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A Guest Post by Canadian TAM Flaggman
There’s been a lot of hand-wringing these past few days among Palinistas over the former V-P candidate’s apparent defense of Donald Trump’s machinations and Ron Paul’s fanatical followers. These two positions are clearly harmful to the Republican Party, which makes it clear to me: Sarah Palin sees the GOP itself as the problem, not the solution, in this election cycle. When she warns the GOP against isolating Trump and the Paulites, she’s not endorsing a Trump independent run or a Paul presidency per se. What she is doing is firing a shot across the bow on behalf of the Tea Party, saying to the establishment: don’t you dare go dismissing constituency groups within the Republican Party. If it’s Trump and Paul now, it’s the Tea Party next, and that is simply not acceptable. This gives us pause to reflect on a little Canadian political history to see what can happen when the grassroots of a what is supposed to be a conservative party are ignored, humiliated, and isolated.
The 1970s and early 1980s in Canada were run, essentially, by Barack Obama, in the person of the America-hating incompetent-socialist demagogue leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. When he finally got tired and walked away in 1984, he left the country pining for a conservative renaissance, and Brian Mulroney rode that sentiment to leadership victory in the Progressive Conservative Party, and a landslide in the polls later that year. Despite running as a conservative warrior, Mulroney was the ultimate insider, foisted on the party membership from the Toronto-Montreal legal establishment, and rather than peeling back the Trudeau experiment, he expanded upon it by further nationalizing the health care system, adding a 7% tax-on-everything, and leaving us with crushing deficits that led Canada to the edge of credit rating downgrade. In the 1993 election, with the Conservative-in-name-only Mulroney abandoning ship, and the socialist Liberal Party running on a platform to the right of the Progressive Conservatives, the results came in: the PC Party, the purported conservative side of what was essentially a two-party system, was destroyed. It held on to just two seats in Parliament, and never recovered. Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in Canada today is a result of the gutting and scuttling of that party by small-c conservatives in the ensuing years, forming it eventually into today’s ruling Conservative Party of Canada.
How does this relate to Palin’s comments on Trump and Paul? The key is what happened from 1984, when our McCain-Romney figure (Mulroney) took over, until 1993, when his party essentially disappeared. On two fronts, Mulroney ignored his base. In Quebec, Canada’s second-largest province, the big-government federalist encroachment so enraged the French-majority voters that they left to start their own separatist party that nearly ripped the country apart via referendum in 1995. In Alberta, Canada’s energy-producing behemoth, the big-government encroachment so enraged the rugged individualists of the West that they founded a new party, the Reform Party of Canada, which was essentially our Tea Party movement of the 1990s. (Not coincidentally, Stephen Harper was a founding member of the Reform Party after abandoning Mulroney’s PC’s.)
The splintering of the PC party, a direct result of the establishment placing a higher priority on centralizing federal power than on promoting the will of the grassroots, led to 13 years of corrupt and aimless Liberal Party rule, while the grassroots worked tirelessly to organize and establish itself as a viable national alternative under Harper. But now that a principled conservative party is in charge (not that it doesn’t have its share of RINOs, but that’s for another day), we have a principled government in Canada that, with the majority mandate earned in the 2011 election, is finally beginning to peel back the layers of federalist socialist intrusion into the lives of Canadian citizens.
So don’t dismiss Palin’s apparent defense of Trump and Paul-bots as nonsensical rantings or bitterness. The splintering of the Republican voting base could open up the danger of another decade in the wilderness, and Palin knows this. It’s not so much the loss of Trump-ites (of which there are few) or Paulites (of which there are a few more) she is concerned about. It’s the attitude of dismissiveness by the establishment that could ultimately result in the loss of the Tea Party constituency – and that would be a disaster for the Republicans. And the implication is this: if the Republican establishment tries to force an American Brian Mulroney on the grassroots, the Republican party will be be no more. And the rebuilding under a different name could begin at any time.