Reince Priebus is being challenged by a libertarian for his position as national chairperson of the Republican National Committee. Priebus is a weak candidate but the libertarians are not expected to be able to muster enough support within the party in order to secure a nomination, let alone a vote. This is a telltale sign of the influence of libertarian Republicans on the national stage. The movement still lacks the political and/or popular support necessary to effect change at a macro level. They simply have no clout.
Mark Willis, a self-described member of the liberty movement, is not expected to be able to gain enough votes to have his name nominated for the position. In order to be nominated for chairperson a candidate has to receive the majority of RNC member votes in three states. Willis has secured two – Maine and Nevada and is not expected to be able to get the third by the deadline. That means he won’t even be able to get the votes of those who live in “libertarian friendly” states like New Hampshire, Colorado, and New Mexico.
Libertarian Republicans are great debaters, but they have no money, and therefore do not have the resources to promote their ideas. Without financial backing they have virtually no chance at ever being a viable national voice in the Republican Party.
Priebus should be easy pickings. In his two years as chairperson he has done nothing to further the party’s goal. He came into power after Michael Steele developed the diversity programs that helped to elect candidates such as Susana Martinez in New Mexico and after the Tea Party orchestrated the Republican wave of 2010 that resulted in a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Not to mention Steele and his organization orchestrated the party’s takeover of multiple state houses leading to a majority of state legislatures being led by the Republican Party.
Priebus’ job was to simply continue that trend. Instead under his leadership, the party lost seats in the House, the Senate and, of course, the White House. His strategy was a total failure, everything from his effort to suppress voter turnout to his decision to alienate the libertarian wing of the party at the national convention have been met with disappointment and a failure to produce tangible results.
Given his performance and given the popular opinion that it is the social conservatism of the GOP that is having the greatest impact on its perception as a national party, it would only make sense that a libertarian Republican would be in a good position to challenge for national leadership. But just as we saw with libertarians Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, when given the choice between a libertarian Republican or an establishment or socially conservative Republican, the Republican electorate will always choose the latter.
Priebus does have some other things going for him that will help him keep his job. While he has been a poor campaign tactician, he is a good financial manager. He is credited with turning a deficit of $24 million to a current surplus of $3 million. Once again this proves that ideas are one thing but money is what drives the Republican Party. The party has always been known as the party of business and no matter how they fight that image for the Republicans, money always trumps ideas. That philosophy will always leave the libertarian Republicans on the outside looking in as national leaders in the party.