Will The Real Republicans Please Stand Up?

In MAGA land, no insult is more cutting–or more numerous–than “RINO,” an acronym for “Republican in Name Only.” It is routinely hurled by the extremists who have remade a once-mainstream, center-right party into a racist, misogynistic cult of personality.

The Republicans with whom I worked back when I was one of them have mostly responded by leaving the GOP. Interestingly, however, some of those “RINOs”–more accurately described as traditional Republicans–have chosen to fight, to try to retake their party, and in Idaho, of all places. According to the Washington Post, the rebellion is taking place in an area with a history that has informed the effort.

Locals prefer not to talk about the hate that took root here a generation ago, when the Aryan Nations and other militants built a white supremacist paradise among the tall pines and crystal lakes of North Idaho.Community activists, backed by national civil rights groups, bankrupted the neo-Nazis in court and eventually forced them to move, a hard-fought triumph memorialized in scenes from 2001 of a backhoe smashing through a giant swastika at the former Aryan compound just outside of Coeur d’Alene, the biggest city in this part of the state.

For much of the two decades since, civic leaders have focused on moving beyond the image of North Idaho as a white-power fiefdom. They steered attention instead to emerald golf courses and gleaming lakeside resorts where celebrities such as Kim Kardashian sip huckleberry cocktails.

Now, however, North Idaho residents are confronting that history head-on as a new movement builds against far-right extremism.

Northern Idaho’s traditional Republicans are reacting to the current leadership of the local Republican Party, which they say has lurched to the right, especially on matters of race, religion and sexuality, giving the bigotry of the past mainstream political cover.

A group of disaffected, self-described “traditional” Republicans has spent the past two years planning to wrest back control from leaders who they accuse of steering the local GOP toward extremism, a charge the officials vehemently deny.

Those officials may “vehemently deny” the charge, but quotations from several of them in the Post tended to support the accusation. (One politico insisted that women should be required to carry a rapists baby to term…)

The linked story was published prior to Idaho’s primary, which took place last Tuesday.  On Wednesday, I googled to assess the success of the traditional rebellion. The slate of challengers backed by the North Idaho Republicans won 30 spots on the central committee, but they needed 36 seats to secure a majority.

I also learned that 15 incumbent GOP state legislators lost their primary races. I was initially hopeful that the successful challengers represented traditional Republicans; however, further investigation indicated that, at the state legislative level, far-Right conservatives took control. (If anyone from Idaho has further information, please confirm or correct my impression.)

The effort in Idaho illuminates the challenge facing a once-responsible political party: Can genuine conservatives–voters and operatives holding center-Right policy positions on economic and social issues–take back the GOP, and return the racists and culture warriors to the fringes? If not, where will thoughtful, respectable Republicans go?

In the short term, an extremist GOP can win elections by deploying its demonstrable skills at voter suppression, abetted by the various mechanisms of the American electoral system that give rural voters and a handful of states disproportionate power, but–absent a wholesale takeover that includes revising/ignoring the Constitution– that dominance will have a limited shelf-life. The once Grand-Old-Party will either turn away from the White Christian Nationalists who currently control it (and who represent a distinct minority of Americans), or a new center-Right party will rise from its ashes.

That result, of course, is long-term. The short-term crisis we face is the November election.

If the GOP manages to retake the White House or Congress, all bets are off. A second Trump administration is publicly committed to removing any remaining legal or constitutional guard-rails, setting America on a path to autocracy and chaos.

The sanity vote has never been more important.


  1. It would be damn difficult to re-take the GOP in Indiana. 1) James Bopp, Jr, TH attorney who was on the trial court legal team in Citizens United FEC, signed off on docs for incorp’n of this iteration of the GOP in 2005 or 2006. (I don’t have the copy close at hand); 2) The GOP is a d/b/a of Indiana Republican State Committee; 3) The Articles of Incorp’n and the rules can be accessed at the Sec’y of State’s website; 4) The by-laws are not there; 5) A parallel development was the set of statutes that cover elections (most in Art 3 of Indiana Code) that give the two “major” political parties (the two political parties that received the most votes in the latest election for Sec’y of State) all the bennies (e.g., automatic listing on the ballot, primary elections being held at State expense): 6) Apparently no one anticipated the right-wing surge & dominance of the “tea party” crowd; 7) There is no explanation of how to take the GOP back; 8) Any effort to “bump” the GOP out of the top two could result in the Dems being out in the cold. 9) There are no shares of stock to buy and, in order to be a member in good standing of the GOP and to be primary qualified, a person has to have voted in the past two primaries and requested a GOP ballot in each; 10) Leadership of this iteration of the GOP has done its best to insulate itself from a take-over; and 11) If trump gets into office or if Beckwith makes more inroads, they do not intend to give up office; and 12) The founder of the Red Pill convention said last year that they can take over w/only 15-18% of the vote.

  2. The solution is to vote blue no matter who. This behavior in the R’s has been going on since Reagan. These ARE the real Republicans. The false PR face is gone. Now all can see the real thing. No more dog whistles. Just open hate and greed. Choose wisely.

  3. In my opinion those “real Republicans” have no more business sitting in elected offices than the MAGAs. They have had EIGHT YEARS to come forward to save their party, themselves and this nation but sit idle and mute; cowering in fear of bullying and terrorism within the Republican party. They know who they are and they know who the home-grown enemies of America are and they continue to work side-by-side WITH them.

    “If the GOP manages to retake the White House or Congress, all bets are off. A second Trump administration is publicly committed to removing any remaining legal or constitutional guard-rails, setting America on a path to autocracy and chaos.”

    Those “real Republicans” had insider information and didn’t fight to change or end it when it began, before it took control. It began in 2015 when Trump slithered down that escalator and they continued aiding and abetting his borderline and blatant criminal acts to reach the heights of control, both in and out of the presidency. We can’t live with him and sadly we can’t shoot him! NAME those “real Republicans” publicly at the national level so people know where to place the blame for the Fascist takeover of America in only EIGHT YEARS after about 250 years of a working government. Whether we agreed with the choices of nominees and winners, or with their decisions, we managed to carry on. There is no perfect candidate and no perfect government but there are workable, democracy sustaining candidates and government administrations.

    This is our Memorial Day Weekend and the man who is appalled and sickened when seeing the disabled, disfigured and death toll results of those who fought to save us from the likes of him. He believes they should not be seen in public and we are inundated with his face and his words as the judicial system allows the slowdown of his many active civil and criminal trials to aid in his return to the White House.

    “The sanity vote has never been more important.” We have spent those eight years undergoing Trump induced Shock Treatments which obviously are not working to save the sanity of any of us.

  4. mark small; a big THANK YOU for your technical and legal input, always informative and on target. Too bad it never reaches the voting public. I spent 2 years, 3 months and 11 days watching the local GOP being dismantled and the precursor of the MAGAs under Goldsmith’s administration where our first order, by his 2nd day in office, was to destroy any and all files and paperwork from Mayor Hudnut’s and previous Mayoral administrations. Huge wheeled trash bins were brought into all offices to carry out his order. His second order was to ignore all rules, ordinances and laws because they could be changed; they never were but his appointees and those local early “real Republicans” followed his orders. This all quickly became obvious in Trump’s campaign and his administration; even to local “real Republicans” who caved under the pressure.

  5. Yes but on the other side we have have a man who is using government in spiiteof the laws that are being written by putting in DAs that dont enforce them, so what does it matter who wins?

    Elon Musks opinion is hated because he points out that George Soros is attacking the fabric of all society for personal gain.


    No matter what side you are on, the real demon is the one who turned his back on his own people during the holocaust.

    He supported BLM and CRT which is driving our black community into poverty.

  6. The center-right party is now the Democratic Party, which makes sense based on their actions over the past 20+ years. The Libertarians still exist in that neighborhood, but they only get around 3-4% of votes. However, they did heckle Trump the other day. They got under his skin big time. LOL

    I’ve been to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and it is beautiful. I hate to hear the MAGAs have infested the area. If they let MAGAs rule the state, their pristine lakes will all be polluted before long. Like Montana, they’ll exploit the land, water, and air. Build bigger airports for the billionaires to fly their private jets from coasts and condos for long weekend stays.

    Idaho will become another oligarch playground to exploit. John Sorg would call it Mammon.

    George Soros is 93 years old, making him not a good choice for a bogeyman. However, I did hear his name mentioned for funding the campus protests. LOL. If he was behind the greatest moral stances of 2024 college students, cheers to George—well done!

  7. As governor, Holcomb could have led a movement to reject the MAGA mentality. He didn’t. None of the Republicans in the debate rejected Trump – they raised their hands because they were envious of Braun’s Trump endorsed status. Pathetic. And endorsing Jim Banks? Pathetic. And now the pusillanimous behavior of Nikki Hailey adding to Barr, McConnell, et al. Republicans could have endorsed Nikki and supported her as Trump’s opponent. The Republican Convention is going to be full of smarmy sycophantic speeches. Trump’s narcissism will be on full display as will the bootlicking.

  8. The MAGA folks are the real RINOs. They do not resemble the GOP as I knew it for most of my life. The so called “real” Republicans are not RINOs because many of them are now independents. It’s a sad state of affairs.

  9. I’m not sure that the Utah Women’s Basketball team would find Coeur d’Alene a great place to vacation. Both Joann and Todd have nailed it.

    John S on the other hand needs to understand that, if you’re trying to convince people of just about anything, don’t ever cite Facebook as a source. Your algorithms are feeding you what you want to see, not necessarily what is true.

  10. Let’s give Todd Young some credit for moving away from Trump. He’s likely made the calculation that Trump will have disappeared from the scene by 2028 when Young is up for re-election.

  11. John S., if you are seeing info. about George Soros doing anything other than being dead, you are being taken!
    Aryan Nation folks are riding delusional mythology on top of delusional mythology.
    While their political center may have been broken, they, assuredly, still believe in the garbage they were spewing. The Original sin of the good old U.S.A. is still alive.

  12. On this Memorial Day, we find ourselves in yet another war, this one to decide yet again, if this “nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”

    Let’s settle this one as our founders decided so long ago to design our Constitution as a solution. If the Constitution cannot hold against this threat, then we truly haven’t earned our allegiance to it. It will have proven itself too fragile, not robust enough, to protect the people from threats like instant global communications.

  13. I believe that Nikki Haley’s recent turnaround to support Trump is simply to maintain “real Republicans”, RINOs or MAGAs support in the off chance that Trump is convicted and sentenced to prison and her name is the only possibility left as a Republican presidential nominee. A guilty verdict in this current criminal Hush Money trial may bring a turnaround in the stalling out of going forward with his civil trials as well as other unindicted defendant or co-defendant charges being filed. There must be a “means to her madness” in this election which will decide the future of American government.

    “The sanity vote has never been more important.” Her sanity has not been questioned, no hint of a “brain worm” medical condition and she could be trusted with the Intelligence information provided to all presidential candidates prior to the election. Republicans, real or RINO, and an Independent candidate have us in a lose/lose situation if the “real Democrats” don’t come forward at this time.

  14. Let’s not give Todd Young any credit. He had a chance in TWO impeachment proceedings to show the leadership and patriotism that the Marine Corps is supposed to instill in its officers and he failed both times. Now he is just trying to save himself. He repeatedly violated both his Marine Corps oath and his oath of office to defend the Constitution. And he did that fully understanding that he was putting party above country. He may have a square jaw, but he is missing a spine.

  15. I agree with John Trimble, i.e., the Trumpers are the real RINOs and are the political interlopers. It is disgusting to see so-called Republican Party members of old who fear the vote of Trump’s cult members endorse a man who tells them he will be a dictator and even asks the Supreme Court to grant him immunity from prosecution for murder of political opponents! I have voted Democratic since Truman but I respected the right of Republicans to take center-right positions on certain pieces of legislation. However, that was in the day when that party had a platform and had not been yet captured by narcissist/fascist elements.

    We Democrats yearn for the return of that day of old and the debates on policy we enjoyed that led to compromise and agreement on bills. No more. That “party” as presently led has no interest in governing; its leadership is interested solely in the acquisition and use of power, even including the use of a past and transparently ongoing coup to attain its ends. Debate and compromise are unthinkable and are not even on the political table since Democrats are, after all, importers of vermin, and those who died in the defense of our country’s democracy (like my friends Billy Arnold and Cotton Jones in WW II) are to be remembered this Memorial Day as “losers and suckers” per Trump.

    This is not the Republican Party of Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt or even Nixon. Trump makes the antics of Richard Nixon during Watergate look saintly by comparison and if this were in the day of George Washington, he (Trump) would have long since been hung. He is a fascist, a RINO, and should be jailed before he does yet further damage to America’s teetering democracy.

  16. I dont social media for any news. its opinions of whoever and proven many bots supported by deep pockets to convince you by grabbing you by the brain. the term headlines news aka cnn or whoever, ditched the idea of context to be damn. just let us poke your mind and see where i can drive you. this matter of how far the right has gone,is mainly this scenrio. maybe ignorance is the holder of that mindset, and changing it is like a adrenaline junkie being told to quit jumping off buildings. like a opioid or some drug, these fools get off on it and dont care where they take it,as long as thier ears tickle the brain over matter. that fringe sect,1985 in post falls id, went to a local watering hole for a beer, what you see today was in full swing in 1985 there. Ive studied the nazi build to power at a young age, with the locals of a diverse neighborhood who discussed in open the issues.many of these people were immigrants from euro in the 1930s. take the vets who some both world wars, and have open discussions anyone can listen. To take the words from the actual people who lived thru these changes,and the wars,priceless..we ditched the town hall meeting of the politician and who wants to run for closed mind social media today and its siloed mind. today we see political hacks come in and tell us,what they will do, without any input. its like done and said.shut up and listen. those who choose to listen,wind up getting nothing more than whats already said by every bot and news media. where is the real town hall where we ask in person why?and what?and where they will stand.if there ever will be the Republican party again, it wont be by social media,it needs to find its roots back to where civil minded talks and answers prevail. not a one sided tell it and get out to the next batch of nymphs.

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