I have been pondering the different factions within the Virginia Republican Party. We banter about terms like RINO (Republican in Name Only) and Conservative along with the sub terms like Social Conservative and Fiscal Conservative to presumably identify the “brand” of Conservative we are dealing with. And to confuse things even further, we have made up types of Conservative like “Compassionate Conservatism” and “Common Sense Conservatism”.
And what is a “Moderate” Republican? The term moderate is defined as average in amount, intensity, quality, or degree. I guess that is like “Jumbo Shrimp” and other oxymorons. The term depends on where the person uttering the term stands, or thinks he stands, in relation to the overall philosophy of the Republican Party.
In truth, someone self describing as a Moderate Republican is actually admitting that they are more liberal than the Party. But this description is actually an attempt to say that the Republican Party is too right wing, but I am more of a centrist (or left). People who call themselves “moderates” are actually part of the more liberal end of the Republican Political spectrum.
In a number of discussions with the influx of newly minted Republican voters who have been brought in by the phenomenon that is Donald Trump, what they see within the party is a ball of confusion when it comes to identifying where they fit into the GOP family. They are confused by the wild labels that the Party itself hangs on Trump. Is he a Democrat like some say? Is he a “moderate”? A liberal? A Hillary fan intent on handing over the election to her?
These new Republican voters see Trump as the guy that cuts through all of the bullshit. The guy that looks at America’s problems, sees the same obvious solutions that these people have been looking at for years and the guy that points out the madness at the rest of the politicians ignoring the answers that are so obviously plain to see. To anyone willing to eschew Political Correctness, at least.
I have good news for these new Trump inspired Republicans. You are the heart and soul of what it truly means to be a Republican. Not what the party has become, but the true standard bearer for the America that the Republican Party used to cherish and treasure. You are not in this for greed, power, or even Party. Your objective is fixing the damage done to this country by BOTH parties.
So when Republicans call you names, feel free to ignore them. For what Donald Trump ignited in your heart is what it is supposed to mean to be a Republican. A true Republican Creed following Republican:
That the free enterprise system is the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice,
That all individuals are entitled to equal rights, justice, and opportunities and should assume their responsibilities as citizens in a free society,
That fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints must be exercised at all levels of government,
That the Federal Government must preserve individual liberty by observing Constitutional limitations,
That peace is best preserved through a strong national defense,
That faith in God, as recognized by our Founding Fathers is essential to the moral fiber of the Nation.
And if you read these words, really read these words, you will understand how the GOP and America has lost their way. You begin to understand that words like “Conservative” have lost their meaning as the word has been usurped by 3 of the 5 divisions of the Virginia GOP, who only toss the word “conservative” around to benefit themselves or fool the voters. Conservative is defined as holding to traditional attitudes and values and cautious about change or innovation, typically in relation to politics or religion. So there is no “progressive” Conservative. No “moderate” Conservative. No “fiscal only” Conservative. And a Social Conservative is someone that is mainly concerned with social issues like abortion and homosexuality to the exclusion of other issues. And the people that try to say they are Fiscally Conservative and Socially Liberal (or moderate) are nothing more than an agent for change to liberal values and more government. Another oxymoron. You can’s be a Fiscal Conservative and a Social Liberal. They are mutually exclusive.
And each of the factions to the left and right of the True Republican position lay claim that they are the “true” conservatives.
So let’s take a look at the five Divisions of the Virginia GOP.
Going from the ideological left to the far right extremists, we have “Republicans In Name Only” or RINO’s, “GOP Establishment” or GOPe, Traditional (True) Republicans, Evangelicals and the far right extreme of the Party, the Christian Taliban.
I show these as circles and you will note that there is some overlap. It is worth noting that this overlap varies in numbers and intensity and depends largely on the candidates themselves and any potential “deals”.
In America, we essentially pretend we are a two party system with a couple of minor third parties that are mostly irrelevant. Anyone that follows politics in other countries is aware that our “two party system” is almost unique. In Great Britain there are 16 Major parties and dozens of minor ones. They tend to define these parties politically as far left, left, center left, center, center right, right, far right (and a couple more identifiers tossed in for good measure). We essentially have the same thing here, we just tend to lump a bunch of them together and call them left and right, or Democrat and Republican. And after the election, if no one has a clear majority, they wheel and deal until they put together a coalition that forms a majority and then they dominate. Sometimes you see far left wing groups unite with the far right to manage a greater than 50% ruling party.
But we actually have the same thing within each of the major parties. We pretend we have a monolithic pair of parties, but we really have (at least) 5 on the right, and the left, they are probably completely uncountable. Every minority group, every sexual group, environmental groups, and on and on. Democrats are basically dozens of groups of single issue voters who all play the victim card under one banner.
And Republicans have a more common bond between all of their groups, but the GOP is not nearly as good as the Democrats at uniting disparate groups of people who are only looking for power and redress for their “perversion of the day” potpourri. Democrats are skillful at uniting pro life black pastors with abortionists and Atheists. But the Republicans, it seems, cannot even unite Baptists and Methodists.
So let’s look at each group individually.
Republicans in Name Only (RINO’s)
You hear the RINO slur tossed around by various people who have absolutely no idea what the term means. It is quite simple. The term means a Democrat pretending to be a Republican. This is the far left wing of the party and they are always advocating bipartisanship and “reaching across the aisle” for the American people. As we will discuss in the next section, others push bipartisanship, but only when their goals require Democrats to achieve. RINO’s are just fundamentally more aligned with Democrats than the Republicans they pretend to be.
There are various reasons a Democrat would pretend to be a Republican. A long time (decades) Hanover Republican Supervisor served as a Republican and when he had a Republican primary challenger, he ran as an Independent. After losing he joined the Democrat party. The reason is, Democrats have a hard time winning in Hanover County.
Another reason Democrats would run as Republicans is if they live in a very liberal area and are too weak a candidate to win a primary as a Democrat. These RINO’s often find a lot of GOP assistance from party officials who place party above principle. i.e. The Establishment Republicans.
Examples of RINO’s are people like John McCain and Lindsey Graham.
Establishment Republicans (GOPe)
Often confused with RINO’s, Establishment Republicans are actually Republicans, but their concern is not for governance or the betterment of the American people. They are in it for the money and the power. They will do or say whatever it takes to win. they are quite devious and have become masterful at fooling the people back home into believing they are “conservative” and they are often the authors of “show vote” bills that have no chance of passing, but allow them to raise money and go back home and crow about how many times they voted to defund Obamacare, or other similar issues.
But there is nothing even remotely conservative about the GOPe.
They call for “comprehensive” immigration reform that includes a “path to citizenship” for those who illegally occupy our country and pretend it is not amnesty. They are funded by the US Chamber of Commerce and Big Business and Big Banks. One of the best examples in Virginia was Eric Cantor. He had a list of promises he recited to people back home and a list of achievements that was nothing but fake “show votes” designed to fail. He voted to fund every program Obama ever put in place like Obamacare, amnesty, abortion, etc. And while his left hand was caving in to the lucrative lobbyist cash, his right hand was holding up one failed vote after another.
GOPe’ers are perfectly fine with losing their majority as long as they hold on to some power. And money.
These people fear Donald Trump because he has promised to end this gravy train and mass deception perpetrated on the public for so long. This is the reason that people like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have done as little as possible to prevent Hillary from becoming President. They actually prefer Clinton because she plays the same game they do. Money and power. Trump is the agent of change, and people like Obama, Clinton, even Romney and McCain are all establishment politicians.
If this should end for them, the main money players, the US Chamber of Commerce and Big Business and Big Banks would have no reason to donate to them, nor would they have the ability to have these same people withhold money from politicians they wish to punish. They would actually have to work to raise money, something most of them are not willing to do.
This is corruption on steroids, but these same people write the laws. So they can easily get by with this because they either exempt themselves from the laws the rest of us must follow, or they make the laws so complicated that they will be overturned if they ever, somehow, got a conviction.
Traditional (True) Republicans
The first two groups, RINO’s and GOPe, are driven by greed, money and power. The Traditional (True) Republicans are the first group we come to that is not in this for the money or the power. They are actually concerned with the Constitution and the country they will leave their children and descendants. They are not usually drawn to run for office, but when they are, they are often ostracized by the establishment and undermined at every turn. Remember the campaign Eric Cantor ran against Dave Brat? With Cantor clearly in the GOPe camp and Brat standing with one foot in the Traditional GOP and the other in the Evangelical camp (next up) Cantor assaulted the airwaves calling Brat a “Liberal College Professor”.
Now, after 2 years in Congress, Dave Brat has been the solid Conservative Cantor only pretended to be. He has kept every promise and has been a steady vote for true Conservatism, not the “Common Sense” brand of Conservatism Cantor practiced. We now see that the “Common Sense” part was where Cantor reached out to the big money players and grabbed the cash and gave them what they wanted, while deceiving his constituents.
This is the first of the two groups that is actually Conservative.
Most of the people already in the GOP that supported Donald Trump from the beginning fall into this category. Trump appeals to the heart and soul of the Party. While some may have initially supported someone else, they transitioned easily to the Trump train and are excited about his presidency.
The newly minted Republicans who are now GOP supporters because of Trump fall into this category. They only seek an end to the games played by the establishment Republicans and the Democrats who have put this country into a financial hole we may never dig our way out of. Their real preference is to go back to their daily lives and let the government run itself, but they have become aware of the corruption and greed that transcends party lines and know they need to right the ship.
There are Church going Christians all across the GOP, but the Evangelicals are a more vocal and visible type of Christian. Obviously, there are a number of areas of deep concern for Evangelicals. Things like abortion and homosexuality are two of the top concerns for most Evangelicals. You will often find them at or even leading protests and lobbying efforts against both abortion and homosexuality. Many of the smaller issues that many others in the GOP concern Evangelicals, but to a much lesser degree than the liberal social agenda type issues.
Evangelicals once voted in a block with most of them in complete lockstep. But this year, Evangelicals baffled the press and the polls as they split from the Evangelical choice of Ted Cruz and many voted for Donald Trump. Leaving the pundits scratching their heads. And they offered many opinions as to why this happened, ranging from Cruz was just unlikable to Trump fooled them. But I believe that the truth lies somewhere else. Many Evangelicals, just like Traditional Republicans, are tired of being fooled and tired of being lied to. And they look to Trump as the way to end the Establishment game of looking out for themselves. And they see Donald Trump as the man that can be a game changer. In addition, many of these folks have determined that in the US at this time, far right Evangelical candidates are un-electable. The majority of the country are no longer Christians who have the numbers to put an often scary far right winger in office.
And so the Evangelical votes that Cruz was counting on never materialized as many decided Trump was a better choice to actually make a difference. Trump recognizes the war against Christians and promised to put an end to it. Perhaps when given the choice between an un-electable right wing Senator more suited to television evangelism and a man who promises to end the war on Christians and end the Establishment and elitists choke hold on the nation’s throat, Trump’s plans are something real and tangible. And at least for now a good place to start.
Other Evangelicals did initially go for Cruz, but have now joined the Traditional Republicans and the others who are supporting Trump.
And other than the Traditional Republicans, this is the only other group that is actually conservative.
Before the recent GOP Presidential Primary, it wasn’t clear just how severe a chasm existed within the Evangelical camp. Most are thinking, reasonable people who believe that their Biblical beliefs are more important than anything else. But they are also practical and understand that all men are not perfect, and no matter Trump’s perceived or actual flaws, Hillary Clinton would be devastating to Christians and America. Her Supreme Court nominees alone would abolish not only the second amendment, but the first as well. And many others. And while Muslims would be excepted, Christians and Jews would persecuted for even speaking their beliefs because it will be deemed “hate speech”.
But not the Christian Taliban. These are the hard core Trump haters who followed Ted Cruz as a cult. They obsess on every imagined flaw that the mainstream media and the Cruz people made up along with the real flaws.
These are the same people that embarrassed Virginia at the National Convention demanding roll call votes for their rule changes designed to garner more power to the power brokers who know how to slate and thwart Conventions.
These people have written that the terrorist who opened fire on the Gay Nightclub in Orlando was “doing God’s work” to murder the gay (or as they like to call them Sodomites) patrons.
Frankly, these people are no different in my eyes than the Islamic Taliban we see throwing homosexuals off of roofs and hanging them from trees and gallows.
And these people are the #NeverTrump instigators who are even now doing all they can to elect Hillary Clinton in hopes of electing Ted Cruz in 2020. So complete is their hatred that they are willing to give up the Supreme Court for the next few generations to push a candidate that will never be elected in this country.
The Christian Taliban are more of a danger to America than the Progressives and Socialists and Communists that make up the Democrat Party. While they believe that they are the only true conservatives, there is nothing conservative about this particular brand of fanaticism. The Christian Taliban are the people who lose elections because of their insane extremist views. They alienate most in the party that do not subscribe to their “Hate in God’s Name” philosophy.
I quite imagine that this is the same philosophy that let to the Salem Witch Trials and the Draconian abuses done in the name of Christ throughout history. We need to recognize this dangerous group and ensure that their ways are never the ways of the Republican Party.
These are also the “sore losers” who will never support a candidate that is not part of their cult.
Rino’s, Establishment GOP, Traditional Republicans, Evangelicals and the Christian Taliban. What an amalgamation of impossible bedfellows all claiming the banner of Conservatism. Yet only the Traditional Republicans and the Evangelicals are truly Conservative.
The Republican Party is only as strong as their weakest link. And the link that the press uses to sully us all are the Christian Taliban. And there is no good answer to the charges. The Christian Taliban exude hatred and intolerance from a very dark place in their souls that is decidedly not Christian. I am thankful that Ted Cruz acted like a Taliban magnet to expose and draw out the crazies on the far right extreme portion of the Party. Before this primary it was hard to distinguish the Evangelicals from the Taliban. But we now know the truth.
There is a place in the GOP for Christians. And there must be. But the Taliban the the types of candidates they push are never going to be elected in Virginia in any statewide or national office. And as Republicans we ought to recognize and reject their extremist views. And until we deal with this threat and purge them from the ranks of the GOP, we can never be seen as a party of reasonable and patriotic Americans. We will continue to be branded by the left and the media as a bunch of extremists and until we push the Christian Taliban radical beliefs from this small portion of the Party, we are doomed to fade into oblivion.
The future of the Party is not through the Rino’s, who are really Democrats. Nor is our future with the Establishment GOP that has allowed themselves to be stooges for the corrupt influences of the US Chamber of Commerce and big Corporations. And, obviously, the Christian Taliban are not the answer.
We must work to draw Candidates from the ranks of the True Republicans and the Evangelicals who seek the America our nation’s founders envisioned.
This nation is quickly slipping away to corruption and intolerance. And time is short.