RIP Tennessee Republican Party.
The Tennessee Republican Party died on April 19, 2017.
Ten years after the GOP became the majority party in Tennessee, led by a liberal governor, the party committed political suicide.
By voting for the largest tax increase in the history of the state of Tennessee, the Republicans in the state legislature knifed their base in the back and repudiated everything they claim to stand for. Tennessee Republicans routinely make campaign speeches talking about how conservative they are and how they believe in limited government.
Today, Tennessee’s conservative base knows this is a lie. Despite that, these same politicians will return home and tell the local people how conservative they are. Clearly these politicians think that the people who make up base are idiots. After all, they seriously think they can name the largest tax increase in the history of the state, the “Tax Cut Act of 2017” and expect the base to believe them.
Unfortunately, the Tennessee Republicans supermajority in the legislature chose to listen to a lame duck, feckless crap weasel governor instead of the people who put them in office.
Since the Tennessee Republicans did not listen to their base, it is time for the base to make them feel pain. Every Republican who voted for the largest tax increase in the history of the state should be primaried.
Conservatives must begin now to find credible candidates who can run against the tax and spend liberals who voted for the Tax Increase Act of 2017.
Conservatives need to understand a few things. Good candidates are hard to find. And just because a good candidate runs, that does not mean they will win. But if conservatives unite, enough of these candidates will fall so that a message is sent.
Among the first targets should be liberal, faux Republican Sam Whitson. Whitson challenged former Representative Jeremy Durham in 2016. In previous years, Durham led the opposition to Governor Haslam’s liberal agenda. But between being targeted by the left wing of the Republican Party and self-inflicted problems, Whitson defeated Durham.
Whitson’s biggest primary supporter was a group called “Stand for Children.” The Nashville Director of Stand for Children in 2016 was Daniel O’Donnell. O’Donnell was a former campaign staffer and later White House staffer for Barack Obama. That should have been the first clue about Whitson’s liberal credentials.
Whitson is not the only one who should be targeted. House Speaker Beth Harwell, who thinks she will be the next governor, voted for the bill. And no one should forget the infamous, Barry “Boss” Doss, who made certain the rules be damned, so the massive tax hike could be passed.
The Tennessee Republican Party is no longer a conservative party. It is not even a Republican Party. It has become the Nashville “uniparty.” It stands for nothing more than being reelected and keeping its power. The TNGOP feels it owes nothing to the base and the base should reciprocate.
If Tennessee Republicans are going to be a tax and spend party, then the conservative base should vote against them. If these liberals survive primary challenges, then conservatives should vote for the Democrat in the race or if there is a credible Libertarian candidate, vote for that person.
Republicans often run on the threat that if we do not elect them, the Democrats will win.
After the passage of the Haslam/Harwell/Doss/Whitson tax hike, “at this point, what difference does it make?”
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Judson Phillips is a Tennessee attorney and founder of Tea Party Nation.