Between Loyalty and Legacy: The Cost of Remaining Silent and Unquestionably Loyal

I’ve been absent for a while, but I still pay attention. It’s increasingly difficult to identify as a Republican, but I’m more confident in my beliefs as a Conservative. The Party of Family Values has decided to cast its lot with a sexual abuser (as found by a jury of his peers). The Party who constantly teased Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, and Stacey Abrams for being sore losers of their respective elections now spread falsehoods about the 2020 election that led to the same man being accused of inciting an insurrection to keep himself in power. That Party, who once believed that we are a nation that follows the rule of law rather than the rule of man, has seemingly deemed it necessary to break the law rather than follow the law or the process. The Republican Party is vastly different than it was when I first started voting nearly twenty years ago–some of my beliefs may have changed slightly. However, I still consider myself a free market, limited government conservative. It’s not me who has left the Party–it’s the Party who has left me.

Rumors floated around social media of the Catoosa County Republican Party taking it upon itself to refuse ballot access to Republican candidates it deems fit. (Disclosure: I’m not an attorney, nor do I claim to be a legal expert. It’s been over 12 years since I’ve conducted candidate qualifying for the Walker County Republican Party as its chairman.) From my recollection as a former GOP chairman who has qualified candidates for the Republican ballot, this is not allowed–a party must allow a candidate to qualify on their ballot if the candidate believes and attests (under penalty of perjury) that they are legally qualified to hold that particular elected office. A candidate can be challenged in court later if their candidacy’s legitimacy is questioned, but that’s a separate matter. A judge issued an order prohibiting the Catoosa GOP from refusing ballot access to candidates. Allegedly, the Catoosa GOP is defying the court order. What the Catoosa GOP is wrong. Full stop. If their hubris to act as arbiter of accountability on behalf of the electorate leads them to break the law, then their leadership should bear the penalty personally–not the organization.

It is an honor to be entrusted with the leadership of an organization. I was honored to lead the Walker County GOP as chairman from 2009 until 2013 and the 14th Congressional District GOP as chairman from 2015 until 2017. I have reverence for the rules, and I understood that the mission and goals of the organization (to elect Republicans) were greater than my own self-interest. Apparently, electing Republicans is no longer the goal of the new #AntiEstablishmentEstablishment. These are the same bomb throwers who bemoaned #TheEstablishment at every turn. The same group of people denounced me and wanted me gone as district chairman when I wrote a piece exposing their true colors eight years ago. What is being demonstrated by the Catoosa GOP is not leadership, nor is it reverence for the rule of law.

The Paulbot/TEA Party/#LIBERTY/MAGA (who are really all in the same) faction of the Republican Party doesn’t care about individual liberty, smaller government, or conservative values. They claim “conservatism” and get labeled as such by liberal news outlets, but the reality is that this faction cares about one thing: Power. They want to be in charge. They want to control. Why? Because they’re scared. They demand a strongman to force their will upon others. They demand retribution. They demand candidates be “accountable” to their checklist of populist ideals–pre-approved by a committee that knows better than the Republican electorate it claims to serve.

The Georgia Republican Party once claimed to be the Party of the Grassroots. That is now giving way to the Party of Populist Elites, who demand purity and one hundred percent compliance. Loyalty is demanded, while criticism of the populist demagogue or any “moderate” behavior won’t be tolerated. If you don’t drink the MAGA Flavor Aid, you’ll be expelled for the RINO you are. This faction doesn’t make up the majority of the Republican Party. There are still good, solid conservatives loyal to the Republican Party. It’s time for those people to stand up and shout, “STOP!” You cannot let the MAGA populists make a mockery out of the Republican Party and conservatism.

It’s time to stand up for what is right–our institutions and the rule of law. You can demonstrate this by showing support for candidates who support conservative values, like supporting our NATO allies, the rule of law, and the free market (like former UN Ambassador and SC Governor Nikki Haley, as an example), to name a few. Purges and demanding populist purity will further shrink our base. I believe conservative ideals appeal to a broad group of voters–the Republican Party must find its way back to being the Party of the Big Tent.

It’s time to take a stand against the angry mob.

Be brave. Be bold.

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