The Republican Party (with exceptions) has abandoned conservativism. Even beyond ideology, most politicians in Congress have embraced corruption and Beltway politics. This, more than anything else, was the reason the GOP was delivered a stinging defeat in 2006. Many commentators have stated that the 2006 election was the demise of conservatism. This is hardly true.
Where conservatism succeeded was in ballot initiatives. Most notably, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative which banned affirmative action was passed despite the opposition of almost every politician in Michigan. Gay marriage bans passed throughout the country. One of the main mechanisms that keeps California from being a runaway socialist Republic is the binding ballot initiative.
However, many states still do not have binding referenda. Illinois, for example, allows non-binding referenda complete with laws that even allow the entrenched elite to squash attempts to put questions on the ballot that run against the established groupthink. Binding referenda movements need to be established in every state to allow relatively easy ballot access for citizen-initiated referenda.
Where binding referenda exist already, conservatives need to engage in a full-court press to put conservative questions on the ballot and get them passed. For decades conservatives have complained about affirmative action and it wasn’t until citizens in Michigan got the job done until the policy changed. If it was up to the established elite, gay marriage would be a reality everywhere.
Some politicians may come along who take conservative values seriously and when they do they should be supported. Until then, it is time to practice politics without politicians. If we can’t have citizen legislators in office, we can at least practice citizen legislation with binding referenda.