Nevada should put a slate of conservative GOP candidates together to
challenge Gov. Brian Sandoval (R&R-Partners) and the establishment
slate of moderate Republican candidates he’s assembling for the six
constitutional offices next year.
That elicited this overwrought email from a longtime Republican
activist in Las Vegas…
“You are delusional! Your ideas for running someone against Gov.
Sandoval will not be successful. If it was we would have a Democrat
Gov. elected in 2014.”
Well, I guess conservative Ronald Reagan was delusional, too! Because
if memory serves correctly, it was the Republican icon who challenged
moderate, establishment Republican President Gerald Ford in the 1976
And indeed, that challenge surely contributed to the Democrats’
general election victory of the hapless Jimmy Carter in November.
However, it also set the stage for Reagan’s successful campaign in
1980 and his historical economy-saving/commie-
So sometimes you have to take one step back in order to take two steps forward.
It should also be noted that it wasn’t just Reagan himself who lost
and then won big; modern-day conservatism was born in ’76 and grew
during the Reagan years into a national movement that exists to this
day in the form of the Tea Party and liberty movements.
And rather than fading away, despite Harry Reid’s deepest wish to the
contrary, conservatives are becoming even more emboldened, if not
About a dozen years ago, frustrated fiscal conservatives launched the
Club for Growth, an organization dedicated to running conservative
challengers against moderate GOP incumbents in Republican-friendly
districts. After a couple of initial stumbles out of the gate, CFG is
now wildly successful and greatly feared by Gumby Republicans in
But even relatively dependable conservatives are no longer safe from
Reagan-like primary challenges. Indeed, conservative Sen. Mike Enzi
(R-WY) – ACU Lifetime Rating: 93 – is being challenged by Liz Cheney,
the former VP’s daughter, primarily because he just doesn’t rock the
And Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – ACU Lifetime
Rating: 90 – is now under political assault from the right and is in
serious jeopardy of being tossed overboard in next year’s GOP primary
by a Kentucky businessman with no prior electoral experience.
You see, conservatives are no longer just looking for someone who will
press the right button and go home. They want someone who will raise a
bloody stink before pressing the right button, and then go on the road
and on TV and on radio and on the web to fire up the troops. Like
Sens. Rand Paul, Mike Lee and Ted Cruz.
And anyone who thinks Brian Sandoval runs with that illustrious
conservative crowd is the one who’s delusional.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public
policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at