The struggle for the GOP’s soul

One result of the 2022 midterm election is that the civil war within Republican Party between its RINO (Republican in Name Only) faction and its more traditional conservative elements has gone public – and that is a good thing.   That contentious conflict has been on the political precipice as the RINOs maintained a firm hold on the party’s candidates, its issues and principles, leading to formation of the House Freedom Caucus in 2015.   It is, however, the America First (AF) movement that can take credit for pushing those mostly subdued internal squabbles to the forefront since the Trump presidency in 2016. 

It is to Kari Lake’s credit that she has dug in to expose the depth of electoral corruption.  Since the midterms, those ideological inconsistencies have surfaced no more intensely than in the State of Arizona, where its electoral fraud is being legally challenged after a clumsy effort to sabotage AF candidates.  Meanwhile, in the US House of Representatives the majority Republicans will appoint a new Speaker of the House on January 3rd.

It is questionable, however, given the 2020 and 2022 success of the unscrupulous Democrats to brazenly and visibly steal a massive number of Congressional elections with no real consequences, how exactly the Republican Party would prevent the Greatest Steal of All in 2024?

The AF movement and the RNC were foolishly gullible to have not anticipated the treachery and untrustworthiness of the Dems and paid little to no attention as Florida banned mass mail in ballots, ballot harvesting and required voter id – all basic fundamentals to a fair and equitable election.

The crisis accelerates in Arizona with a dramatic Monday morning Court hearing at 9:30 am to consider the lawsuit filed by Republican Attorney General candidate Abe Hamadeh (along with the Republican National Committee) to prevent Secretary of State certification by current SOS Katie Hobbs, who refused to recuse herself from an election where she was also a candidate.  The Maricopa Board of Supervisors then quickly rescheduled their own Monday hearing to 8:30 am to certify the election of Katie Hobbs as the Governor of Arizona. 

As Arizona courts have not been sympathetic to AF by arbitrarily denying their Election Day request to keep the polls open past 7 pm, Monday morning’s confrontations may see harsh judicial conflicts collide with powerful legal and constitutional ramifications.

Meanwhile, Lake, who has not conceded to Hobbs, sued Stephen Richer, Maricopa County’s Election Recorder and other state officials, in part, for the release of commonplace election documentation and numbers being willfully withheld.  Richer, a Republican who was elected in 2020, created the Pro Democracy Republican PAC, which opposes the election of “election deniers,” as he remains unconcerned about the impropriety as the county’s top election official acting as a partisan stooge.  He rationalized Arizona’s questionable 2020 election rig in a 38 page open letter to Arizona voters.

Controlling Arizona politics is a tight-knit uniparty coalition that includes the last gasp of the McCain faction, along with multiple Soros sponsored candidates, and the radical left Globalists, as well as almost all of the state’s top elected Republican officials, all of which are deeply antagonistic to the AF movement, which threatens their goal to clean election deniers out of Arizona’s Republican party.  As the McCain coalition maintains its hold on the insidious corruption, Arizona’s wide open border corroborates its status as a human trafficking state.   

The bottom line is that no one knows with any certainty exactly what happened on Election Day in Arizona; and that there has been no real truthful reconciliation of the Maricopa County numbers with statewide vote totals.

In addition to the Arizona electoral confrontation, House Republicans, including its 44 Freedom Caucus members, are in their own partisan struggle to create a more meaningful House caucus with 220 Members providing majority control.  Previously dominated by a caucus of fence-sitters in the name of consensus, minority leader Kevin McCarthy appeared to make the flawed assumption that he would automatically step into the Speaker position.  

The reality is that even before McCarthy alienated the entire national AF movement with the deliberate sabotage of AF candidates for the House, McCarthy’s support within his own caucus was not sufficient to provide him with the necessary votes to become Speaker.

In a vote immediately after the midterms, McCarthy failed (188-36) to achieve the necessary votes as multiple Freedom Caucus members continue to publicly declared there is ‘no way’ McCarthy will be elected Speaker on January 3rd. 

Despite Steve Bannon and (allegedly) President Trump’s tacit support for McCarthy as well as Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (Ga), the AF movement across the country are predominately independent thinkers and do not show any sign of caving in to support McCarthy.  A reasonable assumption is that AF activists will hold their own Republican Representatives accountable for their vote on January 3rd

As McCarthy’s opposition continues to solidify, his almost pathetic scramble to save his own political butt is little more than a transparent political gesture; yet when he had an opportunity to be a forthright leader, McCarthy failed to openly oppose Biden’s multi-prong attack on the American people.  Freedom Caucus Member Rep. Andy Biggs (AZ) has announced his candidacy for Speaker.

As Republicans assume the chairmanships of House Committees, there are at least two key contests; one for Chair of the Ways and Means Committee and another for Chair of the Homeland Security Committee. 

With three candidates, Ways and Means has jurisdiction over fiscal issues including the insolvent Social Security system and Medicare program as well as oversight of the IRS and its 87,000 newly-hired, armed agents. 

The Homeland Security Committee has jurisdiction over Secretary Mayorkas and US border policies with Rep. Mark Green (TN), a member of the Freedom Caucus and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) both vowing to hold the Biden Administration accountable at the southern border which has allowed five million illegal crossings.

How many of the 188 Members of the Republican caucus who supported McCarthy in November as Speaker will be willing to realign with a populist agenda?   Rep. Tom Cole (OK) suggested that McCarthy is “our best strategist. He’s our best fundraiser. He’s our best candidate recruiter. Isn’t that the guy you want to lead you? I think so.”

Will the Freedom Caucus and its friends remain true and prevail to elect a Speaker with a conscience and the savvy to build the House caucus into an effective political machine?  

One test whether there is a new energy within the caucus will be whether its 220 Republican Members will vote to reject passage of the notoriously malevolent 3,853 page National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) loaded with almost $1 trillion worth of woke goodies that will take a decade to unravel and a massive giveaway to defense contractors that does nothing to address inflation, the economy, deficit spending or corruption in Ukraine?

Renee Parsons served on the once-prestigious ACLU’s Florida State Board of Directors and as president of the ACLU Treasure Coast Chapter. She has been an elected public official in Colorado, staff in the Office of the Colorado State Public Defender, an environmental lobbyist for Friends of the Earth and a staff member of the US House of Representatives in Washington DC. She can be found at

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