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Can True Conservatives Win in Primaries

 

Written By: Art McGrath

5/29/2015

In many presidential elections, conservatives have been frustrated that they get stuck with establishment Republicans such as John McCain or Mitt Romney, their votes often lost among a plethora of candidates. A group of New Hampshire conservatives has a plan to consolidate behind a constitutional conservative in advance of the pivotal first-in-the-nation New Hampshire Primary, coming up in February.

The group, the 603 Alliance, sees itself as a potential model for conservatives in other states that are sick of having establishment RINOs foisted upon them election after election. At a recent meeting in Littleton, New Hampshire, organizers of the 603 Alliance presented their plans to interested conservatives who share their frustration.

Before getting down to business, they psyched themselves up for the task at hand by watching clips of Ronald Reagan’s inaugural addresses. Especially inspiring were two famous lines— government is not the solution, it is the problem, and it is not the job of the government to make good people, but the job of the people to make a good government.

Another member of the steering committee, Andrew Hemingway, who was the 2014 Republican gubernatorial candidate, grilled some of the conservatives at the meeting about many of the potential candidates and which ones were acceptable to them ideologically. There were many good candidates, he said. Too many, and because of that, the conservative vote would be split up and more than likely Jeb Bush would be the candidate. Governor Chris Christie would not win, and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina would stay in the race just long enough so that South Carolina would be out of play for a conservative candidate. 

The primary process can be deceptive, and make it appear as if the leading candidate has more support than he really does.

If Jeb Bush becomes the nominee, there is no way he could beat presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Hemingway said.

The primary process can be deceptive, and make it appear as if the leading candidate has more support than he really does. 603 Alliance organizers said that with so many conservative candidates, votes are spread out among them. If Bush wins with 35 percent, and several other candidates such as Cruz, PaulCarson and Fiorina get 15, 10, 7 and 5 percent, it would appear like Bush won by a great margin when in reality the votes of the conservatives, spread among several other candidates, would outnumber his.

The 603 Alliance hopes to prevent this by getting grassroots conservatives behind a constitutional conservative several months before the election so they can campaign for the candidate and really put a serious effort behind him.

There are lots of candidates, and any one of them would be better than Bush, Hemingway and others said. The important thing will be to coalesce behind one of them. They will do this by holding a caucus on Oct. 17. It will be similar in format to the Iowa caucus. At first, activists will gather in groups supporting their candidates. The one with the fewest votes will be dropped and that candidate will have 20 minutes to join another group. In this fashion, candidates will be eliminated until one is left.

All the activists who attend the caucus will have to agree in advance to stand behind the winner, and to campaign for him in the almost two months between the end of the caucus and the New Hampshire Primary in early February.

“The cause is greater than any single candidate,” Hemingway said.

While it is too early to tell what impact this movement will have in New Hampshire and beyond, it is heartening that conservatives are not giving up to the establishment without a fight.

Hemingway said organizers hope at least 500 conservative activists will attend the caucus and commit to support the winning candidate. Those 500 will have a large impact on the primary, he said. Around 250,000 will vote in the Republican primary and the 500 people from the caucus will influence around 25,000, about 10 percent of those voting.

Those 25,000 could have a decisive impact on the primary, lessening Bush’s lead, or even propelling an actual conservative to victory.

The 603 Alliance will be operating in conjunction with its sister group, the Conservative Business League of New Hampshire. The CBL will be raising funds for the group and will be sponsoring candidate visits around the state. Candidates will have to meet certain basic conservative criteria. Among them will be a strong position opposing illegal immigration and amnesty, control of the borders, opposition to Common Core, support of the Second Amendment, supporting states’ rights, repealing Obamacare, repealing the PATRIOT Act, and supporting judges who believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution.

The idea behind the 603 Alliance has attracted the attention of conservatives in other states, who see it as a model for their primaries. Organizations in Iowa and South Carolina have contacted the 603 Alliance and a member of the steering committee is traveling to Wyoming to help conservatives there.

While it is too early to tell what impact this movement will have in New Hampshire and beyond, it is heartening that conservatives are not giving up to the establishment without a fight.

 Source: https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2015/05/can-true-conservatives-win-in-primaries#sthash.OKF0akBT.dpuf