It happens every election cycle within the Republican Party. Instead of spending the course of the general election attempting to convince non-believers that their ship is the smoothest sailing, they instead opt to demonize anyone who will not join them in towing the party line. It happened in 2008, when a number of people refused to vote for Senator John McCain. Supporters of Libertarian Bob Barr and Constitutionalist Chuck Baldwin were demonized for not voting for Senator McCain. Why would Libertarians vote for a man who wants to violate the Constitution and continue undeclared occupations? Why would Constitutionalists? It doesn’t make any sense. But this is the logic of the Republicans who refuse to face the truth about their poor nomination choices.
2000 saw the election of an individual who campaigned on non-interventionism, the idea that we should not be policing the world and ruling others by force. George W. Bush, the Texas Governor who won a controversial election, was chosen by his own party for his stances, such as these. He won. And again. Although it is now known in hindsight that the story of his presidency was anything but non-interventionist, it speaks volumes that it was on these views opposing war he got elected. But why wouldn’t Governor Bush oppose liberal intervention abroad? It was President Bill Clinton’s thing and Al Gore was determined to continue the policy as President.
2008 lacked the confidence that 2000 did in a new candidate. Republicans were weary of the nominee, who somehow locked up enough delegates to secure the ticket. His jokes of “bomb-bomb-bomb Iran” turned off people and his willingness to disregard the Constitution pushed away principled voters. Senator McCain is a strong supporter of the USA PATRIOT Act, as well as any other power grab that violates the Constitution. Beyond that point, his entire personal political platform is contrary to that which won in 2000. So why would Republicans want to unite behind that? Why would Independents even consider it? Everybody knows Democrats didn’t give crossing over much of a thought.
2012 saw more tension internally as the Republican establishment attempted to steamroll over the grassroots and drag their trampled corpses to the finish line just to acquire their vote. It was clear early on that voters could get excited about Congressman Ron Paul and his libertarian appeal, or businessman Herman Cain, for his outsider appeal. But who got excited about Mitt Romney, the wooden soundbite guy who was as uninspiring as he was four years prior? This was the bright idea the Republican establishment had in mind.
To be clear, this is not to say that Mitt Romney is a bad man, or that even Senator McCain is. This is not personal. But politically, these two lack the inspirational aspect that is necessary for candidates to win major elections. Without a certain spark for the grassroots, nothing is going to catch fire. A campaign will sit dead in the water. Instead of fixing the mistake of 2008, which was a major failure, the Republican Party opted to give the same method a shot. What was Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, again?
The Republican Party has a very serious problem on it’s hands. There has been an identity crisis for some time, with a number of factions internally competing for control. It has slowly found its way into the open over this election cycle, and now after the end failure, it is fully exposed. But rather than address the reasons why people refused to side with the Republican Party, many regular Republicans instead opt to just demonize the Gary Johnson voters. What’s that going to fix? Unless the members of the party reassess the last decade and seriously give reconsideration to what their electoral strategy has been on the federal level, then the Republican Party will fade into obscurity. Gary Johnson joins Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin as well-known presidential scapegoats for Republican failures, but if this trend continues any further, the Republicans will be joining the Whigs in the forgotten part of American political history.