The Establishment Strikes Back

By Ryan Walters | December 28th, 2017 at 10:47 am

BY: Ryan Walters / Mississippi PEP Contributor

Ryan Walters is a life-long Mississippian from Jones County. He is a professor of history holding a bachelor and master’s degree in American history from the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author of "The Last Jeffersonian: Grover Cleveland and the Path to Restoring the Republic." Find more of his writing at

Filed Under: Contributor, Election Reform, Elections, Ethics, Federal Government, National, Opinion, Politics, Republican, Ryan Walters

This is the Establishment strategy. They smear conservatives in the primaries; then once those smears take hold in the public consciousness, they use those same smears to persuade the public that conservatives are unelectable.

Love him or hate him, Alabama’s Roy Moore suffered through public humiliation that few of us have ever experienced. To be smeared across the country as a pedophile and serial sexual abuser is as bad as anything society can hurl at you. How he was able to withstand such an all-out character assassination is beyond most of us.

Although many Republicans and conservatives ran from Moore like the plague, I chose to believe him and to stand with him as a Christian brother. I clung to the Scriptures, especially the Apostle John’s teaching that when we love our brethren “we have passed from death to life.” Others chose to side with the Establishment.

But, more importantly, is where these attacks came from. Another reason I chose to stand with Moore is because I believed from Day One that the accusations came not from Democrats but from Moore’s fellow Republicans. It smelled like a GOP Establishment hit to me. Reports soon surfaced that proved me right. The Washington Post stories came from a former Jeb Bush staffer.

Make no mistake, whether one supported Roy Moore or ran from him, the Republican Party is in a battle for its very soul. It’s a fight between the Establishment and Grassroots Conservatives. And we can’t afford to run any longer.

Establishment Republicans have long loathed conservatives, a battle that has raged for decades in many forms: Taft-Eisenhower, Goldwater-Nixon, Reagan-Ford, Buchanan-Bush. And the Establishment’s favored tactic is to attack candidates who hold very conservative positions in the belief that such issues, bent and twisted after emerging from the Establishment spin machine, will turn voters off in the general election. They essentially destroy members of their own party with whom they disagree and dislike.

I wrote about their tactics in my new book, Remember Mississippi:

This is the Establishment strategy. They smear conservatives in the primaries; then once those smears take hold in the public consciousness, they use those same smears to persuade the public that conservatives are unelectable.

That strategy has held true for many years.

But what exactly happened in Alabama? The conservative movement was on an upswing and rejuvenated after the presidential election last year, a campaign that saw every one of the Establishment’s candidates beaten and humiliated. Conservative insurgents, led by Steve Bannon, were next poised to destroy Mitch McConnell and the Establishment cabal in control of the US Senate. McConnell, as head of the Empire, uh, Establishment, chose to strike back.

The Establishment man for Alabama was Luther Strange, who had been in the seat only a few months, appointed by a corrupt (now resigned) governor to fill the seat after Jeff Sessions left to become Attorney General. For the GOP primary, two conservative candidates emerged as challengers: Roy Moore and Mo Brooks. McConnell reasoned that Moore would be easier for Strange to beat in a runoff, so Ole Mitch first targeted Brooks, taking him out with an array of negative ads.

But in the runoff a strange thing happened (no pun intended): Moore annihilated Luther Strange despite having $30 million thrown at him. McConnell was humiliated. And when the general election campaign began, featuring Roy Moore vs. Doug Jones, the sleazy attacks on Moore began in earnest, despite the fact that after decades in public service, no such accusations had ever been leveled at Judge Moore. But McConnell had to have his revenge.

In the aftermath, it’s important that conservatives don’t fall into the Establishment trap. Movements like ours have most often been destroyed from within, plagued by in-fighting and disloyalty. And that was McConnell’s next move.

“The political genius on display, throwing away a seat in the reddest state in America, is hard to ignore,” McConnell said to reporters soon after the dust settled in Alabama. And for whom was that sharp knife aimed? Steve Bannon, of course.

McConnell’s sidekick then plunged the knife in deeper: “Not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate seat in one of the most Republican states in the country, but he also dragged the President of the United States into his fiasco,” said Steven Law, CEO of the Senate Leadership Fund and former McConnell chief of staff. Bannon’s crime? He dared to back the conservative Republican in a race against a Democrat.

The objective of these harsh comments, untruthful as they were, was to get conservatives to fight each other, which, judging by social media, has begun, as some conservative activists are also joining the “Blame Bannon” crowd and urging candidates to steer clear of him.

But say what you will about Steve Bannon, at least he’s fighting! In fact, he’s the only one standing up and taking on the National Establishment face-to-face. No one has been more forcefully opposed to McConnell and the GOP powers-that-be than Mr. Bannon. So it’s very curious as to why some conservatives are siding with McConnell in opposing Bannon. We need him on our team if we are to be victorious in the future.

It’s no stretch to say that the Moore disaster and defeat deflated our movement somewhat. Many conservatives were dejected and depressed, including me. But let not our hearts be troubled. We will rise again very soon. And bring the Empire down!

Mississippi Conservative Daily