If the RNC/operative/#NeverTrump crowd is “victorious” (whatever that ends up meaning) they could well have a collection of smart, well-intentioned and well-funded people who have few voters to speak for. The moderate Republicans we so hope will save our bacon, have either abandoned the party or went for Trump and/or Cruz. If we look back at the total aggregate number of votes per candidate in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz garnered 70% of the total votes cast. John Kasich and Marco Rubio, the third and fourth place finishers, combined only achieved what Cruz did on his own. This is a terrible foreshadowing of things to come for the “Top Down” approach.
The Bottom Up crowd, as it were, began organizing themselves, somewhat organically, during the 2010 mid-term elections. They don’t like the national party, don’t like most of its politicians and see Washington as a hive of scum and villainy. They nominated many candidates for the US Senate who could not win a General Election. Just six short years later, their two preferred candidates for president, Trump and Cruz, finished first and second respectively in the primary.
For them, politics and policy and inextricably intertwined. An activist candidate will rail against Washington, and as their stated goal, will do all they can to prevent the government from doing things it shouldn’t. Objectively speaking, this is not a bad goal if you are in the libertarian-ish camp. However, much of their anti-government rhetoric has a decidedly nihilistic flavor to it, and many of these small-government stalwarts are pro-life and/or pro-internal security. They’re against your idea of big government, not theirs.