While the curtain has yet to close on the 2016 election cycle, the impending doom of the Republican party is a forgone conclusion. Those of us who’ve become wanderers must now consider our destination. Many organizations are forming, both loosely and formally, with the intention of beginning a new party. Most of these efforts will fail as the sting of the 2016 primary fades; and the fervent enthusiasm wanes while life returns to normal when the 24-hour news cycle is no longer full of Trump’s latest blunder or the Clinton campaign’s hacked emails. This is not a criticism of those who drift away from the cause, it’s merely a recognition of the reality that awaits.
Some, however, will persevere, grow and merge with others. Because competition of ideas and energies lends itself to the elimination or absorption of the less effective by the strong, I encourage and applaud these efforts. I hope they heed this first call for them to encourage others also, as the task ahead is not only arduous, but will eventually be a mind-numbing logistical exercise of petition signing and paper filing. The big ideas will be put aside for methodical engineering, and that’s when the tough get going and the mouthy suddenly find a sock drawer that needs rearranging.
I’d also like to offer a few words of caution and items for these groups to consider as we all lurch into the great unknown.
First, consider that all of us engaged in the effort to build a new home when added together are still a minority in the electorate. Don’t assume your #NeverTrump’ism is a unifying force for the different disenfranchised factions of the republican party. It isn’t. The exiled liberty movement and constitutional conservatives involved in this are miles apart from the moderate and neoconservative wings that feel compelled to leave for a very different set of reasons. #NeverTrump failed in its effort to stop Trump in the primaries because of this schism. It will also prevent the development of an opposition party in the future.
Additionally, this can’t be emphasized enough: there will be many non alt-right Trump supporters that will find themselves disenfranchised as well. They should be welcomed with open arms so long as they concur with the basic tenets and are not merely driven by anger. So, before signing on, examine your motivations and make certain to align with those that are like-minded. ln fact, many should consider remaining in the Republican Party and fighting for control of it. And the following is said, not only with a degree of seriousness, but as a plea — many moderates, especially those residing in blue states, should strongly consider joining the Democratic Party in attempt to pull it toward the center. Before shuddering at the thought, read further.
Next, keep the main thing the main thing for now. Stay away from detailed, rigid proposals that will serve to divide and stall your efforts before they get off the ground. Look for broad, unifying principles everyone can agree on. Focus for now on the theme of Liberty vs. Tyranny. If it reclaims or expands your personal Liberty, we are for it. If it contracts or continues to restrict your personal Liberty, we are against it. We can all support Limited Federal government and increased states’ rights. In fact, the contention that the nexus of this new movement is centered around 10th Amendment is something that deserves serious analysis.
While policy and position papers will certainly be required moving forward, for now keep them general in nature. We don’t have all the answers yet. Let’s be comfortable with that. There is an array of complex issues we face that will require a level of expertise that none of our movements possess now. Military and foreign policy platforms are complex, and having a one person at your 501c who served in the military hardly serves as the level-of-depth that is necessary. The last thing any of us need is an “Aleppo moment.”
Another example would be tax policy. There’s absolutely no need to put forth a detailed proposal such as the fair tax for now. Let’s agree a flat, non-progressive tax system with no deductions or penalties for behavior the government deems honorable or dishonorable is what we desire. Whether it is income and/or consumption-based and the rates attached to it are details that should be left to the candidates we put forth. Put the big rocks in the jar for now, pour the sand in later.
While there are many other things to consider, this last point commands the utmost attention. We must redefine winning. We are a minority political faction, and we can no longer afford to play all or nothing zero-sum politics. All too often we have staked our fate on righteousness, and stood upright and defiant while watching our liberty legislatively slip away. There is no justification for the claims of success put forth by moderates, to lose our liberty more slowly.
Losing is losing, but we must recognize the dials of governing have been set in a leftward position. They will not mystically reset to neutral if we only resolve ourselves to purity. We must present our ideal positions as “True North,” but we can no longer stand at this Trueness and demand a flocking to our position of rightness. We must promote and accept any candidates and legislation that turns the leftward set dials even one degree toward that True North. We must not accept anything that allows them to turn further left or remain where they are set. Winning from here on out must now be measured in terms of movement and no longer in terms of purity. The left surely knows and has mastered this concept of winning. We must purpose our hearts to returning the long-overdue favor. The dials were turned left slowly over 50 years, and it will require a generation to reset them.
Each movement must ask and consider these thoughts before embarking on this most necessary journey. With the hope that together, we can not only develop the truest and purest ideals of governing, but that we may impact and influence policy to correct two generations of tyrannical reign. A new party to the right of the GOP is required to accomplish this, but also the reformation of the GOP and Democratic parties would go a long way to restoring our liberty. Each of you should consider where you are most effective and can best serve in restoring our country’s founding principles.