NYT: Establishment Republicans Fear Lasting Split
Republican primary voters are staging a “people’s coup”
As we watch the 2016 Republican primaries unfold in often-surprising ways, it is clear that there is a strong desire among Republican primary voters for change within the party. Sick of what Ted Cruz calls “the Washington Cartel” and of the “election conservatives” who managed for so long to convince voters they uphold conservative values and principles, Republican primary voters are taking a stand.
It began before Obama was elected, while President Bush was still in office, and has since only gained in strength and resolve, and the GOP establishment has been slow to notice or grasp what is happening.
They saw glimpses of it in the TEA Party in 2009 and ’10 and worked side-by-side with Democrats to diminish its influence, they may have noticed something was changing in the 2010 and 2014 mid-terms, they probably got a more clear picture when Eric Cantor (then House GOP whip) was booted out of office, and they started to pay attention when Speaker Boehner was also forced out. They thought they could handle it, though, so they plowed ahead . . . pushing Jeb Bush as the next in line for the presidency, and that’s when things started to go so terribly wrong for the GOP establishment that they are finally sitting up and taking notice.
According to The New York Times, Republican “leaders” are now deeply concerned about a long-term split in the party, one that will not be repaired with the usual smoke, mirrors, promises, and lies. They find this worrying.
The Republican Party is facing a historic split over its fundamental principles and identity, as its once powerful establishment grapples with an eruption of class tensions, ethnic resentments and mistrust among working-class conservatives who are demanding a presidential nominee who represents their interests.
At family dinners and New Year’s parties, in conference calls and at private lunches, longtime Republicans are expressing a growing fear that the coming election could be shattering for the party, or reshape it in ways that leave it unrecognizable.
. . . . Rank-and-file conservatives, after decades of deferring to party elites, are trying to stage what is effectively a people’s coup by selecting a standard-bearer who is not the preferred candidate of wealthy donors and elected officials.
For those of us who still hold dear the quaint notion that those elected to office should be representatives of the people to Washington (and not vice versa), this point may seem a bit odd. After all, isn’t it their job–their duty–to represent the people who elected them, to keep the promises they make (over and over) on the election trail, to work for the people and not their own interests?
That deference appears to be waning, and it has Republican establishment figures concerned.
The NYT continues:
The issues animating grass-roots voters — opposition to immigration, worries about wages and discomfort with America’s fast-changing demographics — are diverging from and at times colliding with the Republican establishment’s interests in free trade, lower taxes, less regulation and openness to immigration.
“I haven’t seen this large of a division in my career,” said Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican first elected to Congress in 1982. “You probably have to go back to Ford versus Reagan in 1976. But that was only two people.”
There is indeed a great divide between Republican politicians in Washington and the people they were elected to represent.
The NYT reports:
The divide was evident at a recent Greenville, S.C., gathering of bankers and lawyers, reliable Republicans who shared tea and pastries and their growing anxieties about where their party is going. In a meeting room near the wooded shore of Furman Lake, the group of mostly older white men expressed concern that their party was fracturing over free trade, immigration and Wall Street. And they worried that their candidates — mainstream conservatives like Jeb Bush — were losing.
“It’s all really hard to believe that decades of Republican ideas are at risk,” said Barry Wynn, a prominent Bush donor at the meeting.
The strains on Republicanism are driven home by scenes like the 1,500 people who waited two hours in 10-degree weather on Tuesday night to see Mr. Trump campaign in Claremont, N.H. And the 700 who jammed the student center of an Iowa Christian college the same evening to hear Mr. Cruz. These crowds were full of lunch-bucket conservatives who expressed frustration with the Republican gentry.
Decades of Republican policies at risk? Like No Child Left Behind, the unfunded Medicare expansion, the “renewable fuel standard,” and a host of other big government, big spending policies? Compassionate conservatism, or as its been rebranded now, “reform conservatism” isn’t conservative at all (the main reason that President Bush’s numbers sunk to such lows toward the end of his second term). So yes, that brand of “conservatism” may well be at risk and with it, its proponents among the Republican establishment.
While the divide itself is nothing new, the trajectory of the 2016 Republican primary process is.
The NYT continues:
“The Republican Party has never done anything for the working man like me, even though we’ve voted Republican for years,” said Leo Martin, a 62-year-old machinist from Newport, N.H., who attended Mr. Trump’s Claremont rally. “This election is the first in my life where we can change what it means to be a Republican.”
This anger has transformed the quadrennial exercise of picking a Republican nominee into a referendum on the future of one of the country’s two enduring political parties. Patrick J. Buchanan, a Nixon and Reagan adviser who ran for the Republican nomination in 1992 and 1996 by stressing the economic and cultural concerns of working-class Americans, said these voters were roiling the party because they had “suffered long enough.”
It still remains to be seen whether or not things will change within the Republican party, but one thing the track record of the Republican establishment suggests is that if they make it through the primary process (i.e. an establishment candidate is nominated), and even if they don’t win the White House, it will be business as usual in Washington. This primary season will be chalked up as a minor rebellion of the great unwashed beaten back by their wiser elders . . . who long ago forgot their place.
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“The Republican Party has never done anything for the working man like me, even though we’ve voted Republican for years,”
Washington Politicians expected to represent the voters in their District/State? Impossible! How dare those peasants expect their voices to be represented! They don’t even have chummy cocktail parties in Georgetown…
“…are diverging from and at times colliding with the Republican establishment’s interests in free trade, lower taxes, less regulation and openness to immigration.”
Lower taxes and less regulation? On big business maybe but not for the hoi poli.
I have an idea. Lets return the Senate to the states by letting the legislatures pick their Senators as was originally intended in the Constitution. And then, allow only individuals (not business, PACs, or unions) living within that district and not registered to vote anywhere else to contribute the the campaign funds of Representatives. This diminishes the whip the big box donors and with the central committees out of the picture the Government again once becomes more representative of the People.
I’m not trying to challenge you on this, just asking for information. I’ve heard the suggestion before that we return selection of senators to the state legislators. Neal Boortz, retired talk show host, has pushed this for years.
What I don’t understand is why this would be better. Sometimes my state legislators seem like a bunch of clowns little better than Congress though at the moment, Georgia is still a Red state and the legislature is fairly conservative. That can change given the influx of people from the North and Midwest who like the lower taxes and real estate prices but otherwise want it to be just like the Blue state they came from.
My question is: why would I want to give away my vote to the clowns?
No system is perfect, because at the heart of every system are people and our eminent proclivities for corruption.
However, the sovereign states as states currently have NO voice in DC. The Founders originally gave the sovereign states as entities their own voice in the federal government through the Senate by having Senators beholden to their state legislatures. Instead of to their parties, patrons, or donor class.
Obamacare, for example, would NOT have passed if Senators listened to their state legislators, who KNEW the COST of this behemoth would fall to the states who could NOT afford it.
But Senators listened to a) their leadership (twisting arms behind closed doors) and b) the health insurance companies and others of the healthcare donor class who wanted their business to be government-mandated, thus creating an OBLIGATED market.
No, state-legislator-elected Senators is not a perfect system.
But it gives the sovereign states a voice to fight for their own sovereignty in EVERY area not enumerated for the federal government in the Constitution, and, in turn, for the people’s freedoms against said oppressive federal government.
Thank you hrh40, that is exactly the kind of answer I’d have given, but done more clearly and eloquently than I ever could have done.
As originally constituted, it was the role of the House to represent the people of the Federation; it was the role of the Senate to represent the States in the Federation. Accordingly, the members of the House were elected by the people, and the members of the Senate were elected by the States.
Having Senators elected by popular vote changed the dynamic of their representation, and they are no longer focused on their Constitutional role of advancing and protecting the interests of their State. We see them giving a pass on their duties of appointment confirmation, real involvement in foreign relations, Executive power usurpation by the Federal agencies, and so forth. The States would not have to be suing the Federal government so much if the Senators attended to their duties.
Would repeal of the 17th Amendment correct, or even improve, this? Hard to say, although there would be a dynamic change in picking a Senator when they only have to appeal to the majority of a seated legislature instead of an at-large populace. Frankly, I’d like to see the 17th Amendment repealed, with the added provision that the Senators’ salary, staff, and expenses be paid by the State treasuries instead of the Federal treasuries.
One last point to add to the others: The 17th A was added because of the perceived corruption. Now we see that the huge funding required for Senatorial campaigns also leads to corruption, big time corruption. The real difference is that you or I don’t have much impact on K street, but we could on our state legislatures if corruption began to get out of hand. It’s a much smaller and closer organization and more susceptible, I’d think, to a concerted citizen action that DC has proven to be.
They haven’t represented anyone except themselves. Under their watch, they have ignored the Constitution, accumulated massive debt, acted with no common sense or logic and continue to blame and make excuses for what is going on in DC while sticking us with the bill. We watched as they have ignored what we had to say about the ACA, stimulus, bailouts, illegal immigration, refugees and gov overreach. We’re being spied on by the NSA, scolded by the president, jerked around by politicians and bullied by the EPA, IRS, BLM and a whole host of other gov depts while the DOJ refused to indict criminals who are politicians. With a track record like that none of them should be employed and some should be labeled as traitor.
Nice of the NYT to trot out Pat Buchanan to show the Republican party elite the true horror of what it is facing and that it must be stopped NOW. At least they used his full name.
Just give them a pill.
Poison pill, preferably.
This is your friendly neighborhood Liberal reminding my Conservative friends the New York Times is not your friend, nor that of any Republican politician. Indeed, the New York Times would love to ruin the reputation of Republicans and deprive them of their constituents.
That. Is. The. Purpose. Of. Every. Single. Article.
If you buy into their BS, you will do yourself harm.
Ad hominem? The NYT cites here are just the messenger, impossible to read with one’s head in the sand. But the message is real and true, and hardly spoken solely by the NYT.
I don’t need the NYT to remind me how the GOP has failed, giving Obama everything he wanted in this latest round. Forget all the past failings. The GOP has been Democrat-Lite for too long, and now those faithful to the ideology of conservatism are leaving. Those who are faithful to the party…well, they’ll be writing in Jeb! on those ballots come November.
Excellent article, Ms. Fuzzy. You are a writer so good, I’m afraid LI will lose you.
I second that on the excellent article. Nice to read someone who “gets it”.
What if it hands this to the Democrat? Is it worth it?
Then again, maybe 4 more years will be necessary to get people to totally reject the progressive vision that defies human nature and experience.
They promise things they have no intention of delivering. They, like Democrats, run to the right of their actual positions. We keep voting for cuts, clean ups and reform. They only deliver raises, corruption and the status quo.
And they thought we would never catch on?
The old argument that a Republican, any Republican, is better than the alternative has lost any persuasive power it ever held. It turns out tame Republicans are even worse than the alternative. We get the same result and burn the brand in the bargain. So to hell with them all.
We must keep track on what these Candidates have voted for in the past. We must reject the phony that the party elitist have picked. That may be why so many voters don’t vote. We must change that and promote the right Candidates.
“For those of us who still hold dear the quaint notion that those elected to office should be representatives of the people to Washington..”
Really? Only the House of Representatives are supposed to be representative of the people to Washington. The Senate is supposed to be representative of the States to Washington, and the President is supposed to defend the Constitution and faithfully execute the laws of the Federation. Neither the Senate nor the Executive are supposed to be representative of the people to Washington. I’m surprised and disappointed to find such a contra-Federalism sympathy here.
And the judiciary views the Constitution as a road block. So NONE of the branches of our Government are working. Revolution lies down that road.
I’m sure that the group who fear this split more than anyone is not the GOPe but the consultant class who nurse at the teat of the donor class’ contributions to the campaigns.
If the base permanently takes a hike, there is no party left that can reasonably hope to make a credible showing.
I’ve said for a long time that we need to form a third party so that our votes have some meaning and unified, our bloc has strength.
Unless and until we do that, we’re nothing more than a reliable “minority” that gets shat upon election after election, and comes back for more.
I left the “plantation” in ’12.
Need I remind LI readers Sen. Cruz’ ACTIONS (voting) does NOT match his WORDS? Cruz (paid for by super pacs run by GOPe) is just more of the same….
Just a reminder.