An open letter to my fellow Republicans by Ralph Spampanato
Dear fellow Republican,
Unite or Die was the slogan during our nation’s founding. I believe once again we must unite or die, this time as a political party.
While the money for the 2016 presidential campaign is being gobbled up by Jeb Bush, I do not believe it will translate into votes from the more conservative members of the party. In fact, it is my belief that the nomination of Jeb Bush will result in electing another democrat. It will also be the beginning of the end of our party.
Jeb Bush is not the only potential candidate that will result in this unfortunate prediction. I will also add Chris Christie, John Kasich and Mike Huckabee. All of whom are progressive and big government republicans. Their support of Medicaid expansion, common core and amnesty for illegal aliens are non starters for grass root conservatives.
Progressives do not own the potential splitting of the party. The conservative wing of the party has their own and they include Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Neither can win in a general election and for different reasons. Paul will lose based on his isolationist foreign policy positions and Cruz because he is viewed as an uncompromising conservative. Many of those who support Rand Paul will support him and no one else. That is a stance that will lead to a loss in November. On a positive note both these gentleman will offer an opportunity in the debates to expand our base and articulate the conservative message, so I welcome them in the political process.
I have been involved in the Tea Party movement since its inception in 2009 and currently serve as a Board member of the Ohio Liberty Coalition. I am also very active within my county Republican Party and serve on the Central and Executive Committees. In 2012 based on my volunteer efforts for the Romney campaign, I was the Stark County Republican Male Volunteer of the Year. I value working together and have often advocated others to do the same.
However, based on conversations I have had across the state and what I have been reading in social media, there is no way a progressive big government republican will be supported by many conservatives in the party. I will add, if a progressive is nominated there will likely be as many republican protesters outside the convention as there are celebrants inside. Those outside will stay home in November as 4 million did in 2012. The more troubling issue will be when they stay home this time they will likely leave the party.
Ronald Reagan is famous for saying; I did not leave the democrat party the democrat party left me. Many Republicans will feel the same way and begin their exodus. We (party membership) need to realize we will not get everything we want and must be able to unite behind candidate(s) that are acceptable to the majority of the party and not force or mandate their divisive choice on others.
Early in the Tea Party movement there was a large contingent that wanted a third party. I was and currently am steadfast against a third party. I am a proud republican and will remain so. There were many conversations and heated arguments in meetings across the state. Those who wanted to work within the party structure won the day.
There was a lack of trust between the party and grass root conservatives that in many cases has not been resolved. I have been told point blank. If another progressive big government republican is nominated, I am staying home and will look for another political party.
I am not writing this as a threat but rather as information. Many participants in the political process in the Republican Party and grass roots either have not made the effort to communicate or have been disillusioned by the other. Communication is the key in any relationship. The grass roots must attend their Lincoln day dinners and other Party functions and politely advocate their beliefs. I ask the Party to remain open minded and do not dismiss the activist out of hand. Listen to their concerns. They are the individuals you count on for knocking on doors and making the phone calls. They talk to and interact with the general public and have knowledge and information those in the political establishment do not. The grass roots have come a long way but in many instances may not have the technical knowledge or understanding required in running a campaign. We either work together with a candidate we both can work for or the Republican Party will go the way of the Whigs. It can no longer be my way or the highway.