Could we please have a serious, pro-rights, pro-Constitution candidate for the office of president this time?
For the past several elections you have passed over the good, pro-rights, pro-Constitution candidates – or never come up with any – in favor of wishy-washy “moderates” with poll-based values and elastic principles. Make no mistake: the rights movement, and the wide array of activists concerned about constitutional liberty and restoration of the republic, will not endorse, support or actively work for any candidate who does not have a proven record of personal commitment to the Constitution and individual liberty.
Please do not be suckered into nominating another mediocre “moderate” based on the lie of “electability.” The question of a person’s electability can only be definitively answered in a flat-out run for office. Anything short of that is just speculation.
Granted, some would-be candidates are clearly unelectable from the start. Others are obviously long shots. But the only way to get a candidate’s true measure is to give your support to the candidate – or candidates – who best represent your values and vision for the nation and do your best to push that – or those – candidate(s) to the top of the list in the primaries, straw polls and other preliminary popularity contests.
Don’t let the pundits, the experts, pragmatists, “moderates” or the mainstream media convince you that you should throw your support behind a candidate who doesn’t reflect your values and vision based on a wholly manufactured concept of electability.
To understand the lie of electability, it is necessary to understand the arguments about electability.
The assumption is that a hard-right, or extremely conservative candidate is unelectable in larger cities, statewide elections for Senate and governor, and definitely unelectable for the office of president of the United States. Why? Because the voting public is neatly divided into three relatively equal segments: Republicans, Democrats and independents/others; and it is the independents/others who ultimately decide who the president (or senator or governor) will be.
Since this third voting bloc divides the Republicans and the Democrats, the pushers of “electability,” including most of the media, paint it as being in the middle philosophically and politically. That is the central lie in the lie of electability, the myth of the independent, centrist voter.
The fact is that while more people have decided to officially disassociate themselves from formal party affiliation, the vast majority of those voters are just as partisan as they ever were. Rather than reflecting a vast middle-ground of political philosophy, they mirror the ratio of broad political opinions found in declared partisans.
Then there are the “others,” the so-called third parties. None of them is called the Wishy-Washy Compromiser Party. Nor is there one called the Middle-of-the-Road-a-Little-Republican-and-a-Little-Democrat Party. These independent parties range from the Communist, Socialist and Green parties on the “more government” side to the Constitution, Natural Law and Libertarian parties on the “less government” side. The net effect is two core political philosophies, which are relatively evenly split and more or less cancel each other out.
The next big lie within the electability hoax is the idea that whoever ends up being the Republican candidate will receive the same level of support – during the campaign and at the ballot box – from the Republican base and associated special interest groups. That is absolutely, utterly and completely not true.
In a race between an anti-rights Democrat and a moderately pro-rights Republican, rights advocates will certainly trail along toward the side of the Republican, but they will not do it with gusto, and a good many of them will simply walk away in disgust. One need look no farther than the 2008 Election to see the proof of that. John McCain received a belated official endorsement from the NRA. Nonetheless, McCain was deeply mistrusted by grassroots rights advocates, and they simply did not go to work to get him elected.
Republicans, you have seen this all before, as when George Herbert Walker Bush banned importation of specific rifles deemed “not particularly suitable for sporting purposes” in 1986, and again in 1996 when they nominated Senator Robert Dole, another senator donned with the “electability” mantle, but who could not fire up the pro-rights activists.
The same is true for other single-issue groups and especially for the growing movement of citizens worried about the deterioration of liberty and the trampling of the Constitution.
Certainly it is essential that a Republican presidential candidate be able to draw votes from Democrats, Democrat-leaning independents and third parties, but the key to those votes does not lie in moving away from core Republican values and issues and toward the Democrat philosophy. Moving toward the “middle” might pick up a few votes, but those gains are more than offset by the loss of enthusiastic support from the Republican base.
The more Republicans act like Democrats, the less they are trusted – by the base and by potential crossover voters.
To break from their traditional voting habits people must be disenchanted with their party and confident that the other party is going to give them something different. That confidence does not exist for moderate Republicans. They are seen as just more of the same; politics as usual.
Anyone touting a candidate based on electability is doing a disservice to the Republican party and the American people. Electability is not something that just exists, it is generated by thousands and thousands of active, committed and excited advocates rallying around a candidate who believes what they believe and wants what they want.
We want a return to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We want to return to individual liberty and individual responsibility. We want a candidate we can trust and one we can unflinchingly endorse and support – someone we can get excited about.
We desperately want a different president, but we don’t want it bad enough to get excited about a wishy-washy, unprincipled compromiser; and if that’s what you try to foist on us, you can expect wishy-washy support from the rights community.