Daniel Horowitz Op-ed: Conservatives must finally break free from the stranglehold of fake Republicans
DANIEL HOROWITZ | December 12, 2022
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The problem for conservatives headed forward is not so much mail-in ballots as it is mail-in Republicans.
If Haggai the prophet were around today, he’d likely chastise conservative voters as follows: “Consider your ways: You have sown much and you bring in little. You eat without being satiated. You drink without getting your fill. You dress, and it has no warmth. And he who profits, profits into a bundle with holes.”
No matter how much the Republican Party cheats on its base – committing sins that the eyes cannot unsee – conservatives continue to slavishly genuflect to the party’s every whim and offer to carry water for Republicans. They treat Republican politicians as the masters rather than the servants. They believe we must support them at any cost rather than understanding that they need our support to even exist, because Democrats already locked up the voters they truly desire. Conservative influencers continue to view themselves as loyal Republicans and refuse to explore any blunt force trauma to this perfidious party that would force a cathartic moment when either we finally take over the party or we have a critical mass to either start a new one or use the GOP only for ballot access but form a party within a party.
The scope of the problem is not limited to a few RINOs. In fact, we are the RINOs. With the exception of a handful of Republicans who accidentally win office, almost every elected Republican is either indifferent or downright on the other side of the issues that really matter, in the way they matter, and at the time they matter. Just consider that only one senator and only one governor are fighting the issue of our time – biomedical tyranny. Or the fact that not only did a bunch of Republicans vote with Democrats to codify gay marriage as a right against religious liberty, but not a single leadership member in either party spoke out against it and none whipped against it.
In order to secure our votes, they pretend to be with us on the issues that don’t matter, or in the way and at the time they don’t matter. Then they employ a brilliant tactic to keep us on the plantation – threaten us with the prospect of the Democrat winning, the very same Democrats they work with on the issues that matter.
Cunningly, the Republicans understand that while they have no problem working with the Democrats, their base is truly revolted by and fearful of the Democrats. Hence, the argument of “but the Democrats” resonates the most precisely with those most likely to rebel against the perfidious party leadership. Thus, they have created a never-ending zero-sum game. The more the GOP commits perfidy and works with the Democrats on the issues of the time, the farther the political landscape and Overton window shift to the left. The more disquiet and fear instilled in the base about the Democrats further winning, the more the base is hoodwinked into voting Republican without doing any much-needed political surgery.
If you take this vicious cycle to its logical conclusion … it has no conclusion – other than us inexorably becoming wards of Klaus Schwab’s AI transhumanist kingdom. Because whether the issue is COVID, Ukraine, marriage, immigration, spending, global warming, no matter how much the Republicans screw us, they can always turn around and say, “Well, it’s going to be worse if the Democrats win.” In reality, it’s the GOP that acts as the forward advance guard or the getaway car for the Democrats – it’s a one-two step in which the Democrats could not succeed in what they are doing without a veneer of bipartisanship so that they won’t own the blame or fallout of their destructive policies.
Conservative talk show hosts and news influencers need to be asked: What is their plan to stop this cycle of failure and degeneration? And is there no limit to the perfidy of the GOP or particular Republicans that will finally prompt them to stop voting for them? Until conservatives are willing to shoot the hostage, they will never wield any leverage over the Republicans. McConnell and company rightly wager that Republicans will always come back to them because they have nowhere else to go. Jared Kushner said as much to Trump in advocating that he deviate from the MAGA agenda on certain issues.
As we explore multiple ways to shake up the party, particularly at the state and local levels in solid red states first, we must be willing to make it clear that at some point there is a bridge too far. Remember, the establishment torpedoes our candidates in the rare instance that they win the primaries. They not only refuse to support them but openly undermine them. We must return the favor.
The interesting thing about the Republican Party in the way it’s currently constituted is that it not only hates its base, but it increasingly does not appeal to independent voters, despite the fact that Democrats don’t really appeal to them either. Now is the perfect time to begin running respectable candidates with new ideas on an anti-elitist message but devoid of the typical divisive labels to appeal to a broad subset of the electorate who are deeply dismayed with the status quo of the duopoly. There is no silver bullet, but here is a rough outline of things that must be done concurrently:
- A pledge against elite globalist Republicans: We don’t need perfection, but when you have Republicans openly undermining us on the key issues of the time, we need a petition of hundreds of thousands of Republican voters pledging they will never vote for them – primary or general election. A good place to start are the 12 Senate Republicans who voted to force gay marriage and its accompanying rainbow jihad against the church upon our communities. Almost all those 12 Republicans are in solid red states and undermine us on many other issues too. For example, Thom Tillis, who is a liberal pretty much on every issue, is also working on an amnesty bill with Democrats. It needs to be made clear that these people will never have our support.
- Run independent candidates in the general election: So does this mean you just “let the Democrat win”? That should not stop us from running truly independent candidates in the general election for statewide office who have a broader message and have not been attached so much (or at all) to the Republican Party. I offered a blueprint for this in the Pennsylvania Senate race, when it became clear that Oz was both a leftist and unelectable, that we should have run someone from the medical freedom movement and strip the labels of “conservative” and “liberal.” We need to break the paradigm of the binary uniparty, and we only need one race to break this impervious monopoly. Also, unlike an official new party, it’s fairly easy to get on the ballot as an independent in most states. And nothing appeals more to swing voters these days than the label “independent,” which is something all of us who hate the status quo – from traditional conservative to populists or disenchanted classical liberal – should embrace.
- Continue to run primaries with better focus: Where possible, we should still run in Republican primaries, but focus more on governors than on the House or Senate. The federal government is lost. We need to focus on getting more governors like Ron DeSantis in red states, yet at present we have not even a single one. Our entire primary focus should be on governors for red states like Utah, West Virginia, North Dakota, Indiana, and Missouri, which are all up in 2024 but have lackluster GOP governors. There is an immediate opportunity in Kentucky, which has its election next year and is currently held by a Democrat. So far, Savannah Maddox, the most conservative member of the legislature, appears to be the best candidate. And again, when the result of the primaries is unacceptable to us, we should look for independent candidates with a broad appeal. This strategy has promise not only in solid red states but in swing states as well. As for downballot offices – from state legislature to school board and county positions – it’s hard to have a slate of independent candidates with enough money and name ID. We can probably only target this strategy of running independents initially for statewide office. So, for lower offices we will have to run Republicans; however, we need candidates who don’t consider themselves as Republicans and are merely using the party for ballot access – the same way the party uses us for our votes. For legislative bodies, we should make it clear that these candidates will form their own caucus and use their leverage against GOP leadership when needed, almost rendering it like a parliamentarian system. Once elected and having achieved notoriety, they can consider switching to independent, similar to what Kyrsten Sinema has just done after leaving the Democrat Party.
- Switch from popular primaries to state conventions/caucuses: In swing states, the Republican brand is not only fraudulent but also toxic. In red states, the brand is still intact, but most red states are run by perfidious Republicans. I can write an entire book on how it’s nearly impossible to knock off Republicans in a primary without a scandal, and even most open seats are hard to win. They have all the money and use it to fool voters by running on our issues with no intent of fulfilling their promises. There is one way to change this cycle of failure. Rather than forcing candidates to raise millions of dollars, money only the bad guys have, they should go through a caucus or convention system whereby voters in precincts elect a representative to vote for them at a convention. The activists know who the frauds are. If you had a Utah-style convention in a state like Texas, Gregg Abbott would have lost his primary. This is the only way to get in a critical mass of non-Republican Republicans in one election cycle. Several years ago, I wrote an outline explaining how this would work.
- Focus activism and pressure over issues, not just elections: The way to create a political environment either for primary challenges or independent runs is for conservative voters – who are busy with life, work, and family – to actually know just how bad their GOP governor and legislators are. We need a focused pressure campaign to expose the issues and personnel during legislative sessions so people realize in their deep red districts just how long their Republican representative has been faking it. Every policy opportunity in every legislative session must be exploited, and every bad policy from executive branches in red states must be pointed out and pressure brought to bear on the two-faced Republicans to “convert or die.” Getting active on the issues, especially at the state and local levels, which are less saturated with activism than Congress, is more impactful than elections.
There is a common denominator to all of these action items. They require a mindset that we are the masters of the GOP, not its servants. We must start holding Republicans’ feet to the fire, not carrying water for them. We have no obligation to them. There is a middle ground between continuing the same failed GOP game for the rest of our lives and immediately starting a new party. We make it clear that the Republican Party as it is currently constituted is dead to us, and we act in our own interests. The above ideas are just the beginning of an outline of what that practically looks like. Some of my colleagues in this business might be content to continue playing the game, but for me, I’m done. Life is too short to double down on failure.