I need to emphasize that, like most Americans, I am not a member of the Republican Party.
Since American politics is dominated by two parties, people who want to actively participate in their governance have to find ways to sneak past the party apparatus.
Conservatives have a particular problem with Libertarians and Classical Liberals* who try to sneak into the Republican Party.
In recent interviews, Utah GOP Chairman James Evans suggested that the GOP use PPI-style litmus test to assure ideological purity of Utah Republican Candidates.
PPI refers to the "Personal Priesthood Interviews" that young Mormon men endure to prove their fealty to the LDS political hierarchy. In his interviews, Mr. Evans suggests the PPI litmus test be used specifically to weed out Libertarians who routinely try to sneak on to the Republican side of the ballot.
The events leading up to this suggestion are rather interesting.
Utah has a caucus system. Conservatives have been adept at using the caucus system to control candidates.
The caucus system involves a large number of small meetings to elect delegates. Poorly funded groups can get a slot on the primary if the group is well organized.
Specifically, during the Tea Party, Tea Party radicals were able to get Jason Chaffetz and Mike Lee on the ballot. Even worse, Senator Lee displaced the establishment candidate Senator Bob Bennett.
Upset that Tea Party radicals were able to use the caucus system to displace an establishment candidate, the Utah establishment began a campaign to replace the caucus system with a primary system.
The primary system selects candidates by mass ballots. The primary system allows well funded establishment candidates and big media to control who appears on the ballot.
Above all, a primary system could help prevent radical groups like the Tea Party from infiltrating the Republican Party and penetrating it with radical ideals (like those of the US Founders).
Personally, I like the fact that the Tea Party was able to get candidates on the ballot. I delight in the rare occasion when an outsider group is able to take down an incumbent of the establishment.
As for my opinion:
I consider myself a Classical Liberal (which is a close kin to Libertarian). I hate the idea of closed parties that employ litmus tests and ideological filters to assure party purity.
Ironically, the Party of Lincoln was once a classical liberal party. The party was formed from the Whig Party in the 1850s to oppose the Kansas/Nebraska Act which threatened to expand slavery into the Western US. The GOP sought to emancipate the slaves and supported Civil Rights up unto the 1950s.
Classical liberals, who held sway in the GOP during its formation, opposed Jim Crow Laws, poll taxes and literacy tests which were designed to disenfranchise blacks and immigrants.
But that was a long time ago.
The Conservative Movement captured the Republican Party in reaction to Civil Rights Movement.
(Conservatism, as I am sure you all know, was created in 1834 by King William IV and Sir Robert Peel in an attempt to modernize and rebrand the Tory Party as a moderate. Tories were the people who fought against the US Revolution.)
As Conservatism is essentially Toryism rebranded, it does not surprise me to see Conservative Leaders talking about applying ideological filters to lock out free market radicals.
The funny thing is that the PPI ideology filter proposed by James Evans would probably filter out both the US Founders along with Fremont, Lincoln, and the founders of the GOP.
But Conservatives captured the GOP fair and square. It's their party now. If Conservatives want to impose PPI-style filter to lock out Tea Party types ... that's their decision.
Who knows, if Conservatives lock enough people out, we might see the formation of a new party that actually supports the ideals of freedom instead of the laughably corrupt GOP.
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