Another day, another story about the internal struggle within the Republican Party of Iowa.
In today’s episode Tom Beaumont from the Des Moines Register writes about what a couple of the Republican Party of Iowa’s largest donors have to think about the rightward drift of the GOP here in Iowa.
I’ll just cut to the point, Diane Crookam-Johnson from Oskaloosa is concerned that the party will focus too much of its effort on the social issues. Gary Kirke from West Des Moines, say’s it’s the economy stupid. It is clear that Crookham-Johnson is not going to give any additional funds to the party in this cycle and will probably continue to hold out until a Chair of her liking is elected. That’s here right as a donor. Kirke on the other hand is not going to make any brash decisions but is watching the situation.
It will probably surprise you to hear me say that the SCC and those in leadership positions need to listen to these donors. Now I’m not saying I support their positions on each and every issue, but the Iowa GOP can’t rob Peter to pay Paul when it comes to in building a political party.
So what does it mean? It means social conservatives and fiscal conservatives need to find a way to coexist. It’s not a foreign concept since the two main factions of the Republican Party have worked side by side since 1980. Social conservatives need to realize that they can not win elections only on abortion, gay marriage, and cloning. Those issues can help you win elections, and motivate a certain segment of the electorate. On the other hand, fiscal conservatives need to realize that the super majority of social conservatives are fiscal conservatives, it’s just not as big of a priority to them as the social issues are. Simply put, one can't live (win) without the other.
If the two work together we can win elections, if they don’t work together we can’t win anything.
I find it hard to believe that it’s the GOP with the internal bickering and not the Democrats. The GOP has just two main factions while the Dems have multiple factions, just look at their state central committee.
In addition to their district representation, they have statewide representation for the following groups.
The Dems have many more factions to keep happy than the GOP, but they use these groups to organize, and unfortunately the Iowa GOP doesn’t have anything like this. Shouldn’t the GOP be organizing Blacks, Latinos, Veterans, American Indians, Farmers, Business Professionals, and Pro-Family folks? Sure some campaigns do this work, but shouldn’t it be an ongoing process of the party?
The one thing all Republicans should agree on is pocketbook issues. These issues should be the canopy of our big tent, and social conservatives need to be the main pole supporting the center of the canopy. The problem the GOP is having is we don’t have any of the side polls which has created a lot of stress between he canopy and the main pole.
I’m never a fan of the term “big tent ” but you need one to win elections. As a party we like to reminisce about Regan Democrats, but currently our party seems to be against building a winning coalition. To be successful we need to talk about those pocket book issues. Just look at what Mike Huckabee did here in Iowa. Sure he had the support of the social conservatives, but he also spent a lot of time talking about the struggles of the average American. He called for tax simplification, and tax relief. Those who thought he was a one trick pony were mistaken. He built a winning coalition in Iowa by getting social conservatives and people concerned about the economy and jobs to work side by side.
The Iowa GOP needs to strive to do the same, because if they do those donors like Crookham-Johnson and Kirke will feel included, not excluded. Then we can really start talking about winning some elections.