Yesterday, the Republican Party gasped its final breath as Ted Cruz, the candidate I named in my last article as the only remaining viable option in the party, dropped out of the 2016 race for the GOP nomination. Rand Paul supporters had for months been disparaging this man’s campaign for no other tangible reason other than the fact that he wasn’t Rand Paul. I criticized this idle purism at the time, and I implicate it now as the cause for Cruz’s narrow-but-meaningful losses in votes and delegates that ultimately left Trump just enough in the lead to count Cruz’s campaign as done for in Indiana. Congratulations to those #StillRanding – you got your wish. Cruz will not be the Republican nominee. I hope you prefer Trump, because Cruz was the only person standing between you and the aforementioned quasi-fascist tycoon. I for one, however, do not prefer Trump to anything but cancer. But now I’m just being redundant.
And I can’t help but trust that plenty of people still voting members of the Republican Party do agree with me. For years I defended the GOP’s voter base as being just as multifaceted and human as the Democrats – even as those around me continued to generalize them all as ignorant, hateful bigots. But the Trump campaign has gone a long toward significantly weakening my defense. After all, the majority of Republican voters are getting Trump big wins in the caucus and delegate states, not to mention showing overwhelming majority support in all the polls. So perhaps it is time for me to amend my prior position on the everyday Republican: Most of them are at the very least complicit with supporting a monster, and many of them seem enthusiastically bold about doing so. Yet there is clearly a portion of those registered Republican that is large enough to give Trump a run for his money – for a time. But that portion is not large enough to ultimately sway the vote.
This should be seen as a significant revelation to anyone who is paying attention, and a red flag for those still among the R ranks who are historically literate and even moderately empathetic: the Republic Party as we all know it no longer exists. It has died. Not because of Trump alone, but because of all those who stood by and allowed Trump to happen. Anyone who ever allowed his/her personal biases on religion, gender, sex, race, etc. to stifle them as Trump kept on saying “what we are all really thinking” should take a long look in the mirror and consider what a monumental blow he/she helped deal to true liberty in this country – something conservatives claim to still care about.
Back in 2012, there still seemed to be a chance of saving that version of the GOP. But we live on very strange times, now, and 2015-2016 has reportedly been a miserable year-and-a-half for almost everyone, whether it be anecdotal accounts of personal grief, grand, sweeping losses in the entertainment industry, and yes, even the unreal usurping of an entire political party at the hands of a reality TV and real estate mogul, who is clearly playing a character, but to whom everyone gave the keys to the bus, anyway. Literally nothing is impossible at this point, and we therefore need to take seriously the next course of action when it comes to the remaining actual conservatives in the Republican Party who refuse to to support Trump and see him for the cancer that he is.
Up until this election, I had seen the death of the GOP as inexorable, but anticipated it would be gradual and almost surreptitious. I had allowed for two possibilities of how it would ultimately happen: either the constitutionalists and libertarians within the party would change the party from within, in order that it restructure without losing its outward veneer, or, it would implode and the Libertarian Party would come along to take its place as one of the two viable political parties. Now that I’ve been proven wrong regarding the speed at which at happened, and we are now seeing poll after poll with substantial, double-digit percentages of people who say they would be willing to vote third party if Trump and Hillary both snagged their respective nominations, I am now more than ever convinced that the latter scenario is the one most likely to occur.
What does this mean for people in the liberty movement? It means for the first time in decades we actually have a shot at having real political influence. We need to stop acting like philosophers and start behaving like activists. We need to reach out to all the disenfranchised voters right now, because the time has never been better to truly change things and introduce both Democrats and Republicans to a new political party – one that has already been covered extensively in new and old media in the wake of Trump and Clinton – and be as welcoming and inclusive as possible. Enough nitpicking, enough infighting – this is our time. If we blow it now, when things are so tumultuous and ripe for the picking, then we will likely never see another day of real influence in our lifetimes. And we will have only ourselves to blame.
Rand and Cruz supporters, bury the hatchet and join forces. Now is the time for action. The Grand Old Party is dead, But a grand new party could rise. The question is, will we show what we’re made of and actually make it happen?
Conservative author Joshua Charles, a man I respect but agree with personally on very little, once recanted to me his following year-and-a-half-old quote that I now have no choice but to concede:
“It is quite possible that we are seeing the death of the modern conservative movement taking place right before our eyes. Just because something is moving violently does not mean it is not merely taking its last gasp. In fact, that could quite possibly be why it moves so violently at all.”
Prophetic words indeed, sir. Maybe we do, in some sense, live in the end times after all.