Official Washington hailed the deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff as a significant bipartisan accomplishment. However, voters around the country viewed the deal in very partisan terms: Seven out of 10 Democrats approved of it, while seven out of 10 Republicans disapproved.
Just a few days after reaching that agreement, an inside-the-Beltway publication reported another area of bipartisan agreement. Politico explained that while Washington Democrats have always viewed GOP voters as a problem, Washington Republicans "in many a post-election soul-searching session" have come to agree. More precisely, the article said the party's Election 2012 failures have "brought forth one principal conclusion from establishment Republicans: They have a primary problem."
As seen from the halls of power, the problem is that Republican voters think it's OK to replace incumbent senators and congressman who don't represent the views of their constituents. In 2012, for example, Republican voters in Indiana dumped longtime Sen. Richard Lugar in a primary battle.
This infuriated establishment Republicans for two reasons. First, because they liked Lugar and the way he worked. Second, because the replacement candidate was flawed and allowed Democrats to win what should have been a safe Republican seat.
So, according to Politico, the Washington team is gearing up a new effort to protect incumbents and limit the ability of Republican voters to successfully challenge establishment candidates.
What to do about the primaries has become Topic A in many a post-election Republican soul-searching session, and now the first steps are being taken to address the issue. For Senate Republicans, that means a modified return to their 2010 posture of openly playing in primaries. A retiring House Republican is starting a super PAC to help House members challenged from the right. And an RNC commission is mulling over changes to the party’s presidential primary.
In the Senate, where at least five GOP losses in the past two election cycles could be attributed to primaries, Republican leaders are planning to intervene in selected 2014 races to ensure preferred candidates win the nomination.
High-profile Senate Republicans are going to try to pre-empt bloody primaries with aggressive, early recruitment and support — effectively trying to clear fields.
“Instead of worrying about resolving a contested primary and upsetting a lot of folks on both sides … you recruit the best candidate on the front end,” explained Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio.), a newly named NRSC vice chairman and close ally of Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell.
Further, expect Senate Republicans to insert themselves in those 2014 primaries when Democrats attempt to influence the GOP nominating process as they did in the 2012 Missouri Republican contest that produced Akin.
“If you catch wind of (Democrats playing in Republican primaries), it’s a tough decision but you’ve got to have the ability and flexibility to say, ‘OK guys, we’re headed down a track here, so is there a better candidate who has more appeal, can raise more money, is more representative of the state they’re in?’” said Portman.
Added Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire: “When they are up to those things, then I think that the committee has to say there are some primaries that we will get involved in because we’re not going to let the Democrats pick our nominees.”
Eventually, the responsible majority will arise, and a national policy of peace and prosperity will be implemented nation-wide.
The leadership is scared, and holding on to whatever power they can. Their tactics worked well, as they quelled the internal uprise and takeover of their party....but, in the long run, we the people will win.
making such change without a civil war.
There has long been a riff between Conservatives and the Republican Establishment. Before the term 'establishment' got popular I called that group 'the country clubbers'. Think Barry Goldwater vs. Nelson Rockefeller.