Idaho Dispatch

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Op-Ed: It’s time for Idaho Conservative Republicans to have a serious conversation about Idaho’s Constitution Party.

By • December 25, 2021

The following Op-Ed was submitted by Doug Nickle. Note: Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.

Idaho Conservatives love to say, “Idaho is red.” The truth is Idaho is only as “red” as our legislative committee leadership at the Capitol, and the Republican Party that reigns over the Capitol is led by a small but metastasizing handful of RINOs with positions on key committees and in gatekeeping chairmanships.

Idaho may be “red” in terms of the conservative nature and values of the general population, but as far as policy and legislative action is concerned, Idaho is purple, quickly leaning blue.

And it’s not because of the Democrats’ influence. Progressive or liberal ideology isn’t even close to the biggest threat to Idaho.

It’s time for Idahoans to face the enemy within the gates- Republicans, in Name Only.

We’ve had a very clear look at the methods of Idaho “Republicans” in positions of power over the past year. We watched as the state legislature, led by the “flip flop 5” in the Senate and their minions in the House did nothing to stop mask and vaccine mandates. We watched them try to scuttle improvements to Idaho’s 2nd Amendment protections, while not even allowing hearings to many Republican, voter-supported conservative bills.

Then the legislature reconvened this fall, ostensibly to end nonsensical and non-scientific mask and vaccine mandates. What did they do? Nothing. Certainly not the People’s business. Instead, they did the bidding of special interests, like the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry.

Senate gatekeeper and President Pro Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise, said, “It was a very interesting session from the perspective that it’s going to appear to the public that we didn’t accomplish much. But in reality, we had some bills that were considered.”

That’s RINO-talk, and political issue side-stepping hogwash. It didn’t just “appear the (Republican) legislature didn’t accomplish much.” It didn’t accomplish anything.

“Obviously, we had to come back and close the books,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. As for the vaccine proposals, he said, “We have a starting point for Jan. 10. (2022) This issue’s not going to go away, short-term.”

But it could have gone away immediately if Bedke and the other RINOs at the Capitol did their jobs and made mask and vaccine mandates go away.

The Republicans’ lack of action on masks and vaccine mandates is just one example of the many ways in which establishment RINOs showed their true colors these past couple years. Last spring, we witnessed the RINO-led “ethics” show trial of State Representative and current candidate for Lt. Governor, Priscilla Giddings. RINOs fight establishment dirty, and attack anyone that fights for the people of Idaho and anyone who unwaveringly adheres to the Constitution.

Bedke, supported by the GOP establishment and special interests like the IACI, is running against Priscilla Giddings for Lt. Governor. Bedke presided over the legislature’s kabuki proceedings against Giddings which led to her being formally censured and stripped of a committee assignment.

Everything has changed. This isn’t politics as usual anymore. We saw what happened on November 3rd, 2020 at the federal level. As a nation and as a state, it’s time to acknowledge that we are at war. We are at war with globalists, and the globalists have taken over both parties in our two-party duopoly. We are losing the war, and unless Conservative Idahoans start thinking and acting unconventionally, we will drift unrecognizably left toward California, Oregon, and Washington.

The RINOs in positions of leadership in Idaho- at the city, county, and state level- don’t care about the everyday conservative Idahoan or grassroots conservative political efforts.

As for the Idaho GOP, there is NO REFORMING THE PARTY from the inside, or the ground up. In fact, RINOs count on us believing we can reform the GOP within the confines of their rules. That’s how they control us into submission. They count on us believing the real enemy is progressive Democrats. And they are right to count on conservatives being this dumb. They have history as a prologue.

RINOs laugh at us thinking we can primary any of them on the way to “reforming” the party. Even if that happens in a handful of races, such efforts usually collapse, and we’re still left with establishment politicians who will continue along, unchallenged and arrogant- serving only themselves and their special interest masters, rather than their constituents.

Third party challenges to the duopoly are rarely successful for a variety of predictable reasons. While third party efforts may be principled and backed by populous appeal, they are often disorganized and deemed “not serious” by the electorate and political pundits. Third party challenges to the “system” are also at a decided fundraising disadvantage.

But their biggest flaw is that third parties usually play within the rules- rules that don’t exist as far as the establishment parties- particularly the Idaho GOP- are concerned.

Idaho Republicans may in fact primary a few dead-weight RINOs in the next election. But that won’t change anything in terms of GOP “leadership” at the Capitol. The RINOs will continue to do what they want. Conservative Republican legislators will still have no way to compel “leadership” to hold hearings for solid, conservative legislation. The double-dealing RINOs will keep patting each other on the backs while doing backroom favors for each other, promising support on their pet bills and future elections. The establishment RINOs are their own self-perpetuating entity.

And the principled, rank-and-file Republican voters will continue to gnash teeth, shake fists, write letters, make phone calls and hold righteously indignant rallies on the Capitol steps. But that’s it. The cycle will continue.

Until that’s not it.

The only way to effect change is for a viable, conservative 3rd party to emerge and take control. Not a party that abandons the GOP, but rather a party that reclaims the GOP, outside of the existing Republican Party infrastructure and influence.

Enter the Constitution Party of Idaho.

For sweeping, immediate, actionable change to occur, only a handful of conservative Republicans running for statewide office need to switch to the Constitution Party.

It happens all the time at the state and federal level, but it’s usually from Democrat to Republican, or vice versa. Some switch to Independent, but anyone switching to Independent usually still votes exclusively with their caucus of whatever party they “abandoned.” Or worse, as is typical of RINOs, they usually start voting with the Democrats.

In Idaho, Conservative Republicans that typically face roadblocks in the legislature could switch to the Constitution Party of Idaho and become the immediate minority party, second to the GOP, and still ahead of the Democrats. However, they wouldn’t actually be the minority ideology since they would still be fundamentally principled Republicans. In essence and reality, they would be reclaiming the GOP from the existing RINO establishment machine. State legislature rules would grant the Constitution Party leadership seats on committees that would break the RINOs’ current vice grip on gatekeeping positions of power.

The Republican Party knows this and it scares the RINOs who’ve worked so hard to stay in power. If approximately 10 Republicans in the House switch to the Constitution Party, and 7 or so Republicans in the Senate switch, it’s game over for the RINO control of the Legislature. In reality, it doesn’t even have to be that many for the power shift to occur. And, true Republicans could also switch to the Constitution Party after the election…

They wouldn’t just be switching from Republican Party to Constitution Party- they’d be switching from RINO-controlled slaves to freely Republican in principle, with the ability to enact conservative legislation while in session.

Truly principled, conservative Republican legislators – like Ron Nate, Tammy Nichols, Heather Scott, Kary Hanks, Dorothy Moon, Christy Zito, and yes, Priscilla Giddings – would now have the legislative power and mandate to advance Constitutional, conservative values and policy.

All the RINOs could do is try to change parliamentary rules and hold more witch hunts like they did with Giddings. And the RINOs would further expose themselves in the process.

Sure, some of the more conventionally thinking conservative legislators will be too nervous to switch parties, as they are so accustomed to begging for the favor and support of the almighty Republican party. But guess what? Even if they don’t want to rock the boat, they will still have a majority as part of the Republican Party, with the new strength of the Constitution Party standing side by side with them.

A strong Constitution Party doesn’t need all the conservative Republicans to join en masse. Even just a handful will be enough to shift the balance of power away from RINOs. It won’t deliver any advantages to Democrats either. It will just bifurcate RINOs from actual conservatives, pulling power from the RINOS and giving it to the Constitution Party conservatives who still abide by Republican values and Constitutional principles.

Who knows? Maybe pseudo Republicans that don’t identify as RINOs will also reclaim their once conservative spine.

“But you need money to win!” is an oft-repeated cry in politics. Yes- money is critical in a two-party rigged system, especially in primaries that favor incumbents. If you add a third party to the mix that isn’t seeking money from establishment coffers, has its own primary, and instead is focused on winning a general election on principles, money is less of an issue.

Money buys future political favors more than it buys attention for a candidate in a primary, and if Idaho voters wake up and stop paying attention to special interest funded advertisements for establishment incumbents, then the power of money in Idaho politics is minimized.

The RINOs in the Republican party aren’t going to let up and they won’t allow a strong Constitution Party without a fight. They are going to continue going after independent-minded, constitutionally principled Republicans that won’t fall in line with RINO dictates or special-interest-first decrees.

RINOs serve themselves and their globalist masters, not the people of Idaho. They campaign on constitutional values – including support of the 2nd Amendment – but throw the Constitution out the window when they get into office. RINOs don’t work for We the People.

All Republican legislators in the House and Senate need to start thinking about how they intend to lead and how they intend to represent those Idaho voters who have elected them. Getting elected doesn’t mean one can move strong, conservative legislation at the Capitol. Getting elected and then being in key positions on leadership committees is where legislation lives or dies.

Conservative Idaho voters need to stop pretending we are going to reform the Republican Party from within; it’s time to understand that the battlefield has forever shifted, and we must start acting in meaningful ways that no longer keep handing power to RINOs by default every election. We must start dictating the rules, rather than continuing to play by the rigged rules in the two-party system, which is more of an establishment RINO mono-party in Idaho.

We’re well past conventional tactics. It’s time to get comfortable with guerrilla politics, otherwise we’ll march toward the next election pretending we can force change, and then we’ll be left wondering how RINOs continue to be elected. And a year from now, we’ll have the same frustrating conversations among ourselves.

The Constitution Party of Idaho is growing, and it is emerging at the right place at the right time. Make no mistake- we are at war, and not metaphorically. We cannot wait until the primaries to pay attention to this fight and our responsibilities in it. We must engage now.

Start having the conversations with your friends and family: do we continue to pretend the two-party duopoly is all we have, that the two-party paradigm is the complete evolution of our Republican form of representative government? Do we keep thinking the Republican establishment is finally going to do the will of the voters who put them in office? Do we keep ignoring that they increasingly do the opposite?

Or do we acknowledge that we have real power and an opportunity to change the system so that it works for We the People?

Talk to your Republican elected officials and those running for office too. Are they in favor of the current system of establishment politics? Or are they willing to be bold, and act accordingly during this critical time in our history?

What are you willing to do? The time is now.

Tags: Conservative, Constitution Party of Idaho, Doug Nickel, Idaho, Republican, RINO