A lot of chatter has been generated lately by a new group calling themselves ‘Frontier Republicans.’ This group believes that the Republican Party has been taken over by extremists. These ‘Frontier Republicans’ claim they represent the ‘real Republican Party’ and demand that there ‘should be no litmus test to be a Republican.’
Frontier Republicans are about one thing, eliminating accountability for elected Republicans.
Let’s start with the no litmus test demand and work our way backward through what the Frontier Republicans claim and the reality of the Republican Party here in Wyoming. Finally, we’ll wrap up with a bit of history of some of the primary mover and shakers of the Frontier Republicans.
So the Frontier Republicans claim there ‘shouldn’t be a litmus test to be a Republican.’
The first thing to know is that there is only one litmus test to be a Republican, it’s the Wyoming Republican Party platform. That platform establishes what it means to carry the ‘R’ brand.
As a state party, the GOP meets every two years to discuss the issues of the day and establish the platform. This establishes what the Wyoming Republican Party believes.
If you want to know why the party platform matters, the greatest president of my lifetime, and most significant Republican of the twentieth century, Ronald Reagan put it best. Ronald Reagan said that if you support 80% of the platform, then you are Republican. It understands that on any single issue that people can have significant differences but, on the whole, still share many common values. Without the platform, then the Republican brand stands for nothing and can be used to hoodwink voters looking for that all-important Wyoming ‘R’ brand.
Across Wyoming, this is one of the central principles most Republicans, liberal, moderate, or conservative, agree.
Except, of course, the Frontier Republicans. Frontier Republican’s don’t want any accountability for their beliefs or actions. That’s the point of the ‘no litmus test’ concept. Without responsibility to the party platform, there is no definition of what it means to be a Republican.
Next, the Frontier Republicans claim the Wyoming Republican party has been taken over by extremists. This, too, is a dodge to avoid accountability.
Conservatives across the state have come into their own recently, earning the votes of the county GOP parties and taking over a majority of county party chairmanships. This, in turn, led the party to be more vocal on issues of Republican principle and actively reviewing legislators voting records.
Not surprisingly, many of the same people who claim to be Frontier Republicans don’t want to see this kind of accountability. They want anyone who calls themselves Republicans to get elected regardless of what the candidate actually believes or does.
To most Republicans, even moderates and liberals, this idea is alien.
Why the Frontier Republicans stand against accountability is anyone’s guess. Indeed, they don’t want the Republican Party standing up for what it believes. It’s likely a threat to those politicians the Frontier Republicans support. Dollars to donuts a more conservative GOP won’t be supporting many Frontier Republican candidates.
Let’s look at some of the major players in the Frontier Republican farse.
Joe McGinley is the embattled Chairman of the Natrona party GOP. His tenure started with controversy that saw the Natrona GOP hold a meeting to remove Dr. McGinley from office. Ultimately Dr. McGinley was able to have the vote of the Natrona GOP that removed him invalidated on a technicality, overturning his removal.
Fast forward two years.
Dr. McGinley supported the Laramie County Chairman Dani Olsen when she declared the state party leadership to be corrupt, without exception.
What got Laramie County Chairman Olsen so upset?
Wyoming gets roughly twenty-nine delegates to the Republican National Convention. Currently, only Laramie County sends a delegate to every national convention. The remaining twenty-two counties pair up and alternate every four years to elect a delegate. The remaining delegates not representing a county are elected as at-large delegates at the state convention. Often the majority of the approximately seventeen delegates wind up coming from Laramie County (Cheyenne), Natrona County (Casper), or Campbell County (Gillette). These counties have the lion’s share of delegates at the state convention and hence a considerable advantage in selecting the at-large delegates.
For years the county parties have asked for bylaw changes to give every county a delegate to every national convention. The state party central committee is comprised of seventy members from all county GOP parties. The state central committee determined to seriously consider this bylaw change and present it at the next state convention for ratification as required by the state party bylaws.
Laramie and Natrona counties object to this as their influence in the state party would be reduced. That’s what kicked off the attacks.
It should be noted that Campbell County didn’t join in these attacks because Campbell County is a county where Frontier Republicans are currently a minority.
Jump to the next state central committee meeting.
Well surprise surprise, folks in Wyoming don’t like being called corrupt.
This led to Dr. McGinley and Ms. Olsen being called to account for their actions bringing the Wyoming Republican Party into disrepute. (There’s that accountability thing, funny it shows up again. It’s like there is a theme to what gets Frontier Republicans upset).
Of course, the meeting turned into a circus with Laramie and Natrona counties, each proposing “free speech resolutions” that were about anything but free speech. It is impossible to understand the ethics of wrapping yourself in the First Amendment to justify baselessly calling folks corrupt. Significantly, the state GOP central committee rejected these attempts to paper over the conduct of Chairman Olsen and Chairman McGinley.
We’ve seen in some detail what the Frontier Republicans really stand for is an absence of accountability.
This website exists to call attention to the voting record of legislators to ensure that voters can hold legislators accountable.
The Frontier Republicans and their supporters don’t want sites like this to exists. Nor do Frontier Republicans want a proactive Republican Party standing up for Republican principles as defined in the Republican platform.
Accountability matters. It’s the real fight that is at the center of the current battle over the Wyoming GOP.
Ronald Reagan wouldn’t support these charlatans, and neither should you.