“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11
One of life’s more uncomfortable feelings is arriving at an obligation unprepared. We’ve all been there at one point or another. Life gets in the way. Maybe you overbooked yourself and miss preparing for an important meeting. When we were school children, a common excuse for poor performance was “the dog ate my homework.” In our desire to skirt responsibility for our actions or lack thereof, we formulate predictably bad reasons why our current state isn’t our fault.
Perhaps the worst of all of these excuses is when adults make them. Especially when everyone else in the room knows that you’re being dishonest, and yet you continue to be dishonest anyway. Such is the nature of a lie; it must be covered with more lies. One recent example of this can be found in an article by former Idaho Republican Party Chair Tom Luna.
In a recent article by Mr. Luna, he describes how Republicans can start winning again and then proceeds to go on a diatribe about how everything is Donald Trump’s fault. According to Mr. Luna, we’ve been losing national seats since 2016, and the blame can be found in the mean tweets of Donald Trump. Mr. Luna is quick to take credit for Trump’s policy victories and declare that he and he alone delivered Idaho Trump delegates to the national convention. I don’t recall seeing Tom Luna at the top of the ballot and the tangerine tyrant down the ballot from the ever-popular Luna.
The truth is that Republican leadership, from top to bottom, has been an intentionally horrible failure. Despite Trump’s record domestic and foreign policy performance not seen since Ronald Reagan, and despite the highest Republican minority participation since before the Civil Rights Era, Donald Trump was deemed an abject failure by party leadership. Despite winning 27 out of 27 contested Congressional races in 2020 and having the highest vote total of any incumbent POTUS in history, Donald Trump was made a scapegoat. This is the narrative parroted by the insiders like Tom Luna because this is how they wrestle control of the party back from the grassroots populism that saw Trump leapfrog their made men in 2016.
Donald Trump has not held public office since January 2021. Who has held office, but more importantly, who shares the blame? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, National Republican Party Chair Ronna McDaniel, the niece of Utah Senator Mitt Romney, and even former Idaho Republican Party Chair Tom Luna.
The most important role of the National Republican Party Chair is fundraising. In this regard, Ronna McDaniel has trailed her peers in the Democrat Party. While the RNC raised 862 million dollars during the 2022 midterm cycle, Democrats raised $940 million. You’ve likely been inundated with texts, calls, and emails from WinRed, the Republican Party’s fundraising platform. They happily used it with election integrity messaging after the stolen 2020 election, despite failures to see electoral challenges through the courts.
Perhaps there is no more important role in buying and selling influence at a national level than that of the Senate Majority leader. Senator McConnell is privy to the Senate Leadership Fund that buys media spots for Republican Senatorial Candidates, at least those with whom his favor rests. This was the case with US Senate Candidate Blake Masters from Arizona and US Senate Candidate Don Bolduc of New Hampshire. In the eleventh hour of the midterms, they pulled media spots for these candidates, seeing them outspent by as much as 70 million dollars.
In Alaska, incumbent US Senator Lisa Murkowski, one of the biggest swing voters in the US Senate who often sides with Democrats on key legislation, was fully backed by McConnell’s PAC in opposition to the popular Trump-backed Candidate Kelly Tshibaka. If Mitch McConnell was tired of losing on key legislative initiatives, he would back candidates most likely to deliver a Republican vote when needed. The truth is that McConnell is less concerned about the buying of influence than he is about the selling of influence, which can only be done from the minority position. There is no money to be made as a buyer of votes.
One of the more hotly contested post-election battles is that for Speaker of the US House of Representatives. After Republican voters delivered a majority in the House of Representatives to the Republican Party, Kevin McCarthy stepped up to assume his self-declared rightful position as President Pro Tempore. As speaker of the House, McCarthy would be entitled to be third in line for the US Presidency. The only problem with this, of course, is that McCarthy was exposed by the Washington Post for leftist money from the FTX exchange scandal to oppose MAGA candidates in congressional races. Once again, national Republican Party leadership wasn’t interested in winning if those candidates weren’t prepared to toe the establishment line.
Here in Idaho, Tom Luna was soundly rejected in his re-election bid for Party Chair by delegates to the Idaho Republican Party Convention during the Summer of 2022. Having won his seat in 2020 by a mere 12 votes, Luna was defeated by former Stanley Representative Dorothy Moon by 147 votes. There were several reasons for this, but notably, Mr. Luna chose to bring suit against the unpaid Republican volunteers of Bonneville County, who endorsed a slate of Idaho primary candidates that didn’t align with the establishment’s slate of #TakeBackIdaho candidates. After Luna was removed, candidates to the State Convention then proceeded to rebuke his lawsuit and establish the free endorsement by local party affiliates in the state party’s rules. Republicanism is hanging by a thread in Idaho, and it is only the grassroots volunteers of local parties protecting it.
The Republican Party is a private party, and they’d prefer to keep it that way. Your input is only desired insomuch as you deliver the election results that maintain their desired power structure. They’re happy to lose elections and operate from a position of selling influence versus buying the votes needed for their desired pet projects. This is the true nature of Republican failures to perform. The grassroots that saw a populist candidate like Donald Trump ascend to the Presidency represents an interruption to the influence of inside power brokers. Any failures to perform in the mid-terms were not only by design; they were designed to rest at the feet of MAGA populism.