By Doug Gerard, guest columnist
I’d never thought I’d see the day when a former Wyoming Republican Chairman would act more like Hillary Clinton than Ronald Reagan, but here we are.
Matt Micheli’s recent peddling of his ‘alt-right’ and the Wyoming GOP conspiracy theory echoes Hilary Clinton bemoaning the vast-right-wing-conspiracy working against her at every turn. Despite his track record as a fiscal and social conservative, Micheli’s claims are hogwash.
No matter how many times Mr. Micheli or others make claims to the contrary, today’s Wyoming Republican Party is the same as it ever has been.
Need proof? Here are the platforms from 2020, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2012, and 2010. You’ll notice while there may be changes to the phrasing, Wyoming Republicans maintain their conservative message of individual liberty, fiscal responsibility, family, and country.
So, what’s changed?
In a nutshell, fresh leadership, a groundswell from the grassroots, and the notion that officials elected as Republicans should vote like Republicans.
And what caused the change?
Its roots go back to 2014 when the Republican Party stood up for its conservative principles and brought Governor Matt Mead to a censure vote.
Governor Mead’s conduct and handling of Senate File 104 was the source of much concern in the state. While Governor Mead narrowly escaped censure, it sent an important message: the Wyoming GOP would hold our elected officials accountable for their actions.
Since then, across the state, county parties are electing county chairs, state-committee women, and men that stand up for Republican principles, forthrightly asking elected Republicans to support the Republican Platform according to the Reagan Rule. While there are exceptions, many Wyoming Republicans no longer support liberal legislators because they put an ‘R’ after their name.
Interestingly, during Chairman Micheli’s tenure, the state party first denied funding to Republican candidates because they did not toe the Republican Platform line.
The idea that elected Republicans support 80 percent of the Republican Platform (the Reagan Rule) is resurgent at the grassroots level. Unsurprisingly liberal Republicans hate the idea. It’s what gave birth to the Frontier Republicans. They don’t want to be held accountable to the Republican Platform. They want to use the ‘R’ to gain victory and then behave as they please.
This year 2020 has shown that the division between Liberal-Republicans and run of the mill Republicans is at an all-time high. Despite claims to the contrary, Frontier Republicans and their fellow travelers are stoking that divide.
Despite calls for civility in politics, the liberal Republicans have done their best to sabotage the Wyoming Republican Party. For example, Frontier Republicans and their assorted minions have:
- At their opening meeting called for civility and then immediately called those they disagree with ‘cockroaches.’
- Supported the campaigns of Democrats
- Boycotted fundraisers for the Wyoming Republican party
- Held a fundraiser for Frontier Republicans while the Wyoming Republican Party honored the Wyoming congressional delegation.
- Stormed out of the state convention after losing several votes by decisive two-thirds majorities.
There is more, of course, but you get the idea. It’s as if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had a teach-in with the Frontier Republicans to show them how to attack the Republican base.
Matt Micheli and his new liberal friends claim conservatives never offer solutions. It simply isn’t true! As a one-time conservative ally, Micheli knows better.
For example, the Republicans from Campbell County, who won stunning and decisive primary victories, already have offered a Contract with Campbell County detailing what they want to do in the next legislative session. Other Republicans fresh from primary victories are looking at different ideas focused on spending less and protecting Wyoming citizens from new taxes.
Liberals don’t like it and, like liberals nationwide, blame conservative Republicans for everything.
No matter how you slice it, Wyoming Republicans have always been conservative. Thanks to a groundswell from the grassroots, the Wyoming Republican Party is pushing back against the ultra-liberal, high tax, job-killing ideas, from Democrats or Republicans.
It is sad to see Matt turn all Hillary on us.