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March 3, 2016
I’m a devout political junkie, as many of you know, but this year’s election has been very confusing to my narrow world view. I obviously missed the change in our thinking when socialism became a positive notion in many people’s mind. I would never have imagined that after eight years of Obama, and the state of the economy and our foreign policy, that our options for a new president would be either a rich liberal from New York or a billionaire semi-liberal from New York.
Denver caucus organizers had anticipated about 20% of people from their precincts would turn out and many more actually came. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
I live in Colorado, and I attended my precinct caucus meeting this Tuesday, as I’ve always done, expecting to vote for a candidate for president. I went in with a good idea of the candidates, but not a clear idea of who I was voting for. I knew who I liked, but my primary goal was to vote for someone who could win the nomination, which greatly narrowed the field, and one who could win the general election.
Sadly, those two things seem to be inversely related. I understand the anger the electorate feels toward the “establishment,” but went in thinking that winning the election was more important than sending a message.
Then we were told that the state committee in Colorado voted not to take a vote on Super Tuesday. Apparently, they didn’t want the delegates to the convention to be restricted by what party members actually believed! It was at that moment that I realized the appeal of Bernie and Donald; socialist and populist ideology aside, both candidates are simply the best options we have to “send a message” to the establishment.
I suppose it could be argued that the results show that Democrats are more pragmatic; they voted in large numbers for Bernie, but in the end they still want to have a chance at winning the election. Thus, they will advance Hillary, as deeply flawed as she might be.
Polls do show that the Republican base is angrier than the Democratic base. They certainly should be more frustrated as they have been losing mightily in D.C. Yet, I think if Republicans would have had a two-person race, they probably would have chosen to have a chance in the general election over sending a message. The large field and the lack of consensus created the situation where the Republican Party has essentially decided to give up the general election so that we can express our discontent with the “establishment.”
It makes no sense, from a logical standpoint. The court, Obamacare, the failed foreign policy of Obama, the march toward socialism and the path to fiscal insanity all will become largely irreversible. It could be argued that the Republican leadership is largely to blame and they almost certainly will get the message.
Sadly, the result will be a transformation of our country toward the European model, and most likely the death of conservatism in America politics, as has been the case around the world. The evangelical and Tea Party wings of the Republican Party will likely see their disappointment and frustration grow 10-fold, but when they do the post-mortem and determine what caused the fall of conservatism in America, it won’t be the media, an overreaching executive branch, the education system, immigration or even a liberal Supreme Court that was their downfall. The biggest culprit will be conservatives who lost sight of the ultimate goal.
Ironically, a minority with no real power regains political power by selling its soul to the party or group with power. So social or fiscal conservatives may someday regain a foothold in the political scene, but the cost will be total allegiance regardless of whether the group in control serves their ideology or not.
Political power or capital comes from the ability to affect election results. When that ability is lost, so is the power they might have held.
The opinions of Troy Marshall are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com and the Penton Agriculture Group.
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