by CAPT. SETH KESHEL
I get comments like these frequently, and I absolutely understand where they come from. They come from the sober recognition that the leadership of the Republican Party is comprised of, at best, professional and aspiring bureaucrats who don’t want to lose their seats at the table, or at worst, subversive operatives. I would place many of the feckless political consultants, those who urge their guys to fold their cards after ripped-off elections, in the former category, while players like Paul Ryan belong in the latter.
“It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it,” said the late George Carlin. While minor parties are not forbidden in American politics, they are locked out by nature of the electoral college, the composition of the House and Senate chambers, and of course, by big dollars that have blotted out influence that is supposed to reside with the voters. I have long said that the Republican Party deserves more of the blame for the 2020 election outcome, on both the front and back ends of it, than the Democrat Party does. After all, with a few exceptions like Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Republicans did very little to counter illegal Democrat maneuvers to alter the conduct of the 2020 election before it even began, and when it was all said and done, five of six contested states run by Republican legislatures refused to stand up when it mattered most.
Why didn’t we start a new party after that?
The answer is simple – because the only man with enough charisma, clout, and political significance chose not to. Had he done that, the Republican Party would have immediately become the third largest party, behind the Democrat Party and the new party created by Donald Trump.
I understand his rationale. The two main parties in America have been the only shows in town for almost 170 years. The Republican Party was established in 1854, ran in the Presidential election of 1856, and won it in 1860 with Abraham Lincoln atop the ticket, and a plethora of candidates down ticket. The Whig Party withered on the vine, and most of its members became Republicans. Worth noting, the Whigs died a slow death, mainly because they couldn’t figure out what they stood for, and didn’t fight the battles that mattered most, such as the fight to abolish slavery. This allowed Democrats to run what were referred to as “northern men of southern values” (permissive of slavery), and win.
We have plenty of splinter parties today. While there was a larger than normal “other party” vote share in 2016, even then it still represented than six percent of the total vote. Libertarians get a little of it, and so do the Greens. New York shows you just how successful minor parties are, or are not, with multiple split-offs from the mainstream GOP. The problem is not that the Republican Party exists; rather, the issue is that the Republican Party has a festering infection of inaction brought about by the presence of complacent, sold out, or otherwise feckless leadership.
Political parties are merely vehicles for political platforms. To further digest my point, envision the Republican Party as an old car sitting on cinder blocks with a dead battery, inoperable engine, and blown transmission. It can’t go anywhere because you can’t drive it. No one wants to sit in it, let alone be seen in it. Now you understand the Republican Party post-Reagan, and pre-Trump. The operatives who have come to control the party in that period have made it undrivable and incapable of winning important elections.
Today, they would rather stay perched on those cinder blocks if they aren’t allowed to sit in the driver’s seat. The good news is, the frame is still intact, the axles don’t need repair, and we can even turn the steering wheel. If we can get the investment to replace the battery, engine, and transmission, the vehicle will drive, and we can leave the shop and go pick up some new people to party with, and get some things done.
I am not a Republican out of some far-fetched love of party. In fact, I can’t register as one in Texas because the state doesn’t register voters by party. I am not a formal member of any Republican group; however, I support Republican candidates and also recognize that the only vehicle for political change, at this very moment in history (the one I live in, and the one you live in, and the only one any of us are capable of making an impact in because it is the present moment – not the past or the future, which is either gone or not yet here), that can be possibly reformed to carry out the will of its voter base, and not the will of PACs, consultants, or global special interests, is the Republican Party.
Because Donald Trump, the most significant political figure alive today, and perhaps the most significant global political figure since Lincoln, decided to work within its framework, we realistically have no choice in seeking political reforms but to alter the trajectory of the party. So far, we are making small gains locally, but missing the big picture. People complain that the machinery of the party prevents the ability to infiltrate and take over the party for good, but we are failing to fill even the most basic leadership positions in the most important areas.
Maricopa County, Arizona, arguably ground zero for the elections crisis, is in dire need of hundreds upon hundreds of Precinct Committeemen, the lowest level of representation of the party to the people, and nearby Pima County, home to metro Tucson, is also short by over 700. If you’ve heard it said that you can’t complain if you didn’t vote, then the same holds true for complaining about the party if we aren’t trying to fill its most basic positions, leaving them open for those will become the next generation of RINOs guiding party policy and acceptance of stupid mandates, outcomes, and results.