Why have conservatives and right-leaning libertarians made so little progress since 2009? Consider that the GOP was written off for dead following the 2008 election. Republicans disappeared from the press. When a Republican popped up on a Sunday talk show, he was talking about compromise and getting along.
Then the Tea Party happened, and all of a sudden the GOP's testes descended. But after two off-year wave elections that gave the GOP their largest majorities since Hoover, the GOP seems poised to double down on the crony capitalist, elitist policies and candidates that got them tossed out of Washington in 2006 and 2008.
If conservatives and right-leaning libertarians gave the GOP its spine, why isn't the GOP using it?
Simple. Republican party leaders work to increase their own personal power. They want to take power from you and me and use it for their personal benefit.
I can't say I blame. I mean, that's precisely what we want to do, isn't it? We want to wrestle power away from Washington and use it ourselves. We echo William F. Buckley who wrote in Up From Liberalism:
I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power as I see fit.
Our problem with the modern Republican Party is that its candidates pretend they're on our side in the battle of personal power. But they're not. They're on their own side. This isn't a two-way war between us and Washington; it's a guerre a trois between us, Washington, and the GOP.
The reason we're losing ground is our weak tactics. When the shooting starts every two years, we take bullets for the Republicans. When they win, they leave on the battlefield to bleed out.
The alternative is to make the game more interesting. Here's how.
Even if all the principled conservatives and right-leaning libertarians banded together, we could not elect third party candidate. But we could deny Republicans the win.
The only way for that to work is to make a strong early commitment and stick to it. Which is what I am doing in this post. I am declaring that I will not cast a Republican vote in any race in 2016 if the GOP nominates Jeb Bush as it's candidate for President.
Some will urge me to vote Republican for office like governor. Nope. None.
If the GOP nominates Bush, I'm pulling a Libertarian ballot in the primary and voting straight Libertarian or Constitution Party ballot in November.
The down-ticket candidates provide a lot of support and cover to the party's up-ticket candidates. Jeb Bush would look a lot less tolerable to Tom Schweich and John Hancock if his nomination meant another Democrat governor and losses in the Missouri General Assembly.
If enough voters committed to voting third party (or staying home) were Bush nominated, state parties throughout the country would distance themselves from Bush.
Bush has all the money locked up.The only way to stop his nomination is to make that nomination a sure defeat for the GOP nationally and in the states. It's a recognition that we're in a three-way war for power. it's telling the establishment that we're crazy enough to point our weapons at the side most likely to surrender to us.
So there's my plan. If the candidate's Bush, I walk. And I'll work against ever Republican on my ballot.