Dave Simpson: Don't Be A Weak-Sauce Republican

Columnist Dave Simpson writes, "A transplant from Oregon expected to find Republican Red-State nirvana when he moved to Wyoming. That's not what he found."

Dave Simpson

May 20, 20244 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Guy running for the Wyoming Senate showed up at our place Saturday afternoon.

I was busy out back, mowing, but he left a slick campaign flier on our doorknob. It said all the stuff you expect to hear. Low taxes, small government, jobs, promoting “Wyoming values.”

Protecting “unborn life,” banning critical race theory, DEI (Diversity Equity and Inclusion), and “gender/sexuality indoctrination.” He likes vocational education, guns, cops, and doesn't want illegal immigrants voting.

There was a picture of the candidate in a cowboy hat, with a horse. Gotta have that horse.

It's easy to be cynical about candidates and the promises they make. I believe the expression is “Yadda, Yadda, Yadda.”

I was reminded, however, of an email I got the other day. Here's what a recent transplant from Oregon had to say:

“As my wife and I approached the thought of, gasp, retirement, we pondered the idea of living elsewhere other than our home state of Oregon, which had been continuously invaded by liberals fleeing California, beings all the great ideas they voted for now had screwed up their beloved former state and now they were taking those same voting skills (or lack thereof), to their new home state, Oregon.

“We looked at Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming and ruled out each one other than Wyoming, based on WHY we were leaving Oregon and the chances in our lifetime of it happening to our new home state. Wyoming won that, plus as added bonus, less people, less taxes and a deep Red state.

“ Right?

“What we have noticed since moving here is a very large swath of lawmakers who 'claim' to be a Republican, wave the flag, pro 2A, etc. Their voting habits, or irregularities, show otherwise. What we have seen at a … county Republican forum, were all the lawmakers from the county there and all were on the same sheet of music voting-wise.” (He lists two exceptions.)

“When one gets onto the state's site and starts seeing who votes for what and where they stand (or claim to) it gets rather disappointing, worse, how they traditionally vote along Democratic party lines almost always. Wyorino really drove this fact home for me. Then one starts seeing the 'cliques' in local politicians and who runs with who, then the light gets much brighter.

“It's my opinion that unless things change and in quick fashion, Wyoming has all the potential of turning into another Oregon... Wyoming Republicans have no idea what they are up against and perhaps take things for granted that things will 'Just work out.'

“Well, they won't, and there is a whole lot at stake, in my opinion.”

 “Many do not get these dynamics,” he wrote in a followup email, “and to them I say, 'Move to Oregon for a couple years and let me know how that works out.'”

Some will dismiss his thoughts as unsolicited observations from a newcomer, someone from somewhere else offering advice. But it's a warning not to make mistakes made elsewhere.

Radio pundit Dan Bongino makes the observation that in Washington, “There are Republicans who are really Democrats, but there are no Democrats who are really Republicans.”

Same here. We hear plenty from the Wyoming Caucus that is critical of the Freedom Caucus.

I notice, however, that Freedom Caucus folks tend to stand up for issues I care about, like spending less, limited government, parents raising kids instead of schools raising kids, keeping X-rated stuff out of school libraries, and (for the love of Pete), not letting children make life-altering decisions on gender.

I side with the much-criticized Freedom Caucus, and look at the many folks in the Wyoming Caucus – who have been running things for many years - as the Weak Sauce Republicans.

Freedom Caucus folks have made strides in recent elections, and could find themselves in the majority if they win some key legislative races in November. Could go either way.

Keep that in mind when someone with a flier shows up at your door. If it's an incumbent, check him or her out on the numerous voting record sites on the Web.

Find out if you're looking at a Hatfield or a McCoy.

This is important. We don't want to be like Oregon.

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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.