Conservatives Leaving the GOP: A Cost/Benefit Analysis

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By Steve Deace

Ronald Reagan once famously said “I didn’t leave the Democrat Party, the Democrat Party left me.” These days millions of conservatives around the country feel the same about a Republican Party seemingly hell-bent on abandoning every principle other than crony capitalism.

Recently on Fox News conservative rock star Sarah Palin channeled that frustration when she said:

I love the name of that party – ‘ Freedom Party.’ And if the GOP continues to back away from the planks in our platform, from the principles that built this party of Lincoln and Reagan, then yeah, more and more of us are going to start  saying, ‘You know, what’s wrong with being independent,’ kind of with that libertarian streak that much of us have. In other words, we want government to back off and not infringe upon our rights. I think there will be a lot of us who start saying ‘GOP, if you abandon us, we have nowhere else to go except to become more independent and not enlisted in a one or the other private majority parties that rule in our nation, either a Democrat or a Republican.’  Remember these are private parties, and you know, no one forces us to be enlisted in either party.

Whenever I’m asked about this, and I’m asked about this a lot, I usually say “I’d like to try a second party before thinking about a third one.” Venting frustration is one thing. Acting upon it is entirely another. When we’re frustrated there are plenty of things we can justify as a response, but many of those things aren’t necessarily prudent. That’s why we have the saying “cooler heads prevailed.” On the other hand, there is certainly a time and place to fashion a whip of cords or grab the jawbone of an ass, and give ‘em your best Howard Beale.

This week we commemorate the anniversary of our Founding Fathers declaring their independence from the British Crown without exactly knowing what would happen next. So it seems only fitting to provide the most objective analysis possible of conservatives following suit by declaring their independence from the GOP. I weigh the pros and cons, then you decide.

1. The Vision

Cost—With the light of liberty barely a flicker the absolute worst use of time for conservatives would be essentially starting over to form a 3rd Party movement that may take decades to realize. Given how much freedom, liberty, and morality we’ve lost our constitutional republic probably doesn’t have decades. We need to do as much good as we can, and we need to do it right now.

Benefit—Loyalty to the Republican Party has done nothing to squelch our slouch towards Gomorrah or statism. We’ve wasted years as it is propping up neo-statists and gutless RINOs with little to nothing to show for it. Instead of wasting anymore time on the rotting corpse that is the GOP, better to get to work now on what will inevitably take its place. Short-term thinking is what got us here in the first place.

2. Political Impact

Cost—Leaving the Republican Party would essentially hand almost every election of consequence to the Democrats for the next several years, and render conservatives meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Furthermore, if no longer held accountable by conservatives you’ll likely see the Republican Party ruling class openly conspiring with Democrats to continue to grow government, which means liberty will be lost even quicker. This rash move would move us quicker to irrelevancy.

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Benefit—We already have the Republican Party ruling class conspiring with Democrats to grow government despite our presence. Just this year they passed the largest tax increase in 20 years, for example. At least if we’re no longer covering for these sellouts we can recover some integrity that we lost by associating with the tarnished GOP brand, and perhaps have an honest conversation with the American people about where we’re headed for once. By forming a 3rd Party we become de facto independents, and instead of being taken for granted we become a crucial swing vote.

3. Organization

Cost—Sure, there are days when the idea of bolting the GOP sounds great, but it’s just not feasible. The two most viable right-of-center 3rd Parties – the Libertarian and Constitution Parties – still don’t have consistent ballot access in all 50 states. Good luck recruiting candidates without ballot access, good luck raising money without candidates, and good luck moving your agenda without money. The reality is the two dominant parties have made this kind of effort almost impossible without an unprecedented fundraising/legal effort to build up to it. I don’t like it. I wish that weren’t the case. But it is what it is.

Benefit—That was the same argument used against our Founding Fathers when they wanted to declare their independence. If there’s anything American history has taught us it’s that when we step out on faith and principle providence handles the rest. One great way to ignite such an effort is to have leaders with charisma, vision, and integrity lead the way in inspiring others to act on their courage of their convictions. Maybe some of those leaders will emerge if we step out on faith. Founding Fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson became the men we know them as today because they rose to the occasion when history needed them.

4. The Future

Cost—Most of us would agree the party is broken, but let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water here. The brokenness of the party reflects the cultural brokenness of the times in which we live. All private organizations are only as good as the people inhabiting them. Any new organization will eventually just develop the same problems the GOP has now. You can’t expect a political party to have more moral purity than the culture as a whole. Still, reform is necessary. Instead of reinventing the wheel, why not encourage members of the Constitution and Libertarian Parties to infiltrate the GOP? Many local and state Republican Party organizations across the country are in dire need of people. Who says those people can’t be people of principle? Let’s do to the GOP from the bottom-up what the progressives already did to the Democrat Party. There’s no reason we can’t overrun the party’s infrastructure and put our own people in there.

Benefit—Some libertarians tried this, and look what the party bosses did to them at the rules committee meeting prior to the convention last year. That was Soviet-style politics. Of course you can’t expect a private organization to be more righteous than the culture, but that actually proves my point. We are aligned with people who don’t share our moral value system, and have proven they will do things to beat us they would never do to Democrats. And they’ll even use Fox News and other “conservative media” to do it. The time, talent, and treasure wasted on reforming the GOP is like trying to funnel foreign aid for the hungry through the corrupt local warlord. Whatever we send just ends up in his pocket. Let’s face it, this whole debate is moot anyway because the party bosses are in the process of betraying us first. Thus, the longer we wait the harder it will be to do what we’ll eventually have to go ahead and do anyway.

Now that you’ve had a chance to weigh the pros and cons it’s time for you to decide.

(You can friend “Steve Deace” on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow) 



  • Dave A

    I’m done with the GOP. Eph. 5:11

  • bzimmerly

    I was a guaranteed Republican vote from 1976 until 2008. In 2012, we were flat out swindled as I saw the lying, cheating, and voter disenfranchisement with my own eyes. I know now that Stalin’esq vote counters decide everything and our votes mean nothing. I see no viable future for politics and it is clear to me that Thomas Jefferson’s admonition for revolution is going to happen.

    Why else would “Homeland Security,” “NOAA,” “IRS,” and others be purchasing hollow-point bullets and automatic weapons in such massive orders?

    As Patrick Henry observed, “Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other.” –> http://www.history.org/almanack/life/politics/giveme.cfm

  • Cecil_S

    Sometimes when we are in the midst of a crisis it is difficult to understand how dire the circumstances are. Sometimes we underestimate the crisis because we don’t want to admit how bad it really is.

    We conservatives keep saying if this gets any worse we will HAVE to do something, and then do nothing. If SCOTUS rules against marriage- and now it’s if congress passes amnesty – isn’t there a point when we wait so long that – well lets just say it would be 1776 all over again. And if so do we really have the fortitude from enough people to even think that could happen? Or would we just bury our heads in the sand and say if they take away my guns THEN I will do something.

    • Wm Luke Priest

      You won’t see 1776 ever again because this isn’t colonial Britain. We aren’t declaring our independence from an absentee foreign ruler.

      You might see 1860 again, when the individual sovereign States attempt to take back the authority they delegated to a limited federal government, after that government proved it was incapable of living within the guidelines of it’s delegate jurisdiction, but I doubt it. We have yet to see any State even approach a real nullification attempt, let alone total reclamation of her sovereignty.

      • pat conroy

        If Texas suceeded, I’d prolly move there.

        • Wm Luke Priest

          If Texas get’s serious about seceding, I will me moving before they make any real progress. I want to be on that side of the border before they close it.

  • Craig Bergman

    The problem is NOT “the party” it is the people ACTIVE in it. And
    leaving will only make that problem worse. The Problem is the
    Christians who DO NOT vote and stay home. The Problem IS US. And until
    WE change, the problem continues. Leaving will not solve the problem
    it will continue wherever WE go.

    • Cecil_S

      I think I agree with most of that however, if they give us another Romney/McCain then you will see the same because some people refuse to lower their standards so far to vote for them. Now I agree that these are the people who need to do a better job of getting out in the primaries and make a real difference there. But don’t ask us to vote for a person who created homosexual “marriage” and obamacare BEFORE Obama did.

      • Wm Luke Priest

        Cecil – WE chose our candidate. WE need to be active in OUR PARTY! “They” didn’t “give” us Romney and McCain. WE chose him.

        • Cecil_S

          Luke, I hate to tell you this but once 51% of the people know they can vote themselves in money to themselves we are goners. And it is very very close to that now. And it doesn’t appear to make much difference whether there is an R or D in front of the name. Very sad.

          • Wm Luke Priest

            The key is that it is 51% of the voters, not “51% of the people”. When millions of self-governing, self-supporting, conservative, Christians sit at home and chose not to participate in primary and caucus elections, then those who wish to live on the government dole have a much better chance of being 50.1% of the electorate and choosing OUR candidate for us.
            There is NO excuse for voter apathy. Get out there and find and support a candidate from the first day the election process starts. If you can’t find a candidate to support, run yourself. When WE are inactive, THEY rule over us!

          • Cecil_S

            I agree. But when all that fails, I refuse to vote for the McCain and Romneys again.

    • Matthew McCrea

      Good, stay home. The problem is YOU. :)

  • Matthew McCrea

    Hopefully we’ll see you leave Steve. Hey thanks for Blocking and unfriending me. It seems you’re too weak to understand logic and reason. I’d unfriend and block people too if I were constantly losing my argument because of my flawed premises and failed thought process.

  • brigin

    Why should the Repub base create a new party. How about the corporate cronies that have bought their way into controlling the Repub party create a new party? This will not happen until leading conservative voices cast off the chains and start naming names of the vile usurpers pulling the strings in the Repub party.

  • pat conroy

    My thinking now is that we let the democrats hurry up and destroy it, muddle through a bloody revolution then rebuild.