Who is the perfect candidate for conservative Republicans?

I’ve heard the following ideas most recently about Mitt Romney and also a number of candidates before him.

He didn’t win because he’s not conservative enough. The country will rally around a true conservative. Why a “true” conservative can’t get nominated is an issue in itself, but a related belief is that the Republican “establishment” is for some reason sabotaging their campaigns.

So, who could be nominated that no one could make this claim about? Santorum? Cruz? Louis Gohmert? Somebody else?

And if the true conservative doesn’t win, what will be the rationale for the failure?

Silly they are a true conservative if they win in landslide. Conservatives aren’t losers, so if you lose you obviously weren’t a true conservative.

The candidate who will most effectively advance conservative interests is Marco Rubio. He is solidly conservative but has the knack of presenting conservative ideas in moderate form and has the kind of personality which plays well in US general elections. I think he is likely to beat Hillary and the combination of Rubio and Ryan in power would be devastatingly effective.

Cruz is more conservative than Rubio but comes off as a remarkably odious person who alienates even people who share his views. If he becomes the nominee he will achieve the remarkable feat of making Hillary look likeable and will probably lose.

Trump is the worst option since he is neither solidly conservative nor likely to win the general.

The good news for Democrats over the last month is that Rubio is looking less likely and Trump/Cruz more likely. If Rubio doesn’t win the nomination, I think it will be a remarkable case of Republicans shooting themselves in the foot and losing an enormous opportunity to dominate government which may not come again in decades.

The most ebulliently optimistic message of doom I’ve ever read.

Define “conservative.”

I agree. A Rubio / Ryan government would be epic. Democrats would have to really change their strategy. Nancy Pelosi would have to resign as House Democratic Leader. She’s been the head of House Democrats since 2002. The Democrats may need new leadership.

It would probably result in an epic loss of American lives and an epic waste of money in new foreign wars of choice.

I think it is Trump. The Republicans have been making their tent smaller and smaller, until all they have left are the angry white whackos. Trump knows this, and is pandering to them perfectly. Today’s GOP and Trump are the convergence of crazy and cunning. I predict registered Republicans will represent the smallest percentage of the popular vote in 70 to 80 years.

Maybe, but it would also show that you can’t gut the military so bad as it has been for years anymore.

This is a non-sequitur – no idea what you’re trying to say.

If you seriously support a Rubio-Ryan administration-the same Ryan of the Ryan Budget fame-then you have no right to consider yourself a New Dealer/old-school Democrat of any sort.

What he’s saying is that it’s worth killing American soldiers to make a political point.

You are confusing the much smaller set of primary voter types with the larger electorate. A common mistake. It’s the same reason Sanders gets a larger percentage of the Democratic primary vote than he gets in the general election.

As for the OP, I’m not sure there is an answer to the question since I think the people making those statements are delusional.

If so, then this veteran has some pit-worthy insults (and others like “cowardly chickenhawk that would risk the lives of Americans like my friends for a political point”) for him.

If that’s not what he meant, then my insults may not apply.

To be fair, “epic” can be value neutral, so maybe you guys are on the same page. :wink:

Nahhhh…he’s just parroting the old canard about how the Democratic Party is always chopping the Pentagon budget down to zero because they hate the military and want America to be weak. The rubes have been lapping that one up since WWII.

I think that those who promote that school of thought are thinking of “true conservative” in opposition to “the establishment” conservative … one who will get the rural White non-college educated voters coming out to vote in the same percent that college educated Whites and almost all for the GOP. Is there a candidate or a circumstance that would do that? (Never mind what the impact would be on other demographics and on the final vote tally.)

The fact is that the GOP is unlikely to prevail while that reliably GOP rural non-college educated White angry and resentful demographic only comes out at the 57% they came out at in 2012. Especially not with college educated Whites only running slightly GOP and with Black voters coming out and voting Democratic at even Kerry or Gore levels.

So the trick is for them to have a circumstance that gets that non-college educated angry White vote coming out to the polls same as college educated Whites do (unclear if anyone can do even that) and without too much backlash in other groups.

Improbable to be sure, but the alternative … having a candidate that results in that demographic staying home and trying to make enough headway in Blacks, Hispanics, and further progress in college educated Whites to win without their turn out? An even taller order.

The problem with the OP’s question is that it doesn’t really specify what constitutes a conservative Republican. One issue that the Republican party, and conservatives more generally, have faced in the post-WWII era is reconciling traditionalist conservatism, which tends to focus heavily on religion and the moral priorities that come with evangelical Christianity, and libertarian conservatism, which is more interested in free market economics and a definition of freedom that involves minimalist government intervention.

There have been, and are, plenty of overlaps among these groups, and there are also conservatives with more specific priorities that draw a little bit from each, but a fundamental problem of conservatism is the difficulty of balancing the different priorities among the fairly broad group of Americans who consider themselves to be conservatives and/or Republicans. (Liberals often face similar problems, but that’s not who this thread is about.)

The tension between the traditionalists and the libertarians was pretty pronounced for much of the 1950s and 1960s, although William F. Buckley managed to bring the two groups together in some important ways, at least with respect to conservative intellectuals. In national politics, Ronald Reagan also managed to get both of these groups on board, although anyone who followed Reagan’s politics knows that, while he made some big promises to the moral majority, and talked a lot about God in his speeches, he didn’t actually do very much during the eight years of his presidency to advance the evangelical cause. Plenty of religious conservatives were really disappointed with Reagan.

One of the things that got libertarian and traditionalist conservatives on board together in the post-war era was hostility to communism. The broader rhetoric of opposition to taxation, and to liberal social programs like welfare also often unites them. Agreement about foreign policy during the Cold War was, in many ways, a bit easier than it is today. Tensions over foreign policy today also make conservative unanimity difficult because the enemy is seen by many as not just an ideology, but an actual religion. Conservatives who advocate a measured and thoughtful approach to terrorism sometimes find themselves being shouted down by rank and unsophisticated anti-Islamic rhetoric, and this sort of thing is helping to drive Trump’s campaign among a subset of conservatives.

But there are also broader differences to consider. For example, libertarian conservatives aren’t generally interested in regulating morality. They don’t give a flying fuck about preventing gay marriage, many of them are happy with the legalization or decriminalization of weed, and they also didn’t jump on the anti-feminist bandwagon in the same way that traditionalists did. Many of them are also supporters of the right to abortion, something that has enraged traditionalists. The individualistic idea of freedom favored by libertarian types often runs in direct conflict with the traditionalist idea of regulating society’s morality based on fundamentalist Christianity.

There are also conflicts over things like immigration. While the immigration debate is often portrayed as a liberal versus conservative thing, it’s more complicated than that. While many conservatives are strongly opposed to open immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants, some of the biggest proponents of more open immigration regulations over the course of the past hundred years have been large employers, including big agribusiness, who often see themselves as conservatives but who also want to benefit their own bottom line by using labor competition to drive down wages. And these conservatives have often benefited from government regulation, in areas like the Bracero program (1942-64), which basically gave them a large imported labor pool to help keep down the wages of domestic agricultural labor. (On the other side of the political fence, one of the biggest opponents of open immigration in American history has been the organized labor movement (often associated with liberal politics). Labor unions, on many occasions in the 20th century, used both economic arguments about job competition, as well as rather unsavory nativist and racist rhetoric, in order to oppose immigration.)

Even within these groups, there are often inconsistencies. The libertarian trend in American conservatism, which grew into a national movement after Barry Goldwater’s 1964 Presidential bid, based much of its politics on the idea of reducing the size of government. But much of Goldwater’s small-government support came from the Sun Belt in the American southwest, where many of the same people who railed against government spending (or, at least, spending on liberal programs) also benefited directly from jobs in aerospace and defense contracting, which received massive amounts of taxpayers’ money during the Cold War. It’s always amusing seeing someone who spent his whole life making six-figure salaries for a defense contractor complaining about the size of government.

If there’s something that unites the disparate strands of American conservatism better than anything else, it has been that, no matter what their disagreements, they still see liberals (and, by extension, the Democratic Party) as a bigger enemy. The problem they face, in the period of declining government programs since Reagan’s election, is that Democratic presidential candidates have moved to the right, especially on issues of welfare programs, and have brought with them many moderate Republicans who are not invested in the traditionalists’ culture wars. Clinton got broad support by promising to end welfare as we know it, and even Obama (despite Obamacare, and all the bullshit rhetoric about his alleged socialism) represents a continuation of the movement away from New Deal-style politics that began in the Democratic Party during the 1970s and 1980s.

And all of this also doesn’t consider some of the more recent splits in the party, which in some cases seem to be less about specific ideology than about trying to wrest control of Congress away from party insiders, who often seem more interested in consolidating their power using rules of seniority and procedure than in actually making policy. This reflects, in some measure, the “true conservative” versus “establishment conservative” rhetoric that DSeid talks about. And he rightly notes that it’s not just about who supports you in American politics; it’s about who actually gets off their ass and votes.

I’d be interested to see what a Bernie Sanders presidential candidacy would actually do to the splintering in the Republican Party. My hunch is that it would drive the moderate, libertarian-leaning Republicans back into the arms of the traditionalists, uniting around a candidate that promised to keep cutting welfare programs and taxes, and who also made some promises (genuine or otherwise) about reversing America’s so-called moral decline.

There is the possibility that increasing economic inequality might drive poorer conservatives towards a socialist candidate. There has been, in American history, no necessary contradiction between traditionalist moral values and a more socialist political and economic view of the world. States like Alabama and Minnesota and Kansas and Wisconsin and Iowa and Nebraska have all, in the past, embraced movements that were strongly rooted in Christian morality, but that also called for bigger government to protect the people from political corruption and the inequities of monopoly capitalism. The Grange movement, the Farmers’ Alliances, the Populists, and the Progressives all had solid bases in rural, moral-conservative America. Socialist Huey Long came from Louisiana.

That was a long time ago, and i’m not arguing that this will actually happen, especially in the near future. I think it would take a lot for moral conservatives to embrace a leftist political and economic movement. But while big shifts in the political landscape take time, they can and do happen. There were plenty of liberal Americans in the mid-1960s who, celebrating LBJ’s Civil Rights Act and the Great Society and the War on Poverty and Medicare/Medicaid, probably would have laughed in your face if you told them that someone like Ronald Reagan would be elected to the presidency within 15 years.

To sum up: There is no such things as “A True Conservative”, as anyone you ask will give you a completely different answer of what that person must believe and how far they should go.

How would I know what the fuck it is? I hear these claims from Republicans and conservative pundits every time the Republicans lose the presidential election. Let them explain it.