Point #117: Making Oregon Great Again: The Grassroots Revitalization of the Oregon Republican Party (and the Defeat of the Ruling Class)

November 28th, 2018

Following is the first part of the Preface of my new book, “Making Oregon Great Again: The Grassroots Revitalization of the Oregon Republican Party (and the Defeat of the Ruling Class).”

The book is in final editing now, and we’ll release it soon. Feel free to share this post with your friends.

In the most recent Oregon Republican gubernatorial primary contest, there were a total of ten candidates.

When the votes were tallied on May 15th, Knute Buehler had won the race with 144,103 votes. I came in second with 90,572.

Buehler, the lone Republican establishment “moderate” candidate, a two-term Salem House legislator, won forty-six percent of the total vote. As one of nine grassroots candidates, and with no government experience, I took twenty-nine percent.

By election day, Buehler had spent nine times more than our campaign had spent: $4,000,000 vs. $450,000.

Each vote cost him twenty-eight dollars. Ours came at five dollars each.

But that fiscal dichotomy was just one of many curious nuances in the primary campaign. Truth is, it took way more than nine times more spending for progressive-lite Buehler to defeat me: a traditional conservative, pro-life, small government, pro-President Trump candidate with no professional fundraisers, no political consultants, and a tiny campaign staff of three.

Although I lost the race, the details of what happened illustrate the incredible power of the Oregon conservative grassroots. In these pages, I’ll talk a lot about those details as I pointedly reassure you that we already have everything we need to turn this state red over the next four years.

Unsurprisingly, in the November 6, 2018 general election, Buehler failed to defeat sitting governor Kate Brown. Even with the advantage of running against an unpopular and scandal-plagued governor, and with nearly twenty million dollars in his war chest, he lost by over seven percentage points.

Knute Buehler didn’t just lose. He allowed Brown – one of the least popular sitting governors in the nation – a clear majority win and thus a mandate to continue her progressive Democrat shenanigans. And Buehler’s inability to turn out Republican voters to drive Republican success down-ballot, resulted in a wholesale, top-to-bottom shellacking: Oregon Democrats gained super-majorities in both chambers of the Legislature, and all conservative ballot measures went down in flames. Generally, local elections didn’t go well, either.

It was an election night catastrophe.

(And, about those super-majorities: Oregon is only the third state in the country to have supermajority House and Senate chambers. The other two? You’ve already guessed that California is one. The other is Illinois.)

Imagine what could have been accomplished if some of that twenty million dollars had instead been expended in Oregon House and Senate races?

But Buehler’s actual loss was NOT a curious nuance. It was predictable from day one. My team and I knew from the very start that if Buehler were to survive the primary election to become the Republican nominee, he would ultimately be defeated in the general election no matter what he said or did; no matter how much money he spent.

It’s my guess that you, in your heart-of-hearts, knew that, too.

Yet, oddly enough and contrary to conventional wisdom, Buehler’s loss is not all bad news for conservative grassroots Oregonians. I risk being mocked as a disloyal Republican here, but with a Buehler win, where would we conservatives have gone? How could we have challenged a Republican governor, no matter his leftist proclivities?

From Buehler’s win and into the future, there could have been no conservative political resuscitation of Oregon because Buehler and his emboldened party leadership would have continued to shift the Republican party leftward.

The price of victory by a progressive establishment Republican? The Oregon conservative grassroots would have been finished.

In Oregon, for over thirty years, various iterations of this Republican loss have occurred in statewide races, almost always caused by simple mechanical manipulations of our primary elections by the well-organized/well-funded Democrat Progressive Left, their wheels greased by an intimidated, and therefore hapless Oregon Republican Party that, in gubernatorial contests especially, habitually produces candidates who concede to the Left.

Our losses have not been the fault of a few “blue” counties, and our Republican electorate is not lazy.

The simple reason for our continued state-wide losses? Too many of our state-wide nominees have not been openly conservative.

And apologizing for one’s background does not inspire confidence.

The Republican establishment’s preferred cross-the-aisle gubernatorial nominees have never electrified the Republican base…never mind the many unhappy Democrat, Independent, Libertarian and unaffiliated voters who are waiting for something different and are ready for change.

In our primary races, the repeated bully-tactic manipulations of the Left, the establishment Right, and the mainstream media, have never been distilled for Oregon Republican voters. This is why those manipulations are repeated in every election cycle, always to the benefit of progressive-leftists, as they, ultimately, determine which Republican will be running against their chosen candidate. So, in these pages I will chronicle the machinations of this most recent Oregon Republican primary race, a real-life example of how “the other side” works.

Let’s learn from it and let’s not let it happen again.

I’ll talk about the perpetrators and name names. I was in the vortex of the primary election chaos so I know what I’m talking about.

It is unquestionable that our first next step is to rebuild our own Oregon Republican Party from the bottom up, specifically by replacing the establishment “Ruling Class” statewide leadership with President Trump-supporting, grassroots conservatives. There is no way we will be able to stop the progressive Left in Salem without first eliminating our own party’s core dysfunction.

Prediction: immediately upon the release of this book I will be labeled a radical extremist right-winger, a liar, a fraud and fake, and worse, by establishment Republicans and those liberals posing as Republicans. I was castigated in the Republican primary race with those allegations and so it’s certain it will happen again now. But this time I challenge my accusers in advance: what precisely are the lies? And, don’t be character-assaulting name-callers, tossing out nasty pejoratives if you can’t support them. That’s grade-school behavior.

And in return, I ask our ORP leadership a simple question: why should you stay in power after this most recent electoral disaster?

You want to continue to lead our party? Are you…kidding?

(And to these current establishment power-brokers of the ORP: As we get ready for the leadership elections in mid-February, know in advance that if you swing at me, I will call you out quickly and pointedly. And if you try to explain-away our current electoral nightmare as the fault of conservative Republicans who don’t dance to your tune, I will – simply by relying on plain common sense and by pointing out indisputable facts – make you look silly.)

In Salem, you and I will be able to take control of government leadership once we understand the specific elements of the progressive Left’s strategic formula that is based on little more than myth and intimidation, and if – and only if – we simultaneously install a Trump-like backbone in our own state ORP.

Know this for sure: regular conservative Americans like you and me are not the fools the political elite not-so-subtly suggests we are.

In the primary race, I had zero support from the powers-that-be. Why? Because my campaign was dedicated to “the 90%,” the majority of our base that is made up of smart, hard-working truly conservative Oregonians who not only support our President, but who are damn tired of being ignored and then disrespected by elites on both sides of the aisle.

For the Republican Ruling Class, that’s not a popular positioning.

A proper Preface discusses the pragmatic reasons why the author wrote the book that follows. I’m a mechanical kind of a guy, so here are my ten reasons, point by point. Let’s get to it.

  1. I want to lay out a simple yet potent plan for seizing Republican control of our state government in Salem; to achieve an Oregon red trifecta by 2022. What is a red trifecta? It’s the combination of a Republican governor and Republican leadership of both chambers of the legislature – the House and the Senate. And yes, in the spirit of the Great Oregon Red Trifecta, we’ll also assertively go after our House and Senate districts as well as the four other statewide executive positions coming up for election over the next four years. There are our U.S. congressional districts in 2020. And in 2020 and 2022 let’s get geared up for U.S. Senate races. Right now, we have a blue trifecta and, going back for decades, we Republicans have had little power in Salem. Our past efforts at gaining control have failed miserably so we must discard those flawed approaches and execute a new game plan, one that has been successfully applied in dozens of other states. And to accomplish this – establishing Republican power and control in Salem – we must have potent ORP leadership dedicated to a single mission: finding, cultivating, endorsing, training, protecting, and promoting great candidates for public office. We need a farm-team operation, and we must pointedly keep candidates within legal and ethical bounds. If the ORP can’t do this, Oregon will remain blue. Starting immediately, our state ORP must be reconstructed under new leadership. The applecart gets turned over in the ORP executive board elections coming up February 16th, 2019.
  2. Critical to executing the above plan successfully, I want to give our wonderful Oregon Republican grassroots conservatives reason to stay emboldened. For a long while, a few of my close supporters and I have suspected there was enormous power in our Republican base: more people and more energy than what seemed apparent, and I incessantly talked about it as a candidate in the gubernatorial primary race. It was ironic and counterintuitive, but it wasn’t until after Buehler’s nomination victory on primary election day last May 15th that my wife Diana, our close friends, and I, knew for sure that regular conservative grassroots Republicans – literally 90% of our party – wield enormous collective power and must no longer be channeled by our establishment leadership, leadership which represents just 10% of our party. For sure, due to a combination of Donald Trump’s potent leadership in DC, the power of the huge majority of the Republican base, Knute Buehler’s decisive loss, and a thirty-year history of powerlessness in Salem – the establishment ORP contingent that has been running our party now stands utterly discredited. The Oregon conservative grassroots iron is hot, and it’s time to strike.
  3. And as a learning opportunity for Oregon conservatives, it’s critical to dissect this most recent gubernatorial primary race…(to be continued in a subsequent post…).