A Forseeable Consequence

There is an old saying in conservative circles that it doesn’t make sense to elect a fake Democrat when you can elect a real one. If ever that maxim was demonstrated it is in the parlous financial state of Maryland’s Republican Party.

According to the Baltimore Sun:

The state GOP treasurer’s report from July 31 shows the party had $4,615 in cash and $50,500 in debt. Because of lackluster fundraising, the party operated at a $103,536 deficit in the first six months of the year.

A report from the party’s accountants shows that funding from major donors has dried up, and that the party’s major annual fundraising event, the Red, White and Blue Dinner, netted $15,572, less than 10 percent of the amount the party had been counting on.

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The poor fundraising comes at a time when conservative and moderate wings of the party are fighting over whether the party should take sides in state Sen. Andrew P. Harris’ primary challenge to Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, a stark contrast to the unity and strength that the party displayed during former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.’s term.

The article is right on one count. When the Ehrlich administration was swept from office then it became counterintuitive for a lot of large donors to give to Maryland’s Republican party. I don’t subscribe to the McCain-Feingold fiction that money leads to corruption, but money does give you the access to make your case. In Maryland who would pay to have access to Republican lawmakers?

But to lay the slump in fundraising for the state party essentially at Senator Andy Harris’s door for his challenge to Democrat Wayne Gilchrest is silly. For the record, I support Senator Harris but I think political parties have no business whatsoever intervening in party primaries and it is hard to see how an alleged push by Senator Harris to have the party help him out is either 1) a rational expectation or 2) causes a decrease in contributions. In fact, I’d challenge the Sun to find two examples of a state Republican party interfering in a primary to the benefit of a conservative.

The part of the puzzle they miss is the lack of contributions by small donors.

My view on donating to political parties is encapsulated here. I give to candidates and to causes. I’m not going to spend a penny to re-elect Wayne Gilchrest or to promote nominal Republicans like former Representative Connie Morella. I might donate to the national Republican party but not to either the NRSC or NRCC.

More and more of those of us who voted for Ronald Reagan are beginning to see a slow motion attempted coup underway in the party via such rump groups as the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group that was thoroughly repudiated at the polls in 2006 yet continues to insist that it has something to offer the national party.

I fully understand that both caucuses will need squishy middle-of-the-roaders to achieve a majority in Congress. They, however, can run for office using someone else’s money. When the Maryland Republican party decides that we conservatives should be inside the “big tent” then we can talk.

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