Conservatives obliterate the GOP establishment in record turnout.
The past several years, the GOP elite have been carefully moving their money and their favored candidates carefully around the chess board, employing what they think are clever moves (i.e., The Advance Tennessee gambit) and anointing candidates with what they think (mistakenly) are coveted endorsements.
Then yesterday, along came Trump, Cruz and the rest of the anti-establishment types. They refused to play the game carefully constructed by the party’s elite and instead kicked over the whole damn table, scattered the pieces and set the rule book on fire. For good measure, they also shot the wounded.
Tuesday’s presidential primary results are in and the main conclusion we can draw from the outcome was that Tennessee voters are really pissed off. And they are particularly not at all happy with the Tennessee Republican establishment.
The Tennessee GOP elite, personified by the likes of Bill Frist, Beth Harwell, etc., may possess large personal bank accounts but they are teetering on political bankruptcy. Just how powerful were the endorsements by Bill Haslam and Lamar Alexander for Marco Rubio? Rubio barely got enough votes to pick up any delegates. He got a whopping total of 2 of the state’s 58 delegates. The anti-establishment Republicans — Trump, Cruz and Carson — combined for over 70% of the vote. Think about it: Over 70% of Tennessee Republicans voted against the party’s leaders.
The Trump/Cruz/Carson huge margin should be a loud, screaming alarm to the Tennessee GOP establishment, especially in the legislature. Even the odious InsureTennessean has figured that out.
We hear the (alleged) Conservative Caucus in the House is laughing its collective butt off at the outcome, smacking their lips at the possibility that every leadership slot and every chairmanship could be up for grabs. Think of yesterday’s record-breaking primary as just the preliminary heat for the August legislative primaries. All the money the Haslams and their friends can dump into those primaries will have about the same effect as Jeb Bush’s $132 million had on his candidacy – little to none. And if Trump is the nominee at that point? Look out.
Just for fun, check out those some of those who will NOT be going as delegates to the Republican National Convention as a result of Tuesday’s election:
- Mark White (Bush)
- Bill Frist (Bush)
- Chip Saltsman (Huckabee)
- Lobbyists Susie Alcorn, Nathan Buttry, Brian Kaegi, Valerie Nagoshiner and Josh Brown (Bush, Rubio, Kasich)
- Susan Richardson Williams (Bush)
- Numerous past and present State Executive Committee members (Bush, Kasich, Rubio)
- Charles Sargent’s campaign manager, Mary Kate Brown (Bush)
- Ron Travis (Rubio)
- Becky Massey (Rubio)
- Cameron Sexton (Huckabee)
- Former Rep. Deborah Maggart (Fiorina)
See the trend here? If you are a card-carrying establishment elected or appointed official or lobbyist you are not going to Cleveland. You have been told by the voters to stay home.
These names are typical of the party poohbahs who have misread the level of disgust that Republican voters have for politicians at both the national and state level. If you are a Tennessee establishment type, you apparently didn’t get the memo that they are tired of your compromising, crony-capitalist, status-quo-preserving butts.
Now for the really bad news for the establishment.
The people the voters are sending to Cleveland are a decidedly more conservative group than those in the establishment. Here is a sample of some of those who ARE likely going to the convention (and again, these are not based on final totals).
- Rep. Jerry Sexton (Cruz)
- Rep. Judd Matheny (Cruz)
- Rep. Dennis Powers (Cruz)
- Former Rep. Joe Carr (Cruz)
- Steve Gill (Cruz)
- Sen. Mae Beavers (Trump)
- Former Sen. Stacey Campfield (Trump)
That last one cracks us up. Sen. Richard Briggs isn’t going to the convention, but the guy he beat last election, Stacey Campfield, probably is. Don’t forget your Mexican wrestling mask, Stacey.
Just about every one of the above have been or are being targeted by Haslam, Harwell and the Advance Tennessee PAC gang. Maybe the Trump/Cruz delegates can send them and others who have turned up their noses at them a postcard from the convention.
That’s about as close as the establishment losers are going to get to Cleveland.