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OPINION: Party on — Gem State heist

by BRENT REGAN/Common Sense
| March 22, 2024 1:00 AM

Last week I wrote about the need for political parties because they bring stability to our Republican form of government and how that stability is under threat from the Uniparty.

A little over four years ago Democrat operatives rented an entire floor in a downtown Boise office building and staffed it with a rumored $8M budget. Their mission, turn Idaho blue. Their plans were largely blocked by grassroots Republicans working at the county central committee level to promote strong conservative Republicans. So what are they doing since their plans aren’t working? They’re changing their plans.

The other group that sees the grassroots conservatives as the opposition is the Old Guard Republicans whose roots reach back to the Democrat controlled history of Idaho. At the 2022 State Convention, the Old Guard lost control of the Republican Party in a landslide. These very same people who, hours before, were lecturing on the need for unity and cooperation immediately turned their backs on the party and walked out of the convention in an effort to break the quorum and crash the convention. They failed, but have been punching right ever since.

In an apparent act of desperation, the Old Guard seems to be making a Faustian bargain with the democrats, allying with them to claw back power. We saw this during the last election when elected Republican Old Guard members openly endorsed the Democrat’s candidate for Attorney General rather than the grassroots conservative Raul Labrador. We are seeing this in real time during the latest legislative session with Old Guard members voting in unison with Democrats against Republicans. 

The Old Guard likely realizes that the bargain they have made will not end well. They will suffer a similar fate as Benedict Arnold, despised by both sides as traitors. If you are trapped in a system with no good outcome for you then your only options are to change the system or break the system. We are seeing attempts to do both. 

The so-called “Open Primary” initiative will break the system. They call it “Open Primary” because that term polls well and like most Democrat ideas, what it is called doesn’t describe what it does. 

What it really does is destroy the political party system and replace it with a confusing, complex Rank Choice Voting system that can’t be audited and is designed for fraud. The initiative has a provision that encourages candidates to lie about their party affiliation. If they were honest, they would call it the Uniparty Initiative because that would be the result. 

The second path is to change the system and to do that you need to control the system and to control the system you need to elect Precinct Committeemen in a majority of the 976 precincts. To do that, you form a political action committee (PAC) with a friendly sounding name, say Gem State Conservatives, and begin organizing a statewide effort to take over the Republican Party. 

The interesting feature about party officers, like precinct committeemen, is that even though they are elected, they are not “elected officials” in the legal sense and as such there are no sunshine reporting requirements. Money from any source can be put toward the election of any one of 976 precinct committeemen statewide, and not a dime of that money gets reported to the Secretary of State. Gem State Conservatives claimed they had over $1 million in donations and pledges, but there is no way to verify that amount. It could have come from George Soros’ petty cash; there is no way to tell. 

The roll call from a Gem State “Conservatives” Zoom meeting had a lot of former elected officials; Old Guard who had been primaried by true grassroots conservatives. Several of the attendees hail from Kootenai County and are also founders or members of the North Idaho Republicans & democrats (NIRd). 

NIRd is famous for their political antics. They were fined the maximum allowed by law for lying to the Secretary of State. Remember those recommended candidate flyers that looked identical to the official Republican Party flyer but listed the Democrat endorsed candidates? That was NIRd. They received a Cease and Desist warning from the legal counsel of the Republican National Committee for unauthorized use of the Republican logo. It was an NIRd associate that filed the accreditation complaint against North Idaho College. Just recently, they illegally used the trademarked logo of the official Republican Party for fundraising. The list goes on. 

NIRd has put up a slate of precinct committeemen for the upcoming May primary. Had they done their homework, or perhaps by design, they would have found several of their “Republican” candidates request Democrat primary ballots indicating they are philosophically Democrats. Many are Never Trumpers and proudly boast about voting for Biden (because “Trump is a Nazi”). Some think moving materials harmful to minors from the children’s section of the library to the adult section is censorship, but they do approve of mask mandates. 

This is just scratching the surface, with more to follow. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. 

It’s just common sense.

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Brent Regan is chairman of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee.