Take Over the Republican Party, or Start a New Party? All of the Above
Elect Republican constitutionalists, secede from unrepublican state governments, and start a good party.
December 17, 2021
The key to innovating successfully is to reuse existing solutions .
But which existing solutions? We have existing parties. We also have the existing Constitution, which we can adapt to provide republican forms of state government to county regions, and to provide a good party.
The best approach is to make the most of each option.
Keep Competing Head-On in the Republican Party
The Republican Party provides ballot access, name recognition, credible chances to win races and majorities, and a large group of voters. The Republican Party is the only major party that could limit governments. And limiting governments is exactly what most voters want. So people who want to limit government should just use the party as a shell and take it over, so the argument goes.
Unfortunately, this focuses on the factors that are hopeful but ignores the complications and past experience.
All parties to date have had designs that have allowed them, or that will allow them, to turn Progressive .
These designs feature top-down control; they lack separation of powers, and they lack offsetting powers. These faults enable whoever is in control to implement rules and practices that select for candidates who are like the current party leaders.
When constitutionalists were in control in parties in the past, they didn’t implement robust rules and practices to select for constitutionalists. They just kept running on personalities and policies.
Once Progressives gained control, they did implement rules and robust practices to select for Progressives.
Current parties’ rules and robust practices that select for Progressives are legion, and are formidable :
No wonder that once Progressives have taken charge of a party, constitutionalists have never regained control.
These limits on the ability to retake a party have left their mark on the current composition of the Republican Party’s elected representatives.
Despite wave elections in 2010, 2014, and 2016 in which voters heavily favored candidates they saw as the most constitutionalist, leading to the House, Senate, and presidency respectively being won by the Republican Party and leading to many state offices being won by the party, the party still has only a small minority of elected representatives who earn Conservative Review Liberty Scores of at least 80% pro-liberty .
If this quality standard sounds impossibly high, consider that its mirror image, Liberty Scores of at most 20% pro-liberty, is a standard that’s easily met by the Progressive Democrats.
Take Over the Republican Party by Seceding from Current State Governments
There’s only one promising way to remake the Republican Party: for county regions to secede from their current state governments of unrepublican form to create new state governments of republican form .
Doing this would eliminate the leverage that the Progressive majorities in the metro cores exert over the current state governments and over the national government.
For the first time ever, these county-region governments would be limited by having state constitutions that are modeled on the Constitution, and also by being jurisdictions in which both activists and voters strongly favor candidates who use their constitutional powers to limit governments.
These new county-region governments would be constitutionalist. Their voters would succeed in electing more constitutionalists to the national government, turning it constitutionalist.
Once constitutionalists were in the majority in the Republican Party, they would need to implement robust practices to limit the party organization, leaving its grassroots in charge; and to reverse its other rules and practices that favor Progressives.
Fortunately, they would have gained intimate working knowledge of how constitutional limiting-processes work in governments. This would give them some of the same key attributes that the founding leaders had (not just the Federalists but also the highly-popular, influential, pro-liberty Anti-Federalists): enough knowledge and conviction to make the changes needed to design constitutional limiting-processes.
They would now have the Constitution as the existing solution. They would just need to adapt its processes to limit the party organization.
Of course the required activists could stay stuck in their current rut due to bad traditions, inertia, and relative prosperity, and as a result could fail to assert their power to secede from state governments.
Also, if the activists would start producing competition inside the Republican Party, the Republican Progressives would do everything possible to undercut them and repel them.
Design and Build a New Party from the Ground Up
If instead the tack taken would be to design and build a party from scratch based on first principles, this would provide an order of magnitude more freedom to take rapid action to establish a solid foundation.
Such a party would from inception have a design that’s recognizably-distinct from those of all prior parties: the new party would have built-in internal limits taken directly from the Constitution, basically exactly replicating the Constitution in a party constitution.
As the wave elections have shown, voters repeatedly keep trying to elect candidates who would seriously limit our trainwreck governments. Plenty of voters would see for themselves that this party’s individual candidates can win, and that this party’s representatives combined with the Republican constitutionalists can win majorities.
Once voters see this potential, that’s all that would be required. Winning doesn’t take money or media, winning just takes votes.
Where the Republican Party gives voters the choice of a constitutionalist, voters elect him now. Where the Republican Party doesn’t give voters the choice of a constitutionalist but a good new party does, voters would elect this constitutionalist too.
The votes that would get split would be the votes for Progressives, which would be split between the legacy-party candidates. This would open up the field, allowing the votes for constitutionalists to win.
The elected representatives would from the start have strong powers to rapidly limit governments . These powers are already in place in the Constitution. They just await the election of representatives who will use their constitutional powers to limit others in our governments .
Use All Lines of Attack
Constitutionalists now have a great opportunity. Multiple lines of attack are possible, and each complements the others.
Wherever Republicans who earn Liberty Scores of at least 80% pro-liberty are already in office or win the Republican nomination for office, the constitutionalists in their jurisdictions should fully support these Republican constitutionalists.
Wherever activists in individual counties can press county legislatures to ratify new county-region constitutions of republican form, activists should press this forward and spread it like wildfire .
And wherever activists in a given jurisdiction are determined to bypass the Republicans’ Progressive-favoring rules and practices, in order to guarantee that voters will have viable constitutionalist options for every office on every general-election ballot, activists should build up a new party with the design needed to ensure that the grassroots will remain in charge and that constitutionalists will robustly be selected.
The world’s most-powerful empire was overcome by the USA’s people. We used all the resources at our command. We used every trick in the book.
God granted us the good fortune to be in the right place at the right time with the right ideas.
We’re there again now.
James Anthony is the author of The Constitution Needs a Good Party and rConstitution Papers, has written in The Federalist, American Thinker, Foundation for Economic Education, and American Greatness, and publishes rConstitution.us. Mr. Anthony is an experienced chemical engineer with a master’s in mechanical engineering.