The GOP spin machine remains frightened of Stace Nelson. Presented with rumor that the two-time District 19 legislator and 2014 GOP U.S. Senate candidate is circulating petitions to run for the State Senate seat Bill Van Gerpen appears to be vacating, Dakota War College offers its regular GOP establishmentarian reminder that Nelson refused to support his party’s U.S. Senate nominee after he did not win the primary.
Should backing your party’s preferred candidate be an absolute? Are there conditions under which backing away from your party’s pick and supporting someone from a different party is necessary, or even acceptable?
Nelson chose not to back Mike Rounds because he agreed with me that Rounds was dishonest and corrupt. Nelson instead backed independent candidate Gordon Howie, whom Nelson viewed as a true Christian conservative and more consistent advocate for the Republican platform. Does that mean Nelson should never again be allowed into a GOP meeting?
Powers party-loyalty critique seems less a matter of principle and more a convenient club for his personal animus. As eagerly as Powers cites Nelson’s renunciation of Rounds as a moral and political failing, Powers indicts my moral and political character for the opposite, for sticking with my party’s preferred candidate in the 2010 District 8 Senate race. After a petition snafu, Democrat Clark Schmidtke ran as an independent against then District 8 Republican Senator Russ Olson. After DWC published court documents showing Schmidtke had an ugly court record in Minnesota, I reported that both Schmidtke and Olson had court records. I declared Schmidtke damaged goods and said I would not blame fellow Democrats for abandoning Schmidtke on Election Day, yet I maintained my endorsement of Schmidtke, contending he’d still make better policy decisions than establishment crony Olson. Schmidtke lost and died in ignominy the following year for further misconduct at the assisted living center he tried to run in Trent.
In Schmidtke’s case in 2010, I stuck with the man my party was backing, despite clear evidence that he had wronged people in the past. Am I now allowed to say I was wrong, or does renouncing Schmidtke make me a traitor to my party just like DWC says Nelson is to the GOP?
Powers and his party are facing their own choice between party loyalty and rejection of a candidate unfit for office. Their Presidential frontrunner is a demonstrable fascist. Will Powers cower like Mike Rounds behind blind partisanship, cave like Carson and Christie, and salute Il Duce at the convention? Or will he apply the Schmidtke rule to himself and join the courageous Republicans who recognize that we must not give Donald Trump the nuclear button?
Stace Nelson refused to endorse a fake. I stuck with a felon. What should Republicans do about the fascist they have created? When is party loyalty trumped by greater moral concerns?