Posted under Uncategorized
Daniel Larison makes an important point here. Leftist and moderate conventional wisdom is that the GOP Presidential nomination is controlled by conservative ideologues. This is simply not true. You can’t win the GOP nomination and violate certain Republican orthodoxies such as taxes, abortion and guns, but as long as you have checked all the boxes, the GOP generally nominates the relatively moderate choice of the Establishment. Part of this is because there are often a lot of conservative candidates competing in the primary against one (by nature) Establishment choice, but the conservative movement hasn’t done a good job of fielding consensus picks if such candidates even exist. 2000 was unique in that conservatives rallied around the Establishment candidate, Bush II, rather quickly.
The Republican Party has a tendency to nominate the relative moderate in any given presidential field. That has been the rule since 1988. Republican VP selections have so often been “base-pleasing moves to the right” because many conservatives are usually uninspired or even disappointed by the nominee. Republican VP nominees are usually expected to balance the ticket mostly in the sense that they are supposed to compensate for the nominee’s perceived ideological liabilities.
The principal reason that 1980 was the last time there was a moderate VP nominee on the Republican ticket is that 1980 was also the last time that a relatively more conservative contender prevailed in an open nominating contest. In every open Republican nominating contest since then, the relative moderate has prevailed over a number of conservative challengers. In every case, the relative moderate was considered the early front-runner or heir apparent, very conservative rank-and-file voters and activists were dissatisfied that the party had “settled” for the relative moderate, and the nominee sought to appease them by choosing a running mate that would satisfy them.
When will conservatives learn? They are the Republican Party’s fools. This is why I say, work in the GOP in the primary, but you have to be willing to vote third party in the general if you are dissatisfied. What else is going to change this dynamic?