“[Moses] spoke to the congregation saying, ‘Please get away from the tents of these wicked men, and do not touch anything of theirs, lest you perish because of all their sins.’” ~Numbers 16:26
This Bible verse speaks to the endangered species of conservatives in Congress just as much as it did to the Israelites over three thousand years ago. It is apparent not only that conservatives have no hope for good policy outcomes if they continue to caucus with the Republican Party, but also that they will also risk losing their own seats because of an agenda that they oppose anyway. The time for declaring independence is now.
Most of conservative media has already moved on from the spectacular political adultery of last week’s budget betrayal, built on top of an entire year of endless betrayals from GOP leaders. They are all focused on responding to the gun control agenda espoused at the “March for Life.” But what purpose does it serve to fight the Left when we don’t have a Right that is providing an alternative vision on guns or any other issue? The spending betrayal bill included gun provisions that violate every tenet of what was once a universal GOP principle.
Sure, it’s important to combat the Left’s dangerous lies about guns and public safety, but what’s the point of having raucous fans in the bleachers while the team on the field is throwing the ball in the opposite direction? We must win the fight for our own movement and our own party before we can fight the Left.
If you consider yourself a conservative member of Congress, by now you should be asking what the purpose is of serving in that body any longer. But if you deciding to run for re-election, you must ask yourself two important questions: Why are you running, and how will you ensure victory, even in a relatively safe Republican seat, if you continue to get tainted by the sins of the establishment – of both parties?
The only answer to both questions is to disengage from this bog, declare independence, and broadcast a new message and vision to voters. For far too long, we’ve avoided pursuing a new party because it is impossible to create new ground in one election cycle. But it doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. To that end, it’s time for grassroots activists fed up with both parties to pursue a new movement, and it’s time for members of Congress who still believe in our founding principles to break away and help lead that movement. Here’s how that would look:
1) Secede from the GOP Conference: Republicans use our conservative platform for votes. We will use their ballot access for our issue platform. Members of the Freedom Caucus, members the Conservative Opportunity Society, a few members of the Republican Study Committee, and the few conservative GOP senators should officially secede from the GOP conference while still seeking the GOP nomination – just for ballot access. They should not attend party meetings; they should not take any party money; they should not raise money for the party.
The biggest pushback I’ve heard from members when I suggest such an idea is that they are scared of losing their seats. Well, at this point, what is the purpose of winning, anyway? Moreover, a number of even “safe” members will find themselves swept up in the tsunami if they fail to distinguish themselves from the party in identity, messaging, and agenda. Also, for this election cycle, it’s too late to file a primary challenge in most states, which is why Republicans waited until now to pass the omnibus. Why not use this reality against the party establishment and secede after it’s too late for them to challenge our guys, just like they waited for the omnibus until it was too late for us to challenge their incumbents?
2) A new vision: As I noted earlier this month, these members should create their own contract with America in the form of a taxpayer and consumer bill of rights for the forgotten citizens of this country. Ditch the trite promises of “cutting spending” and “repeal Obamacare” for a broader and more powerful message that is both foundational and specific. Some ideas include:
Each principle should have specific ideas that speak to the issues of our time as well as the issues that are important but ignored. Shout these principles and ideas from the rooftop as if you are out of power – because you truly are out of power.
3) The Forgotten Citizens PAC: Once they secede from the GOP Conference, they should start their own political action committee that will not only promote the values and incumbents behind the taxpayer’s bill of rights, but endorse candidates against incumbents and in open seats who sign on to it. It’s time for conservatives to take it to the next level and quash the fear of endorsing against sitting colleagues. They should host an event with all the candidates willing to sign the contract on April 15 at the steps of the Capitol. And then direct PAC funds to those candidates. This is the only way to separate the frauds from those genuinely seeking public service in the primaries and to secure enough reinforcements for next year.
4) A shadow government: Conservatives have been kicked off all the important committees. Besides, nothing important happens on those committees other than more political arson. Plus, Republicans have already announced the end of a legislative agenda for the year…in March. As such, conservatives should sideline Congress and hold their own field hearings across the country, addressing the true causes of the problems we have with health care, drugs, immigration, education, separation of powers, corruption in government, an aimless foreign policy and use of the military, and other issues concerning consumers and taxpayers.
Rather than rely on the vacuous “professional” conservative groups to give testimony, they should draw upon the expertise of people in the private sector. Every day, through my podcast, articles, and research, I find people who are not involved directly in public policy but have incisive ideas and insights into the most vexing policy challenges. This is where my idea about citizen task forces comes into play. As I discussed at the end of Friday’s show, we should form citizen task forces with expertise in various fields to expose the corruption in our government and how government is the cause of some of the core problems while offering a list of solutions. The Left has its A team in politics; we have our A team outside politics. We should circumvent the political system to make their voices heard.
If government is not working for us, it’s time we use the ubiquitous platforms of modern information dissemination to get out the truth. It will not come from Washington. The question is whether the few remaining conservatives in Washington will help lead this bottom-up movement.
There is no simple panacea for what ails our political system; there is no silver bullet to compensate for years of complacency. But a plan to disentangle from the current system is the only viable way of creating momentum and movement for a new party in the long run. It takes a new movement to start a new party, but it takes a new party to build that movement; otherwise it just gets sucked into the black hole of the GOP. By taking known elected Republicans and essentially declaring independence, we can jump-start both. Eventually, many of these members should at least be able to run as Independents, if not on a specific new party line.
Even if one feels this won’t work in the long run, we must all agree that in the short run we should be doing this anyway. Why suffer defeat in an election under the false pretense of being a part of the failed ruling power when everything that is happening is antithetical to our views anyway?
One thing is certain: The status quo is worthless and will destroy the good with the bad come November. We can either live or die on our own principles or die for the other side’s principles — as well as being forced to discuss Stormy Daniels from now until November.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.