.
And that’s really what everything comes back to: Donald Trump. Donald has been allowed to hijack the Republican party, and he’s been aided and abetted by Fox News and conservative commentators along the way. Being a Republican used to mean something. It meant we were the party of small government and big ideas. We were the party that wanted to grow the tent larger, so everyone could join in. Instead, we’ve allowed their to be purity tests that if not passed; mean you are a RINO who might as well vote Democrat.
Being a Republican in the age of Trump means nothing other than you upset the right people. You upset liberals and “snowflakes,” and, of course, the establishment. The grassroots have pushed out moderate Republicans for the sake of ideological purity, and made the party extremely small as a result. I know myself, as well as many others, left the party after Trump’s nomination. We saw what was coming and what had happened, and we wanted no part of it.
The base of the party needs to come to it’s senses and quickly. Christine O’Donnell lost for a reason. Herman Cain didn’t win the nomination for a reason. Roy Moore may win his Senate seat in Alabama, but it will come at the cost of every Republican lawmaker needing to answer every insane thing he says.
Candidates matter. Experience in government matters. As a party we used to realize that and respect that. Having a resume and legislation to your name was a good thing, not a weight around your neck. The sooner we get back to sanity in the party, and stop treating the tears of leftists and the establishment as badges of honor; the sooner you’ll see all those people who left the party come back.
Until then, we’re wandering the desert. Left to wonder how the party of big ideas became the party of those with no ideas.