Steve Bannon, the race-baiting, xenophobic, isolationist former Trump advisor has been on the warpath since leaving the White House earlier this year. He’s been flying around the country in his layered collared shirts supporting wacky candidates who enjoy the company of teenage girls or like to hang out with 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Bannon is attempting to remake Washington in his image. In fact, his disdain for the “establishment” has led him to claim he’s started a “season of war against the GOP establishment.”
I’m a proud member of the conservative, pragmatic, level-headed “establishment.” As long as Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, Sean Hannity and the lot attempt to take over the party I’ve voted with and worked hard to elect candidates for, they should know this: over my dead body.
Republicans have been the big tent party of moderates, fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, and libertarian-leaners. You’ve seen a lot more pro-choice Republicans in office over the years than you have pro-life Democrats. For every Ted Cruz, there was a Mark Kirk. For every Barry Goldwater, there was Nelson Rockefeller.
The troubling part is that candidates like Roy Moore and Kelli Ward don’t fall under any of the big tent categories you see above. They’re not just fiscally conservative, they advocate anarchy. They’re not just pro-life, they want to put women back in the 18th century.
We saw these kinds of candidates in 2010 and 2012. Remember Christine O’Donnell? She, who “dabbled” in witchcraft (she said this on TV) defeated moderate Congressman Mike Castle in the Delaware primary. Castle, who had been Lt. Governor, Governor and Delaware’s lone member of the House, was considered a lock, at best, or a formidable candidate, at least, to take a Senate seat in what had been given up by many in a “blue state.” O’Donnell, though, not so much. She ran to the extreme right and got creamed by Chris Coons by 17 points.
If people like Donald Trump, Kelli Ward, Roy Moore continue to take over the Republican party, we’ll find the GOP become the party of anarchy, against trade, and a nationalist foreign policy that lowers our standing, and strength, in the world. It will also make Republicans the permanent minority party.
I’m going to stay a Republican. I’m not running away. I’m going to work from the ground up to elect smart, ethical, compassionate, candidates who are willing to make progress. I’m going to have to fight the candidates from the right fringe, but I’m ready for it.
It’s a fight worth winning.
Patrick Pfingsten is an award-winning journalist, political consultant, and PR expert. You can find him on Twitter @pfingsten1 or email him at email@example.com.