Fairbanks, AK – There are still more than 27,000 votes to be counted in the Alaska Republican Primary for United States Senate. More than likely, the Establishment candidate, former Attorney General Dan Sullivan, will be the Republican nominee going forward.
The Establishment has claimed victory, and the media has all but declared the reform movement dead. But is that really the take-away? Let’s look at some facts.
Throughout the primary, pollsters and pundits laughed off Joe Miller’s candidacy as a Quixote run. By summer 2014, the polls showed him 25 points behind his Establishment opponents. And almost all of the high profile national Tea Party and conservative groups pushing insurgent challengers around the country left him for dead, offering no help. Several of the local conservative activist groups maintained a posture of neutrality, acting as virtual subsidiaries of the Republican Party.
The Club for Growth, usually a reliable ally of movement conservatives, linked arms with Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, the US Chamber of Commerce, Paul Singer’s Friends for an American Majority, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and other Establishment Republicans in support of their golden boy, Dan Sullivan.
Further, other Washington conservatives like Erick Erickson at RedState.com and Phyllis Schlafly at Eagle Forum jumped on the bandwagon of the supposedly “more electable” Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell, who finished a distant third.
What makes this spectacle even more outrageous is that Mead Treadwell has never been a movement conservative, though he did adopt a platform redolent with conservative rhetoric.
Dan Sullivan spent about four million dollars during the primary, and his SuperPACs spent millions more.
Joe Miller, essentially going it alone, spent less than $400K, while Mead Treadwell’s million-dollar plus conservative act cut a significant swath out of his base. Why? Because conservatives didn’t unite behind Miller. Yet, the Alaska Republican primary was still winnable.
The entry of Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and James Dobson gave Miller a significant boost. But it was just too late in the game to be decisive. Miller had run out of money and couldn’t close the gap.
The takeaway is something very different than the media and the beltway consultant class would have you believe. The truth is, 60% of Republicans weren’t swayed by the multimillion-dollar Establishment media blitz put on by Sullivan, Rove, and the US Chamber of Commerce.
Nor were they particularly enamored with Sullivan’s faux conservative schtick, a rhetorical tactic adopted by all the high-profile Establishment candidates around the country this cycle. If rhetoric counts, the Tea Party has already won.
The Alaska Republican primary was always going to come down to how the electorate was divided. If there was a clearly defined conservative up against two moderates, the conservative would win. On the other hand, if it was two conservatives dividing the base, over against one moderate, the moderate would win.
The reticence of the conservative movement to coalesce behind Miller cost us a seat to the Establishment. And given Sullivan’s rather weak position both with conservatives and libertarian independents, it could end in the re-election of Democrat Mark Begich. Surely Harry Reid and Barack Obama are applauding in the shadows.
But the demise of the reform movement is greatly exaggerated. It is time for conservatives to stop being cowed by pragmatic arguments and partisan politics. We must unite behind conservative candidates and ideas. And for the love of all that’s good, stop allowing phony polls to drive the agenda. Let’s put conservative unity above Republican unity. If we do, the future is ours.
The outcome in Alaska should lay the official establishment media narrative to rest. Conservatives didn’t lose; they surrendered.
If the right lessons are taken from this temporary setback, 2016 can be a banner year for conservatives.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom