Political Strategy

I Might Abandon the GOP in 2016

Why have conservatives and right-leaning libertarians made so little progress since 2009?

Consider that the GOP was written off for dead following the 2008 election. Republicans disappeared from the press. When a Republican popped up on a Sunday talk show, he was talking about compromise and getting along.

Then the Tea Party happened, and all of a sudden the GOP’s testes descended. But after two off-year wave elections that gave the GOP their largest majorities since Hoover, the GOP seems poised to double down on the crony capitalist, elitist policies and candidates that got them tossed out of Washington in 2006 and 2008.

If conservatives and right-leaning libertarians gave the GOP its spine, why isn’t the GOP using it?

Simple. Republican party leaders work to increase their own personal power. They want to take power from you and me and use it for their personal benefit.

I can’t say I blame. I mean, that’s precisely what we want to do, isn’t it? We want to wrestle power away from Washington and use it ourselves. We echo William F. Buckley who wrote in Up From Liberalism:

I will not cede more power to the state. I will not willingly cede more power to anyone, not to the state, not to General Motors, not to the CIO. I will hoard my power like a miser, resisting every effort to drain it away from me. I will then use my power as I see fit.

Our problem with the modern Republican Party is that its candidates pretend they’re on our side in the battle of personal power. But they’re not. They’re on their own side. This isn’t a two-way war between us and Washington; it’s a guerre a trois between us, Washington, and the GOP.

The reason we’re losing ground is our weak tactics. When the shooting starts every two years, we take bullets for the Republicans. When they win, they leave on the battlefield to bleed out.

The alternative is to make the game more interesting. Here’s how.

Even if all the principled conservatives and right-leaning libertarians banded together, we could not elect third party candidate. But we could deny Republicans the win.

The only way for that to work is to make a strong early commitment and stick to it. Which is what I am doing in this post. I am declaring that I will not cast a Republican vote in any race in 2016 if the GOP nominates Jeb Bush as it’s candidate for President.

Some will urge me to vote Republican for office like governor. Nope. None.

If the GOP nominates Bush, I’m pulling a Libertarian ballot in the primary and voting straight Libertarian or Constitution Party ballot in November.

The down-ticket candidates provide a lot of support and cover to the party’s up-ticket candidates. Jeb Bush would look a lot less tolerable to Tom Schweich and John Hancock if his nomination meant another Democrat governor and losses in the Missouri General Assembly.

If enough voters committed to voting third party (or staying home) were Bush nominated, state parties throughout the country would distance themselves from Bush.

Bush has all the money locked up.The only way to stop his nomination is to make that nomination a sure defeat for the GOP nationally and in the states. It’s a recognition that we’re in a three-way war for power. it’s telling the establishment that we’re crazy enough to point our weapons at the side most likely to surrender to us.

So there’s my plan. If the candidate’s Bush, I walk. And I’ll work against ever Republican on my ballot.


Author: William Hennessy

Co-founder of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and Nationwide Chicago Tea Party Persuasive design expertLatest book: Turning On Trump: An Evolution (2016)Author of The Conservative Manifest (1993), Zen Conservatism (2009), Weaving the Roots (2011), and Fight to Evolve (2016)I believe every person deserves the dignity of meaningful work as the only path to human flourishing.

19 Comments on “I Might Abandon the GOP in 2016

  1. Well, the split here is obvious, though disappointment is universal. I refuse to kill ourselves with such a split. To me the answer is the compromise: take over the R.s and spoil the establishment’s grip. We have a very good, yet certainly imperfect advance on this, and if I was in an army in this situation, I WOULD NOT SURRENDER ! How foolish it would be to do so. Patience IS a virtue! I can be just as patient as the progressives have been to get us here. Progressives unite as well, no matter what, mostly. They love splitting their enemies in two. There is no need to give them that victory.There is NO guarantee the grass is greener on the other side of this battle. I am sticking this thing out to the finish, not curling my tail between my legs, even if I risk my life.
    Please, let’s unite and give this everything we’ve got! Jees!

  2. I will never cast my vote for Jeb Bush, or any other politician who is not proven to be a Constitutional Conservative. If a politician can’t prove their Constitutional Conservatism, they don’t get my vote, even if I have to abstain from voting in any or all races. I’m sick and tired of voting AGAINST certain candidates. I want people to vote FOR in elections.

  3. I’m not on board on this suicidal mission, but I believe it won’t matter. I don’t think Bush will win the nomination. If Scott Walker doesn’t self-destruct, I think he will be the nominee.

  4. I have decided I will not vote for Jeb Bush if he gets the nomination. In my mind he is no different then Hillary Clinton. He is so confident that he is snubbing conservatives this early in the game. Lets see him win without us. I hoped Blunt and Wagner would get a primary challenge so far not so. I will not be voting for those two either.

  5. I agree that voting for a “Jeb Bush” in 2016 it would be a big mistake. Conservative voters (notice I didn’t say Republican) need to have courage and conviction rather than fear and apathy. The big question is: how do we convince the conservative voters to stop being timid and start being courageous? If we don’t take a stand in 2016 against the Republican dynasty we may never get another chance.

    1. Thanks, Ellen.

      Our strongest tool is social proof. As more people publicly declare their commitment to abandon the GOP, more people will want to join the movement. So far we have you, JimB, Senator John Lamping, and me. That’s a start.

      1. Hey! Notforsale is IN! And I swing a pretty BIG stick – at least with my friends and family that know I’m informed and call me the night before the election. Ha-Ha

      2. I was on this bandwagon back in 2011, though I still voted selectively for downstate RINOs (by selective I mean the Constitution party did not have a candidate in a race – I don’t like libertarians either. They are wrong on abortion (I’m pro-life), on any foreign wars and immigration.

  6. Like it or not we have a 2 party system. Tired or not, vote republican or get Hillary. Pitiful or not, can this nation survive a third Obama term?? Hennessy’s plan will work out great, for democrats and their fearless leader, Hillary.

    1. Two parties would be enough if one of them put the people before their party.

      I avoid reading things into the Constitution, so I don’t buy the line that we have a two-party system. I don’t know who told you that, but they lied. The parties are a collection of people. Parties make their own rules, like any private clubs. It’s up to you to join their club, and it’s up to them to accept you as a member.

      The two parties dominate because many voters lack the will to challenge them. I lacked the will for most of my life. But I’m getting over that now.

    2. MLagree – who drew up and pushed through NAFTA? Read the history of that agreement, and tell me that we DON’T have a two-headed, one party system. It’s time . . .

      “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

      ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

    3. We in Missouri have the luxury of living in a state which does not matter one iota when the electoral college ballots are tallied. In 2008, folks thinking as you, claimed that if we in the Show Me State did not vote for McCain, we’d get o’bummer. So I voted for McCain, so did a majority of Missouri voters. Guess, what happened? The Fourth Reich, that’s what. Then in 2012, we in the Truman State were told by those same folks that if we did not vote for Romney, we’d get an even worse edition of o’bummer. Well, I wasn’t buying it and voted for the Constitution Party Candidate. Despite my treason, Missouri still sided with the RINO-du jour, yet behold once again the golfer-in-charge scored an electoral college win. The Fourth Reich on steroids is the result. Only the presidential votes in maybe 15 states count. A candidate could win every other state and still lose. States are allotted electoral college voters by simply adding their number of U.S. House Districts (variable) and U.S. Senators (2). But then most states give their entire electoral college slates to the candidate receiving at least a simple-minded majority state-wide. This means that a win in Texas or California counts considerably more that one in Missouri or Alaska. Instead each states electoral college vote should be split to the winner of the presidential vote in each congressional district with the Senatorial votes picked by the State Senate (or 1 from the Senate and 1 from the House). When that glorious day comes and a vote for Gary Johnson’s Neighbor’s Two Dogs is factually wasted, except in protest, you might have a point. But as for now, I see very little to be inspired by any RINO on the national stage other than a precious few.

      1. You’ve hit the nail on the head, George. Unless and until the way our electors in the EC cast their votes, none of this actually matters. It’s kind of disheartening that the EC has become exactly what it was meant to prevent.

  7. Amen!!

    I hope other influential conservatives jump on this bandwagon before its too late.

    If 5 million conservatives stayed home for Romney in 2012, I think its safe to say 7-10 million will stay home if the GOP nominates Bush.

      1. Say Bill, Interesting take, but I am going to do my best to see that an Establishment RINO like Jeb is not the nominee. Ted Cruz and Scott Walker are early favorites of mine. As for Senator Lamping being on board for your proposal, I want to let you know when I ran for the Missouri Senate against Ryan McKenna the Republican powers that be cut a deal with Lamping and McKenna to not support me and the Democraps would not support Lamping’s opponent. I lost the election by around two thousand votes, with no help from the Republican Party.

  8. I’m TIRED of dynasties being chosen for our expected approval. I’m TIRED of being told that a third party will never win or will just ensure a Democratic win. I’m TIRED of being lied to (both parties). I’m TIRED of candidates pretending to listen or care – until they’re elected. I can stick to a third party candidate – I just wish that one of the truly conservative Republicans would miraculously switch parties and throw the Republicans for a loop! That would just be FUN! One of my favorite cartoons says . . . I think the Republicans and Democrats are just different cheeks on the same butt.

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