I finally hit on what happened to the Republican conservatives and why they have been, and continue to, whine so hard about McCain’s seemingly inevitable nomination. Brit Hume mentioned it several times during Fox News’s coverage yesterday but it’s only really registering with me now: they rallied behind Mitt Romney “too late.”
And that’s the lesson for them here. Conservative organizations, leaders, pundits, whatever, were too slow in coalescing behind a candidate. They were so busy going negative about which candidates they didn’t support that they forgot to figure out just whom they did support and rally their conservative base behind someone. That’s why they lose.
To threaten that they will vote for the Democratic candidate in November is sheer folly, however. It won’t send a message to the party in any meaningful sense. I’m a proponent of voting your conscience. If, with your principles and beliefs, you find that you can’t in good conscience back any of the candidates put up (even from any of the “third” parties) then just abstain from voting. There are other ways to advance your ideas and agenda – in other words, the fiscal-conservative/libertarian idea of “don’t count on the government to do it for you” (with “government” in this sense being, more specifically, the electoral system). If these folks were smart they’d focus the energies they’re expending on this tantrum on instead promoting their ideas to the public over the next couple-four years, in hopes that they catch on and the conservative influence will be stronger next time. You lose this round, try again.