By Max Newman
As I returned from the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday March 4th, three things were on my mind: Parade Day, Donald Trump’s candidacy and what had happened over the past two days at CPAC. My first ever CPAC visit was an incredibly powerful and energizing experience. I heard legends of the conservative movement, like Rep. Mia Love to Senator Ted Cruz to Mark Levin, lay out what it means to be a conservative and the conservative vision for the future of America. However, the elephant in the room wasn’t exactly Donald Trump, as most of the CPAC crowd was actually anti-Trump for his views not being “conservative enough.” The elephant in the room was actually an overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction and anger at the Republican political establishment for betraying the will of the American people.
In one way or another, almost all of the speakers at CPAC expressed anger at government overreach and mismanagement, as well as at the Republican establishment which has been betraying the conservative movement for years now. Republicans like myself were overjoyed when the GOP finally retook the Senate in 2014. I told myself, “now that the GOP has Congress, there will be a pushback against Obama’s executive order on amnesty.” That pushback never happened. “Now that the GOP has the Senate, H1B abuse and the influx of H1B migrants coming for high tech American jobs can be stopped,” I thought. The Republican elite not only allowed H1Bs to continue, but establishment figures such as Marco Rubio and Orrin Hatch pushed a bill to double the cap for H1B applicants. “Now that the GOP has the Senate, the budget can be negotiated on conservative terms.” Instead, the GOP establishment caved once again to Obama, as President Obama got nearly everything he wanted despite Republicans being a majority in Congress. These are just three examples of many that show how conservatives have been stabbed in the back by politicians who we thought sided with us. It doesn’t end in Congress. For the past two election cycles, the Republican establishment has nominated John McCain and Mitt Romney as our nominees for president, both of which nominations ended in disappointment after losing the 2008 election and losing a very winnable 2012 election.
And now, the Republican establishment is trying again to influence the will of the people by sticking their noses into the primary season. They are trying to persuade voters at every turn that Donald Trump, and to a lesser extent, Ted Cruz, cannot become our nominees come hell or high water. They drafted politicians losers like Lindsey Graham, John McCain and most recently Mitt Romney to convince voters to turn against Trump, as he is too much of a “risk” in the general election. They have funded anti-Trump super PACs and created a cute little movement called #NeverTrump on Twitter, thinking they can stop the avalanche through hashtag activism and late game heroics. How nice. The establishment has tried to gather around Marco Rubio as their preferred candidate, but it seems as if any resistance by the establishment is futile at this point. Trump and Cruz are national figures. Others such as Kelli Ward and Dave Brat on the state level, and conservative radio hosts have woken up conservatives and populists in this country against a political class who have sold the desires of ordinary Americans down the river, electing to represent the crony capitalists and K Street elite in favor of open borders and globalization. Don’t take my word for it. Take the words of millions of Americans angry not just at the Obama administration and the federal government, but at their own party’s establishment for the lies and hollow promises (“We’ll fight amnesty”) that the establishment has told us for years. In my experience at CPAC and afterwards, no two political commentators captured my feelings, and the feelings of millions of other fed up Americans, better than conservative blogger Michelle Malkin and Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro.
Malkin summed up the divide between Republican establishment in D.C and conservatives outside of the Beltway perfectly by saying, “The state of the Republican Party is not sound. The Republican Party has been undergoing slow motion hary-kary for decades now. What we are experiencing is not unexpected, and anti-establishment fervor is the result of Republican Party elites and the donor class doing what the rest of Washington is guilty of: not listening to the people.” Malkin is spot on here in precisely summing up how millions of American conservatives feel right now. Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro also said what millions are thinking in a passionate eight minute rant on Fox News against Mitt Romney’s recent speech pleading with voters not to vote for Donald Trump. Pirro said, ““There’s an insurrection coming. Mitt Romney just confirmed it. We’ve watched governors, the National Review, conservative leaders, establishment and party operatives trash Donald Trump. But Mitt Romney will always be remembered as the one who put us over the edge and awoke a sleeping giant, the Silent Majority, the American people. We are sick and tired of legislators of modest means who leave Congress multimillionaires, whose spouses and families get all the contracts from selling the post offices to accessing insider information so they can buy property and flip it. You’re so entrenched that you’re willing to give Hillary Clinton a win. It doesn’t matter to you which party wins, crony capitalism and its paradigm will not change for the elite.”
The anger that populists and anti-establishment conservatives have is not just being expressed through words, but through voting at the ballot box. If you would have told me on the day of the midterm elections in 2014 that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, two anti-establishment rightist politicians, would be #1 and #2 respectively in the race to become the Republican nominee this year, I would have laughed out loud. But Trump and Cruz are the two front runners for the nomination, and both have rebelled against an establishment that has sold out the conservative movement. South Carolina voter John Baldwin couldn’t have said it better when he said, “We are voting with our middle finger.”
With Trump and Cruz leading the pack, and no establishment hero to be found now that Marco Rubio’s campaign is currently on life support, the Republican establishment is in panic mode. But we the people don’t care that the establishment is panicked and their hero candidate is on life support. It now seems inevitable that for the first time since Ronald Reagan, we will have a non-establishment nominee for our party to run for president. The establishment should not be surprised that so many Americans, including myself, are “voting with their middle finger”.
Right minded Americans across this great nation have witnessed the Republican establishment betray the people, and instead cater to the interests of big donors, K Street power brokers and special interest groups who solely work to advance their own goals. We’re sick and tired of the betrayal and being stabbed in the back. We conservatives are weary of the establishment’s hollow, unfulfilled promises to fight back against the Obama administration, and we are fed up with the establishment putting crony capitalists ahead of Americans on Main Street.
Jeanine Pirro is right, there really is an insurrection coming, and one is continuing to play out in primary states across America. Malkin is right too in that the bought and paid for establishment has not listened to the people, and now, the establishment is paying the price of decades of betrayal. There’s an insurrection coming against the Republican establishment and its special interest groups who sway politicians left and right. The political parties are being redrawn and the game has changed with Donald Trump making history in just ten months. The slogan at CPAC, Our Time is Now, sums up my article. Our Time is Now not just to unite behind Donald Trump (or if need be, Ted Cruz) to defeat the Democrats in November, but to continue voting with our middle finger against the establishment in the primaries in the presidential race and locally. Our Time is Now to make proactive change within the conservative movement and to stop decades of betrayal from the John McCain’s, Mitt Romneys and Jeb Bushs of the Republican Party. Our Time is Now to face the uphill task of both pushing back against the establishment and winning in November to take our country back, and I believe we must say a great phrase to a bureaucrat’s ears loudly to the establishment which have worked in lockstep to silence populists and conservatives: “People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”