On the heels of the disastrous and obscene Omnibus Spending Orgy rubber stamped by the Obama Republicans in Congress last week – there is actually hope that we have turned the corner against the Republican Establishment wing of the Washington Cartel.
It reminds me of the old adage about going bankrupt – first it happens slowly and then suddenly. That seems to describe the fall of the GOP establishment. The reality they face today is totally different from the one in 2014 – let alone 2012, 2010 and 2008. And yet, without some of the efforts in those cycles, we might not be rounding these corners now.
Consider: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson – all enemies of the establishment – are getting almost two thirds of the support from Republican voters. Meanwhile, the cabal of Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Lindsey Graham and Chris Christie combine for only about a sixth of the voters’ support. And of course, Graham limped off the stage this week with less than 1 percent support. Remember, this is just a year after getting 60 percent-plus of the vote for the Senate. He’s not even making it to the S.C. Primary now.
It’s so bad out there that the establishment will probably now throw in with Marco Rubio as their champion. To be sure, with his Gang of Eight dalliance and some other situations, it’s easy now to simply lump Rubio in as typical establishment. That’s not totally accurate, however.
Remember, Rubio burst onto the scene by destroying one of the establishment’s all-time favorites – Charlie Crist – who was a sitting governor at the time. This was considered a stunning development, and one wonders if, say, a man named Ted Cruz would have tried the same audacious thing in Texas without Rubio’s success. This demonstrates that politics are a continuum of events, not a series of un-related stories in a 24/7 news cycle universe.
After a frustrating season fighting the establishment in the 2014 primaries – all except for Dave Brat’s take down of Eric Cantor – things are likely to be different this time. It appears that John McCain is indeed in trouble this go round in Arizona – trailing Kelli Ward by 9 points in recent polls. Six years ago, J.D. Hayworth laid the groundwork for this. He forced McCain to spend $20 million plus – on a primary – in a small media state! It was more money than McCain had spent in all primary and general elections for Senate combined! It showed that McCain could be beaten under the right circumstances.
With Trump, Cruz and Carson leading a growing anti-establishment movement, these are now the right circumstances. This will play out all over the country.
Two years ago in North Carolina, Greg Brannon ran a hard uphill race against Karl Rove’s handpicked challenger to face Kay Hagan, Thom Tillis. Brannon finished one point short of forcing a run-off with Tillis – and now ironically – as bad as Tillis is, he’s N.C.’s best senator. The other one is another of Rove’s chosen ones named Richard Burr, a classic below the radar House of Cards Republican – and Brannon is now challenging him.
Will it be different? Probably so. We could see Trump, Cruz, Carson et al steam into primary day in the state at 60 plus per cent. Those would almost all be Brannon voters – and this is not lost on Brannon and his team. This kind of mobilization dynamic cannot occur in an off-year election, but it will in 2016 – and not just in Arizona and North Carolina.
And speaking of Rove, we reported a few days ago that his Crossroads Super PAC family appears headed for a 90 percent reduction in donations for 2016 compared to what it raised in 2012. For better or worse, the donor class is now rejecting the Washington wizard consulting class – and putting together their own teams and their own strategies. What it demonstrates is that there is now a bigger than ever awareness of the isolation, weakness and corruption of the Republican establishment.
It’s all coming into focus suddenly now, but it’s been happening gradually. When McCain won S.C. by a wide margin in 2008, it led to his clinching of the nomination in Florida. Just eight years ago, very few voters in that state had any awareness of the GOP-e. In 2010, Rand Paul and Rubio and others stormed the gates of Washington and won – because the establishment was not yet aware of the strength of the base.
By 2012, the battle lines were starting to get more clarified. At different times, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich showed significant push back strength against the establishment. (Okay, Santorum has been a pawn in the establishment game in his past, but not in ’12). In the end however, Newt blew it and establishment money and media presence (think Fox News and Wall Street Journal) over whelmed everyone else and nominated Romney.
After Romney’s debacle, Cruz reinforced the battle lines with his shut down filibuster in 2013. Then events in 2014 like Thad Cochran’s shameless race-baiting campaign led by the Barbour mafia in Mississippi really ripped the mask off the monster for everyone to see. Then, after a huge win in that election, the party led by Mitch McConnell and John Boehner then went into a mode of pre-emptive surrender. So traumatized by the cancellation of Washington cocktail party invitations due to Cruz’ actions, the establishment just went full Obama all the time.
What they didn’t realize is that now their masks have been removed. Have we beaten them yet? No, not completely. But they have been unraveling slowly for years – but they’re rapidly becoming undone now. I’ve been fighting them since 1992 – and never thought I’d see a day like this. Stephen K. Bannon says daily on Breitbart Radio that we are going to turn this thing around.
He may be right after all.
Edmund Wright is a contributor to Breitbart, American Thinker, Newsmax TV, Talk Radio Network and author of Amazon Elections Best Seller WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost…Again. This is 10th installment of the series Rove-Stupid: The new definition of the Republican Establishment.