No, this is not because of Donald Trump’s victories over the past few months, although it is certainly a reflection of them. It is because the media has succeeded in helping reelect every single RINO incumbent in every election cycle and most open races, including in this much-vaunted year of the outsider. The system is rigged, but not in the way Donald Trump claims; he is the recipient of the rigged system. It is rigged because anyone who is truly a smart and principled conservative will be destroyed in a primary – either overpowered by the media or the superior power, money or fame of the non-conservative candidate who almost always runs as a conservative outsider as well.
Almost two years ago, my friend Chris McDaniel, a man I helped recruit to run against Thad Cochran – a political fossil who needs no introduction to our readers – delivered a speech on the night he lost the runoff in which he declared, “there are millions of people that feel like strangers in their own party.” [Watch the full speech here] That was long before Donald Trump or Ted Cruzmattered. That was at a time when the Republican primary voters agreed with us on every issue, but the media and the establishment were able to successfully smear every last conservative candidate, allowing the political class to sweep every Senate race and every House race sans Dave Brat’s upset against Eric Cantor.
In 2016, a year when the GOP electorate is supposedly more anti-establishment than ever, every single RINO incumbent easily won reelection. Tonight, even in an open seat, Indiana voters nominated Todd Young for Senate, a man who embodies everything people are angry about. Young has a 56% Liberty Score®, supported amnesty and was one of Boehner’s most loyal bootlickers. Every other RINO incumbent House member was easily reelected. In the open seat to replace Todd Young in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, Trey Hollingsworth, a wealthy lifelong Democrat carpetbagger from Tennessee, won the election. He won by blanketing the airwaves with endless ads (a self-funder just like Trump!) and of course ran as a conservative, not a moderate. The only bright spot was the victory by conservative Jim Banks to replace Marlin Stutzman in Indiana’s 3rdCongressional District.
Consequently, we will likely fail to send a single conservative to the Senate this year, be unsuccessful in knocking off a single incumbent, and struggle to elect a few conservatives to open House seats.
At the same time voters in Indiana filled in the bubble for Donald Trump, they also filled in the bubble down ballot for Todd Young to be their next senator, giving a promotion to a man who embodies why people are supposedly voting for Trump in the first place.
This demonstrates that the entire primary process, built on name recognition and media narrative, is exclusively about the man most covered and most supported by the media or the man with the most money to buy the election. They run on our issues and get the media to bury our candidates with endless smears. Sadly, enough voters buy into it. Then they get into office and proceed to repudiate every campaign promise.
This is not just happening at a federal level. State GOP parties are in even worse shape. Just take a look at Georgia Governor Nathan Deal who has majorities in both houses of the state legislature and is vetoing religious freedom and gun legislation. Republicans across the country refuse to hold the line against even the most extreme ideas of the far-left, yet are continuously reelected or elected for the first time under false pretenses.
We are strangers in our own party – not because the voters don’t agree with us on the issues – but because those who disagree with us in private have the power to manipulate the electorate in public every time. No candidate is perfect and some conservative candidates make mistakes, but so do the others. The difference is the media serves as a missile defense system against our attacks on their guys and as a delivery system for their attacks on our candidates.
I’ve seen too many good men run for We the People only to be savaged and dehumanized by their opponents and the media. The media running with the scandalous and brain dead meme of “Lyin’ Ted” is nothing new and no different from what I saw when McConnell successfully labeled Matt Bevin as “Bailout Bevin” and when Bryan Smith (running against Mike Simpson in Idaho) was successfully tainted as a “liberal trial lawyer.” These people, cheered on by the media, engage in the most grotesque form of projection and destroy our candidates, but they never beat us on the issues. Quite the contrary, they run on our issues.
From years’ of experience in primaries I can tell you that this dynamic will never change until the process is made more in line with representative republicanism through some hybrid convention system and less of a pure popular vote. It would be one thing if Donald Trump were winning and incumbents were simultaneously dropping like rocks. Such a scenario would demonstrate that voters are truly on to the establishment artifice, albeit roped into the media’s sensation over Trump. The fact that Trump is winning even as every establishment candidate is winning exposes this election cycle as a replica of every election cycle – principled guys finish last because the media will ensure that outcome.
The good news is we are still winning on the issues and will continue exposing fraudulent legislation and fraudulent legislators. We will continue fighting for sovereignty, security, the civil society, property rights, free markets and religious liberty. We will continue operating as a third party within the Republican Party, fighting for our voluminous ideas and systemic changes to this rigged system. And just like voters have come to realize the truth about people like Thad Cochran, Mitch McConnell, and Pat Roberts, they will understand very soon where things are headed in this election.
As Mark Twain said, “In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.