November 7, 2023

The Bannock County Country Club

By: Brian Parsons

“The conservative movement is like a country club based in Washington, D.C.”
– Andrew Breitbart

In the past, I have brought you riveting pieces such as “To Save The Republican Party, the GOP Must Die,” and “The Duplicity of RINOs.”  It remains my contention that the Republican Party is a social club and one that is all too willing to take your dollars and your votes but not your input. This dichotomy is frequently found from the top to the bottom of the party, with some exceptions.  Bannock County did not escape this dichotomy.

Every year, my wife’s clinic attempts to participate in our local Fourth of July and Christmas parades.  It brings immense joy to the children of this community and is an opportunity to be of and in the community.  When not pulling the float trailer, I usually follow closely behind in a star-spangled trailing vehicle.  Our children relish the opportunity to walk in the parade as well.  When not participating in the parades, we bring our kids to the sidelines as bystanders in other parades, such as the ISU homecoming or Veteran’s Day Parades.  In each of these scenarios, I have a common critique: expect to see the Bannock County Democrat Party represented and expect not to see the Bannock County Republican Party represented.

I could not disagree with the Bannock County Democrats more than I do.  Their policy pushes are disingenuous and misguided, if not downright evil.  Programs sold as inclusionary, like the indoctrination or trans’ing of the kids, do irreparable harm to children before the decision-making centers of their brains have formed.  Despite disagreements with their beliefs, one thing you cannot take from them is their commitment to their cause.

Last week, Pocatello celebrated Veterans in our second annual Veteran’s Day Parade.  Not only did the Bannock Democrats walk in the parade, but they also had a committed group from the activist organization Reclaim Idaho walking the sidelines and getting signatures for their Open Primaries and Ranked Choice Voting initiative.  If you were within my vicinity, you may have heard shouts of “do not sign.”  The reason the Bannock County Democrats wish to open up the primaries is that they wish to exert undue influence in conservative politics without having to register as a Republican.  We do not wish to choose their representation, and we do not wish for them to choose RINO representation in ours.

As usual, the Bannock County Republican Party was not represented in the Veterans Day Parade.  Rarely are they represented in the Independence Day or Christmas Parades either.  In an election year, expect to see individual cars or floats for Republican candidates, but don’t expect to see the county party represented.  Why is this?

There are many potential reasons, but allow me to offer an opinion: I assert that the Bannock County Republican Party is a closed club that wields influence behind closed doors.  They like how things are, and their influence dwindles because they do not empower the next generation and their grassroots.  This is how we end up with lifetime representation from milquetoast candidates like US Congressman Mike Simpson and even permanent local representation that shows up for elections once every two years but otherwise votes with Democrats.  This must change.

When we moved to Idaho almost ten years ago, I offered my services as a marketing professional to the Bannock County Republican Party pro bono.  Having served as a precinct chair for the Republican Party of Utah in Salt Lake County, I had some experience in party politics.  I also frequently reached out on issues of concern to local representation.  Very rarely did I receive much of a response from Republicans.  Quite often, the only responses that I received were from Democrat representation.  I couldn’t disagree more with their positions, but nonetheless, they fielded my calls and emails.

This past summer, our elected Republican Chairwoman Dorothy Moon and a stellar group of state committee men and women from around the state made some changes to empower the grassroots of the Republican Party.  One such move was to remove the automatic votes of organizations like the Federation of Republican Women. This prompted a complaint from Bannock County Republican Chair Char Tovey.   The nature of this complaint was that the Federation of Republican Women is the workhorse of the Republican Party, and that is what earned them this automatic voting status.  While I can’t speak to the work of the Federation of Republican Women, I can say without a doubt that the Republican Party of Bannock County has done no such thing, and this expectation of a seat at the table while remaining a country club must end.

Call it envy, but I am tired of watching our peers in Bonneville to the north holding local events and fundraisers and supporting local candidates while Bannock County fails to empower its most ardent conservatives.  Not only do we rarely hold events to keep our majority conservatives abreast of issues of importance, but we rarely publish a calendar or communicate via social media or other methods.  A perfect example of this can be seen by visiting the Bannock County Republican Party website.   At the time of this publication, you will find three links above the fold: Get Involved, Donate, and About Us.  The links to donate and read about the party are hotlinks.  The link to get involved isn’t linked to anything at all.  Your vote and your money are wanted, but your participation is not.

Nationally, there is a schism in the Republican Party between the old guard country club and the grassroots of the party.  The old guard is empowering a leftist takeover (see Butch Otter’s push for Ranked Choice Voting and Open Primaries), while the grassroots are desperately fighting to preserve their posterity, and Bannock County is no different. It doesn’t have to be this way.  If conservatism in Idaho is to survive this shifting culture, change must come, and it must empower and not suppress its grassroots.  Let’s get it done.

Brian Parsons is a paleoconservative opinion columnist in Idaho, a proud husband and father, and saved by Grace. You can follow him at or find his opinion columns at the American Thinker, in the Idaho State Journal, or in other regional publications.

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