What the Founders tell us about the GOP's ruling class

This was the British ruling class of 1789. The American ruling class of 2014, of course, is superficially different: there are no rotten boroughs in the United States. But if each House member represents about 750,000 voters, there might still be half who “do not even reside among the people at large”–more creatures of Washington, than any hometown constituency–and serve the “executive magistrate,” rather than act as “the guardians and advocates of the popular rights.”

There are a number of reasons for this. But two are perhaps most relevant in the battle for Republican Party control that both the establishment and the insurgents acknowledge. Progressive ideology requires the centralization of power in federal and then executive hands–not to protect rights, but to right (perceived) wrongs. The ruling class, divided only between intentional (generally Democratic) and accidental (generally Republican) Progressives, naturally assimilates with the culture and power structure of the City of Government. Meanwhile, mutual interest has led both party establishments to all but gerrymander competitive House districts out of existence.

What avenue, then, is left for reform? Primary challenges, featuring thoughtful conservatives immune, as much as any human being can be, to the Potomac fever infecting the Washington governing class. According to one calculation, there are 191 House districts that are either “landslide” (125) or “strong” (66) Republican. Whatever the prudential strategy might be in the few remaining competitive districts, there ought to be a strong Tea Party candidate in every one of those 191 Republican primaries, either as the incumbent or the challenger–and no complaints from either side: the people, not the present occupants, own each House seat. The establishment in particular, despite its pretensions, has no divine right to govern.

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