Dave Simpson: Oh Good, California Professors Want To Save Wyoming

Columnist Dave Simpson writes, "Two professors in California have hope for us. They hope we can get over our silly concerns over vaccine mandates, gender-altering procedures on children, boys playing girls' sports, and talking sex to First Graders in Wyoming."

Dave Simpson

September 15, 20234 min read

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Don't look now, but two college professors in California have Wyoming Republicans under a magnifying glass.

They point out that feisty folks like us – almost 70 percent of us voted for Trump in 2020 – often can't get bills through our GOP-controlled legislature.

Professors Stephanie Muravchik and Jon A. Shielde, of Claremont McKenna College (located east of Los Angeles) wrote an essay that appeared last week in The New York Times about their upcoming book on the Wyoming GOP, titled “The Republican Civil War.” 

One might think they could explore how Democratic control has decimated cities like San Francisco, where the federal government recently told workers at the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building to work from home because of rampant crime in the city.

Or they might explore Joe Biden's throwing open the southern border, causing even moon-calf sanctuary city mayors (uniformly Democrats) to suddenly object to illegal immigrants streaming in, at great cost.

But, no, the professors are focusing on Wyoming Republicans (like us) who have been “seduced by national conservatism.” (Think Fox News).

“Even if there is a border crisis, for example” the essay states, “the State of Wyoming can't do much about it.” (They apparently don't believe there's a border crisis.)

Our own Rep. Landon Brown, a “Republican,” told the professors, “We have spent more time debating a non-issue (the border crisis) than fixing our budget issue.”

Our Rep. Cathy Connolly, former House minority leader, agreed. “There is no solution to a non-problem.”


According to the professors, “Whipping up people's passions may be galvanizing for now, but at some point, people will realize that their government hasn't done anything to improve their day-to-day lives.”

(I say keep your paws off my day-to-day life.)

Alleged  “non issues” apparently include an attempt to ban nutty, ill-advised sanctuary cities here, an attempt to ban vaccine mandates, a ban on sex-change surgery and treatments on children (that died in the House), and a ban on talking about sex options with Kindergarten through Third Grade children (also DOA in the House).

Issues like that, popular with voters, have been defeated, watered down, sidetracked, or sent to exile in the Speaker's drawer, by “the old guard conservatives,” according to the professors, “who have even joined their fellow Democrats on certain issues” in states like Texas, Ohio and Alaska, “much as they have here in Wyoming.”

Joined THEIR FELLOW DEMOCRATS? (Now that's what I call a Freudian slip.)

“The old guard is having some success defending it's own way of doing politics,” the professors found, and “fought to preserve some semblance of the old decorum.”

“In fact, just last year it stripped its Trumpiest state senator of his committee assignments for a pattern of intimidating and intemperate speech.”

(That's my state senator they're talking about. He was reportedly mean to a lobbyist. I saw the video. Didn't seem very intimidating to me.)

“Of course, on their own, such rear-guard tactics won't be enough to save the Wyoming way.”

(Save the Wyoming way? I might have to breathe into a paper bag until my head stops spinning.)

“Champions of the old way must also do the hard work of aggressively recruiting local candidates and precinct committee chairs. It prevailed against some of the most ultra-MAGA candidates and won enough critical races to maintain control of the State Legislature.

“That success gives us reason to hope. After all, if the new nationalized politics can be held at bay in Trump-loving Wyoming, then perhaps it can be resisted anywhere.”

So our professor friends have hope for us. That's nice. They hope we can get over our silly concerns over vaccine mandates, gender-altering procedures on children, boys playing girls' sports, talking sex to First Graders, and establishing crazy sanctuary cities in Wyoming.

What a load of bull.

What we're talking about here is common sense Wyoming voters declaring that our kids, and those who don't want to take experimental vaccines, and our non-sanctuary communities are hills worth dying on.

The “old guard” has chosen at times to get in front of a voting bloc that stood solidly behind Trump in 2020, and sent Liz Cheney packing in 2022.

If they want to stand in front of that speeding locomotive, well, I'm going to get a bowl of popcorn and watch.

Dave Simpson can be reached at: DaveSimpson145@hotmail.com

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.