Litmus Tests and Elections

Non-Negotiable Litmus Tests Employed by Conservatives Have Led to Every Democratic Presidential Victory in the Last Quarter-Century

By Ken K. Gourdin

Several months ago, before Donald J. Trump had secured the Republican nomination for president of the United States, in response to the story which can be found here (last accessed August 9, 2016: I wrote the following:

Frankly, I don’t understand the rejection by conservatives of every one of their/our candidates that has led to the election or re-election of Democrats in the last quarter-century. In 1992, Ross Perot took votes away from George Herbert Walker Bush (including mine, a mistake I don’t intend to repeat), and we got four years of Bill Clinton as president. In 1996, they said Bob Dole was a RINO, and we got four more years of Mr. Clinton. In 2008, they said Mitt Romney and John McCain were RINOs, and we got four years of Mr. Obama. And in 2012, they said Mitt Romney was still a RINO, and we got four more years of Mr. Obama.

I don’t believe in litmus tests for candidates, i.e., “He’s not conservative enough (or otherwise is not suitable) because he doesn’t agree with me about [x].” There’s not a candidate, officeholder, pundit, or politician alive with whom I agree about absolutely everything, and if a person does agree with someone in one of those categories about absolutely everything, he needs to have his head examined.Yet, now, the Republican Party is about to select someone as its nominee who, by comparison, makes all of those alleged RINOs look like charter members of the John Birch Society, and we’re about to get four/eight years with another Clinton in the White House as a result, a condition that has arisen, in part, because other candidates have failed this idiosyncratic litmus test or that idiosyncratic litmus test.

Mr. Trump, for all of his protestations to the contrary (“No, really! I AM conservative, religious, et cetera!”) is about to become simply the Republican version of Barack Obama: Coin a catchy slogan (“Make America Great Again” sure sounds an awful lot like “Hope and Change”), promise everything to everybody, don’t let anybody pin you down about the particulars or the details, and you can ride the resulting wave of discontent about “them” and what “they” do all the way to the White House. Thank In another God for LIVs (Low Information Voters). “I love the poorly-educated!” indeed.

In another forum but in a related vein, I also recently said the following about Mr. Trump:


To be sure, the [Republican] party does deserve a good share of the responsibility for Mr. Trump’s nomination, but I’m wary of laying that entire responsibility at the party’s feet. In states with open primaries, I think it would be a safe bet that more than a few votes were cast, not on the basis of who would be best for the party, but, rather, on the basis of who Democrats would rather see their nominee face in the general election. Those who did cast their primary votes on this basis got their wish: I’m wondering if we won’t see a Democratic landslide similar in proportion to the President Reagan and the Republicans accomplished in 1984. (It’s true that Republicans make the open-or-closed primary decision, but that happens on the state, rather than on the national, level.)


About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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