- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 5, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

President Donald Trump has ushered in a new age of politics, one that’s not been seen since Ronald Reagan’s day, that supporters see as putting people over pols, citizens over Capitol Hill.

And boy, are the RINOs on edge about that. So oust ‘em, some say.

The trouble is it’s easier said than done. Here’s why. And more importantly, here’s how to do it.

“Few things in life are more predictable than the chances of an incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives winning reelection,” the Center for Responsive Politics wrote, in its OpenSecrets.org website. “With wide name recognition, and usually an insurmountable advantage in campaign cash, House incumbents typically have little trouble holding onto their seats.”

In 2010, there was a bit of a shakeup, and only about 85 percent of House incumbents facing reelection actually kept their seats. And that low — because that’s what that 85 percent reelection success rate represents, a 50-year low — hadn’t been seen since 1970. Typically, according to CRP’s chart, House members retain their seats for at least one election cycle upwards of 90 percent of the time.

In the Senate — where we just saw Blue Ribbon RINO John McCain give the dramatic thumbs-down to Obamacare repeal, even after vowing to voters in his most recent campaign railings he would repeal, repeal, repeal — challengers have a slightly better chance of winning against the incumbent.

But not much.

“Senate races still overwhelmingly favor the incumbent,” CRP reported. “Big swings in the national mood can sometimes topple long time office-holders, as happened with the Reagan revolution in 1980. Even so, years like that are an exception.”

In Reagan’s time, the reelection success rate for incumbent senators fell to 55 percent or so — but it’s not been that low in five decades.

Nowadays?Reelection rates for these pols have hovered upwards of 79 percent since 1986, the one year that there was a slight lull in incumbent favor and only 75 percent or so of seated senators won back their slots. Still, it’s not much of a lull, right?

All this — yet time and again, year after year, election after election, American conservatives around the country rise up with collective cries to demand the ousting of the RINOs.

With all this outcry — why is it so hard to boot?

In a word, money.

Political upstarts just don’t have the money to take on party-supported and entrenched Republicans. And these RINOs often share their campaign wealth — their surplus funds — with weaker candidates, helping them stave off challengers that threaten to compete.

“In recent years, especially as the balance of power in the House and Senate has remained close, members have been strongly encouraged to share their excess money and deliver some of it to races that are truly competitive,” CRP reported. “The money is delivered in two ways: either directly from the member’s campaign committee or through contributions from the member’s ‘leadership PAC.’”

The leadership PAC delivery method to candidates is especially favored by Republicans. We’re talking amounts in recent election cycles that range from $12 million to $30 million.

For Republicans who play the party game, even at the expense of the constituents’ concern, it’s Message Received: The party will return the favor with money.

That’s how we get headlines like this, from Zero Hedge, back in 2015: “79 Members of Congress Have Been in Office for at Least 20 Years.” On that list, from the Republican side: McCain, of course, along with fellow Sens. Charles Grassley, Orrin Hatch and Mitch McConnell. Lindsey Graham, by contrast, hasn’t surpassed his 20-year mark of Senate service, yet — but as any political watcher will note, he’s already made great strides in the art of RINOism that will carry him, very likely, to another win in 2020.

Well and good. But the Founding Fathers didn’t want an entrenched, long-serving political class. In fact, George Washington laid the groundwork for what U.S. politics was supposed to be when he declined, after two presidential terms, to run again, saying this country wasn’t a kingdom, but rather an “of, by and for the people” style democratic republic.

Yet here we are in 2017, and an entrenched class is what we have — a tough-as-nails RINO rule that’s nearly impossible, according to compiled statistics, to oust. So what’s the solution?

Term limits have been tossed about as an idea. But for First Amendment idealists, the idea of core freedoms like speech and expression, also known as voting, being tossed to the side by government mandate is a sticking point.

So here are a couple other sound solutions that don’t intrude on constitutional purist concerns: First and foremost, stop funding the main political parties. Instead, fund the smaller non-governmental activist and nonprofit groups that do the real fighting for the little people on Capitol Hill and elsewhere.

Our Second Amendment rights, say, don’t stay intact because all the politicians in Congress think we deserve them or regard them as God-given. Our Second Amendment rights stay intact in large part because the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights outfits, backed by dollars and vocal support from hundreds of thousands of Americans, insist those politicians on Capitol Hill who might waver and cave to gun control advocates instead stay strong.

That’s a shining example of how private citizens can make their voices heard on Capitol Hill.

Funding these types of groups — lobbyists, nonprofits, single-issue organizations, private entities — on all kinds of issues and matters, rather than, say, the Republican National Committee, gives voice to the people, keeps the Big Party pols in check and ensures constitutional interests are properly represented.

Another solution to the RINOs who ail?

Return the U.S. Senate to state legislature control.

The Founding Fathers intended senators to represent the wills of the states — not serve as simply longer-tenured House lawmakers.

“To balance the power between the large and small states, the Constitution’s framers agreed that states would be represented equally in the Senate and in proportion to their populations in the House,” the U.S. Senate’s historical webpage reads. “Further preserving the authority of individual states, they provided that state legislatures would elect senators.”

Yes, indeed — that’s wisdom right there. The two-year serving congressional members would be voted by the people, to serve the people, while the six-year serving senators would be elected by state legislatures, to serve the state interests. Can you say Tenth Amendment? Nowadays, not so much.

RINO rule in Congress in large part is because of the self-interested sharing of power, money and assistance among members. Upsetting this balance by redirecting funding away from the formal political parties that provide it — and toward the smaller nonprofits and private groups that truly fight for the underrepresented American — is a quick and easy solution most Americans can implement immediately.

Stripping the Senate of its popular vote-type process and putting its members back under the accountability of the states is a longer term campaign — but one that would prove long lasting.

Think of the possibilities. Instead of opportunists, elitists and self-serving RINOs, we’d have true servants of the people. We’d have a political class in constant check, in complete accountability to the people and to the states — we’d have a system of governance the Founding Fathers would truly approve.

RINO hunters, prepare to mount.

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