But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

Why “Moderates” Have Always been Unelectable


Every time, for decades, the more principled candidate has won, and the "moderate" almost always lost.

They keep telling us that Mitt Romney is the only “electable” candidate…just like they claimed about John McCain and Bob Dole.

But, like McCain and Dole, the history is of Big Government “moderates” losing:

  • 1976

    Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan struggled through the whole primary season, reaching the convention with no majority.

    The Liberal “Moderate” Republicans, known as Nixonians and “Rockefeller Republicans”, said that even though Reagan had more delegates, Ford should be the nominee, because he was a “moderate”, therefore more electable.Reagan, with his “liberty” and “small government” talk, was too extreme, obviously unelectable.

    Ford, running as a moderate, lost.

  • 1980

    Reagan ran again.

    As before, the Rockefeller Republicans insisted that Reagan was unelectable. Low taxes, spending cuts, in the middle of a recession? Attacking government as the problem, instead of giving people hope by saying it could fix things?

    Madness.

    In fact, when he won the primary by beating John Anderson and George Bush, the Establishment Republicans actually ran John Anderson as a third party spoiler in the general election:

    The Republican establishment hoped to split the vote and get Carter re-elected. They actually preferred Liberal/socialist Carter over Reagan!

    The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is. – Ronald Reagan, “Inside Ronald Reagan”, Reason magazine, July 1975

    But “unelectable extremist libertarian” Reagan won the election in a landslide, beating “electable moderate” Republican John Anderson and incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter, combined.

  • 1992

    Bush won because he was Reagan’s Vice President, but in 1992, he had to run on his own record as a “moderate” Republican, the establishment rallying around to force his nomination in the face of challenges by two more candidates, one more libertarian and one more conservative. The “Moderate” Bush was supposed to be more electable.

    Bush, running as a Moderate, lost.

  • 1994

    Two years later, rebellious Republicans refused to follow the Establishment’s advice, running  on a libertarian Conservative platform, the Contract with America. The establishment worried that the lack of a more moderate stance would hurt their normal mid-term gains. This was the first time the Republican party had run for Congress without a “moderate” agenda, in generations.

    Instead of losing, the Republicans running on principle took all of Congress, for the first time…in generations.

  • 1996

    The “Moderate” Republican Establishment had regained control.

    Faced with a very libertarian candidate and more conservative one leading in early primaries, they managed to force the “moderate”, Bob Dole, into winning the nomination. Those two non-Moderates were deemed unelectable, despite the lesson of two years earlier.

    Dole, running as a Moderate, lost.

  • 2000

    W Bush ran as a Conservative. He promised school choice, Social Security reform, and “no more nation building”.

    Naturally, running as a Conservative, he won.

  • 2004

    But it turned out to be a lie.

    • Instead of less centralized education, we got a more socialist education system through “No Child Left Behind”.
    • Instead of Social Security reform, we got Medicare Part D, the biggest entitlement expansion in history.
    • Instead of “No more nation building”, we got endless wars and trillions squandered overseas, killing our sons, driving oil prices up 700%, and crippling the economy.

    He should, therefore, have lost in 2004, exposed as a “moderate”.

    But the Democrats committed political suicide: Dumping the clearly principled candidate Howard Dean, they went for “Me-too Democrat” John Kerry, who was “Bush Lite” on pretty much every topic.

    As usual, the more “moderate”, unprincipled candidate lost.

  • 2006

    "Moderates" lost Congress to the Democrats in 2006, but only four years later, the TEA Party's principled stand won it back

    The Republican party carefully ran as “moderate”, as defenders of their “moderate” President. In each election where they had done so in the dozen years that they’d controlled Congress, they’d lost ground…and now they were out of time.

    Running as Moderates, the Republicans lost.

  • 2008

    Once again, the Establishment fought back challengers who were more libertarian and Conservative, to ensure that one of the two, supposedly electable, “moderates” won the nomination.

    John McCain, running as a Moderate, lost.

  • 2010

    To the horror of the Establishment, the TEA Party began ousting “moderates” in the primary, leaving the Republicans with 60 “unelectable” candidates who supported libertarian Conservative principles.

    The TEA Party, running on principle, took back the House, only four years after losing it.

In the entire modern history of politics, and especially the Republican party and Conservatism, there has been a nearly perfect pattern of “moderates” losing nationwide elections, and principled candidates, running on small government, winning.

This is because people support principled candidates, but either stay home or vote for the candidate a  “moderate” one is imitating.

The lesser of two evils is still…EVIL.

“Moderates” are not electable.

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February 4, 2012 - Posted by | Philosophy, Politics | , , , , , , ,

12 Comments »

  1. [...] or is that vague feel of electability more important? The two are exclusive of each other according to the results of the 1976, 1980, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections. Choose the moderate – the one who feels tolerable to everyone – and you reject the candidate [...]

    Pingback by The GOP Seeks its own John Kerry | allanstevo.com | May 30, 2012 | Reply

  2. [...] (Mitt Romney) running against an incumbent president, which has been an unsuccessful option since at least 1976, or an ideological challenger to an incumbent president (Ron Paul).  In the years 1976, 1980, [...]

    Pingback by Ron Paul Keeps Winning as Supporters Prepare For a Battle With GOP Old Guard | ChrisInMaryville's Blog | May 4, 2012 | Reply

  3. [...] (Mitt Romney) running against an incumbent president, which has been an unsuccessful option since at least 1976, or an ideological challenger to an incumbent president (Ron Paul).  In the years 1976, 1980, [...]

    Pingback by Paul supporters in position for Convention battle with fading GOP old guard | American Vision News | May 2, 2012 | Reply

  4. [...] (Mitt Romney) running against an incumbent president, which has been an unsuccessful option since at least 1976, or an ideological challenger to an incumbent president (Ron Paul).  In the years 1976, 1980, [...]

    Pingback by Ron Paul Keeps Winning as Supporters Prepare For a Battle With GOP Old Guard | allanstevo.com | May 2, 2012 | Reply

  5. [...] democrat, and that was Ronald Reagan who ran as an unapologetic conservative.  In fact, if you look at history, moderates are always the least electable, while conservatives tend to win [...]

    Pingback by What Santorum Really Said « Uncategorized « The South Carolina Conservative | April 21, 2012 | Reply

  6. [...] [...]

    Pingback by Ron Paul on the Issues - Page 205 - ALIPAC | March 3, 2012 | Reply

  7. Suddenly I’m not worried about Ron Paul running third party of he has to.

    Comment by Mike | March 3, 2012 | Reply

  8. [...] or is that vague feel of electability more important? The two are exclusive of each other according to the results of the 1976, 1980, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections. Choose the moderate – the one who feels tolerable to everyone – and you reject the candidate [...]

    Pingback by The GOP Seeks its own John Kerry : Ron Paul Abilene | March 3, 2012 | Reply

  9. [...] or is that vague feel of electability more important? The two are exclusive of each other according to the results of the 1976, 1980, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections. Choose the moderate – the one who feels tolerable to everyone – and you reject the candidate [...]

    Pingback by The GOP Seeks its own John Kerry :: Ron Paul Web | March 3, 2012 | Reply

  10. Great article. I got Kazinated because I never knew that the principled candidates winning went back to the 1970s. It’s no wonder Ron Paul is the only one with a chance in the head to head with Obama which should mean more than the primary.

    Comment by bill al | February 4, 2012 | Reply

    • Yo Paulbot. Ron Paul is NOT the one that has best chance against Obama because he is a JOKE! It should be evident in the fact that he has yet to win a single state in the primary and almost consistantly finishes in 3rd or 4th at between 4% and 15%. Very few occasions where he polled better. He is a fraud and a cheater. He is Romney’s wingman, he is a sellout. I for one will never vote for that anti semite piece of crap. Anyone that would legalize Narcotics, Pot, and Hookers has a screw loose. The social conservatives, and the foreign policy hawk strong defense conservatives, and those that just can’t stand Ron Paul will stay home. Thank God he will never be the nominee because he has yet to win a single state and he won’t because he is a LOSER! Libertarianism loses. Its Conservatism that wins national elections. That’s why Reagan Conservative Rick Santorum is the guy. Not a loon who trashed Reagan early and often..

      Comment by Matthew | April 2, 2012 | Reply

      • Any time someone uses the term “Paulbot”, you know they’ve already recognized (if only unconsciously) that there is no rational, honest attack to be made, only argumentum ad hominem.

        It should be evident in the fact that he has yet to win a single state in the primary and almost consistantly finishes in 3rd or 4th at between 4% and 15%

        If he were running today instead of in 1980, Reagan wouldn’t win any, either. The corrupt thugs you worship changed the primaries in response to Reagan’s win, specifically to keep any actual Conservatives from ever winning the nomination again.

        . I for one will never vote for that anti semite piece of crap.

        Anyone who calls Paul an anti-semite has no idea what he’s talking about. But, of course, one can’t expect you do understand the concept of principles. Paul’s don’t allow any kind of group bigotry. Every individual is simply an individual. Rational libertarians like Paul don’t judge them based on generalities the way you do.

        Anyone that would legalize Narcotics, Pot, and Hookers has a screw loose.

        Why, because you like organized crime, and love for those things to be abused, and so anyone who is against organized crime and for less abuse of those things must be insane?

        What actual, sentient beings tend to realize is that prohibition increases abuse, creating the very problems that the ban is supposed to avoid. I know, this is way too abstract and complex for your tiny brain, but it’s still true.

        The social conservatives, and the foreign policy hawk strong defense conservatives, and those that just can’t stand Ron Paul will stay home.

        The hawks are not Conservatives at all. They’re following a Marxist, interventionist ideology that is against every American principle that we’re fighting to Conserve.

        Thank God he will never be the nominee because he has yet to win a single state and he won’t because he is a LOSER! Libertarianism loses. Its Conservatism that wins national elections. That’s why Reagan Conservative Rick Santorum is the guy. Not a loon who trashed Reagan early and often..

        Senator Poopfoam opposes everything Reagan fought for. Santorum is a closest socialist, voting for things like Bush’s socialized medicine plan. Meanwhile, Reagan was correct:

        Conservatism IS LIBERTARIAN:

        http://sentient.wordsof.org/2012/02/22/conservatism-is-libertarian-ronald-reagan/

        Reagan appointee Ron Paul, sitting with The Gipper, himself

        If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.

        I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories.

        The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

        — Ronald Reagan, interview with Reason Magazine (1975)

        Comment by kazvorpal | April 5, 2012 | Reply


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