November 23, 2022
Pocatello–Conservatives from across southeast Idaho gathered at last Saturday’s Liberty Dinner to hear Bannock County Commissioner-Elect John Crowder and District 29 GOP Chair David Worley analyze the results of the 2022 General Election and share their thoughts about the future of the conservative movement.
John Crowder began his analysis with a focus on the expected national red wave that never materialized. While acknowledging the existence of voter fraud in Democrat-run cities, he said that “voter fraud alone can’t explain the disappointing results we saw nationally.” He then pointed out four other significant problems that conservatives have the ability to correct:
- Republicans have an image problem.
“It’s not enough to just say, ‘Let’s go Brandon.’ You must identify a problem your voters will relate to and say how you’re going to fix it,” said Crowder. “You need to know your audience and speak to their concerns.”
- Voter turnout was terrible.
Crowder pointed out that only 72% of voters from the 2020 General election voted in the 2022 midterms. This drop occurred mainly in swing states and the Midwest.
- Democrats work harder at getting voters to the polls.
Democrats are actively involved in both ballot harvesting and bussing voters to the polls, while Republicans do neither. “This is basically a failure of the Republican Party,” said Crowder. He called for Republicans to take advantage of all legal means to increase voter participation.
- The way voting is done.
While conservatives would prefer to see early voting banned or at least strictly limited, the fact is that early voting is a reality. Crowder said, “I think it’s a mistake to discourage people who are in our camp from voting early, while Democrats are working the early vote to maximum effect.” He pointed out that conservatives lose votes on voting day, because people choose to wait until Election Day and then end up not voting due to forgetfulness or emergencies.
Crowder then spoke briefly about Idaho politics, pointing out that both state and county races are won or lost in the May Primary rather than General Election.
Finally, Crowder offered a detailed analysis of the election results in District 29, which he called “the real battleground for us.” He explained that while all three Coalition-endorsed candidates underperformed based on party affiliation, he believes that is due to “the internal fight that we’re currently engaged in as the Republican Party…Of those who voted in the General election, I would estimate that there are about 600 Republicans in District 29 that can’t be counted on to vote Republican.” About half of them, he said, are actually “hard-core Leftists” who vote for the Democrat platform. The other half may be persuadable if candidates focus their messaging on economic and jobs-related issues.
Going forward, Crowder explained that there will be three city council races and two school board races in 2023. Candidates are already preparing for those races. In order to get them elected, conservatives need to reach out to like-minded friends and encourage them to become involved in the effort.
“Pocatello is winnable for conservatives,” Crowder said in closing. “It’s been thought otherwise for years because an incompetent Republican party has not done its job. Now it falls on us to do the work, to put Pocatello firmly in the conservative camp…60% of our endorsed candidates won in the General and we’re closing in on long-held Democrat seats. Let’s continue this march to victory.”
David Worley touched briefly on the election results as well, reiterating Crowder’s point that winning in District 29 is possible. He also highlighted the gains conservatives made in Idaho’s Senate, pointing out that with twelve conservative Senators, it will be possible to force good bills to a floor vote rather than seeing them languish in chairman’s drawers. However, he cautioned that there will be no dramatic changes overall, since establishment Republicans still hold the Senate majority and the governor’s seat.
Worley focused the bulk of his speech on the spiritual roots of America’s difficulties, which he describes as “a spiritual dichotomy between the right and the left…two different religions.” The contrast is between the theological underpinnings of the Declaration of Independence (There is a God, our rights come from Him, and the role of government is to protect those rights) and the openly atheistic religion of the left, which rejects “God, Biblical morality, and the entire Christian worldview,” replacing them with a morality based on raw force.
To correct this, Worley called for revival of the three institutions that God ordained in society: the family, the church, and the state. The general election showed that conservatives are losing the youth vote to the left, which points to a failure of families to educate their children. “As a society,” Worley said, “we outsourced the raising of children to people who are hostile to what we believe…my advice is simple: if you still have children at home, and they’re going to public school, get them out! by any means necessary.” He suggested that families help one another with this task. “We have to start building communities within communities, where we can perpetuate, not just American civilization, but Christian civilization. We will never have a restoration of the Republic without a restoration of the foundation,” he said.
Worley then spoke about the interplay between church and state, which used to exist and needs to be restored. In recent years, the church has focused primarily on evangelism and on the words of Jesus in the New Testament, and has failed to teach the full Bible. It is the Old Testament, though, that teaches God’s standards of justice and governance, and in the relationship between kings and prophets illustrates the role of religion in government. “The church,” he said, quoting German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “is the conscience of the state.” He then told his hearers that if the churches they attend are not fighting evil, they should either find a church that does, or fight to bring their churches back to the role they ought to play in society.
Finally, Worley addressed the common misconception that the state can be a neutral moral actor. “The state will always have a god,” he said. “The question is, Will it be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, as it was for our forefathers, or will the state declare itself to be god?” Therefore, the political revival we need must spring from an attitude of national repentance and spiritual revival. “Only Bible believing people can bring this back to the foundation,” he said in closing.
Note: There will be no Liberty Dinner in December. The Liberty Dinners will resume in January of 2023, when the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Ron Nate will speak on the Idaho Conservative Agenda for 2023.