Do we want to win? If you see yourself as a GOP leader in Pennsylvania, you ought to ask yourself that question every day — before every meeting, speech and tweet.

Are we trying to build a winning coalition — looking for candidates who can unify us, talking about issues that matter to swing voters — to win elections and govern effectively? 

Nearly all Republicans believe — as do many independents — that progressives in government, media and corporate America are harming, undermining or “radically transforming” every aspect of not only government, but America itself. We may disagree amongst ourselves whether they are doing it by design, through ignorance, or because some have created a “religion” and are blindly loyal to imposing it on us whether it works or not.

Yet, rather than working to unify against the Left and all their resources — more money and the support of big tech, “big Ed,” corporate media and much of corporate America — too many Republicans are railing against and pushing away Republicans.

Are we trying to win elections or have a “witch hunt?” Why are so many focused on getting rid of members of our party? Are we looking for that perfect candidate who thinks, acts, and talks like we do? Is everyone who isn’t perfect now going to be subjected to ridicule, questioning his commitment to the party or “the cause?”

The recent discussion over America’s role in the Russian-Ukrainian war is a case in point. Tucker Carlson surveyed would-be presidential candidates to ask them their positions on what America’s role in the war should be.

On a positive note, at least Republicans are fighting about a genuine public policy issue. This stands in stark contrast to the blind loyalty of almost fanatical group-think among Democrat politicians that we have heard on the war — and issues from abortion to mask and vaccine mandates.

Our Republican give-and-take over when and how to use American resources—and why the war is or isn’t important to our national interest—is admirable and thought-provoking. It has caused Americans to think about this war and our interests — something that neither President Biden, nor the Democrats (or most Republicans) in Congress have done. 

That’s the good news. But, now the bad news. The “witch hunt” continues. 

Those who do not see the war as virtual to America’s national interest are being criticized as isolationists, giving up America’s role as a defender of liberty. 

Those who want to support the Ukrainians with weapons so that they can defend their nation against the Russian aggression are being labeled as warmongers or corporatists, part of an international movement to start World War III. And, many have been called “liberals” and supporters of President Biden.

Unfortunately, too many Republicans have learned some tactics from the Left — how they attack or condemn anyone who doesn’t conform. Instead of debating, learning and looking for consensus, one Republican calls the other a “RINO,” “sellout,” “swamp,” or “crazy.”

The issue here isn’t the merits of being actively engaged or disengaged in Ukraine — which is very important. Rather, the issue here is how quickly and angrily Republicans have turned on Republicans. This foreign policy discussion has become a proxy war for a battle amongst Republicans.

Friends, let’s remember the tried-and-true guides to successful campaigning. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” And, “my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy.”

Of course, healthy debate is how great policy is made and — if done well — how a party is actually held together. 

But, the last few years have been different. These fights haven’t been about advancing a cause. Too many have de-emphasized winning general elections, focusing on ideological purity. These fire-fights resembled witch-hunts; candidates and advocates have been challenged with the goal of exposing them of heresy, finding them unworthy.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich — who today’s GOP either loves for winning-back the House or reviles for becoming part of the DC swamp — once identified a key difference between Democrats and Republicans. He noted that at a meeting of 50 Democrats, they focus on how to get more people in the room. By contrast, at a meeting of 50 Republicans, too many look around the room and think: “Who doesn’t belong here?”

The Left has taken over the Democrat Party and has grown its coalition to include most swing-voters, especially in swing states like Pennsylvania. Democrats have more voters, more money and corporate media on their side.

Do we really need to help them by vilifying fellow Republicans? And, what message does that send to swing voters? Do we demand blind loyalty — 100 percent support or no thanks?

For the last several years the Democrats have attacked our police, ruined K-12 education, undermined parents, spent us into Inflation, left our southern border wide-open, regulated every part of our lives, made us energy dependent on our enemies, grown government to its largest size and power ever—and have shown no indication of letting-up.

Do we want to stop them?  Show Americans that there’s a better way? Or, do we want just to complain about the Left, and each other?

Do Republicans want to win?

Guy Ciarrocchi is a columnist for Broad + Liberty and Real Clear Politics (PA), and a policy and strategic communications advisor. Follow me on Twitter & Facebook @GuyCiarrocchi

13 thoughts on “Guy Ciarrocchi: Do Republicans want to win elections or burn heretics?”

    1. So a hypocrite who insults Doug Mastriano agrees that we need to be more inclusive. That should make the “crazies” want to be more inclusive, it’s a two way street my friend.

  1. Unfortunately “inclusive” has been corrupted to mean every philosophy, every theology or every idea that can be conceived of. It used to mean “close enough for me to be comfortable with the policy positions the elected official will support.” That is what we should be seeking and supporting. It does not include accommodating the philosophies of every yahoo that can type an opinion piece. To sort of quote Shakespeare, “there are more things in heaven than is dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.”

  2. Many in the Republican party seem intent on administering some sort of in-or-out litmus test. Every interest group seems to have their own. I don’t think that there are too many in either party who are 100% orthodox and who can also be serious contenders for higher office. Politics has become a blood sport fueled by the talking heads on Main Stream Media who are driven by the need to keep up their ratings. As this trend continues and (unfortunately) seems to intensify, it can only spell disaster for the Nation.

  3. I’m enjoying Guy’s tour of the local media, in which he’s blamed his resounding defeat just 4 months ago on so, so, so many things (other than Guy of course. Never that).

  4. “…a key difference between Democrats and Republicans. [Newt] noted that at a meeting of 50 Democrats, they focus on how to get more people in the room. By contrast, at a meeting of 50 Republicans, too many look around the room and think: ‘Who doesn’t belong here?”
    Great line.
    The Pareto Principle (80/20 rule – but it’s actually less than 20%) is in play. Less than 20% of people were willing to call out the illogical covid policies such as wearing a mask to enter a place to suddenly sit at a table maskless. This is because less than 20% of people are willing to stick their necks out from the group. Hardcore Trump supporters or Mastriano supporters think they’ll convince fearful people with motivated reasoning – they won’t.
    The writer says: “For the last several years the Democrats have attacked our police, ruined K-12 education, undermined parents, spent us into Inflation, left our southern border wide-open, regulated every part of our lives, made us energy dependent on our enemies, grown government to its largest size and power ever—and have shown no indication of letting-up.”
    Yet Republicans also spent us into inflation and without the southern border immigrants US labor and population numbers would be in a death spiral.

  5. I consider myself 80% progressive and over the years have read, listened to, and talked to many people who generally stand with me politically. NONE of them resemble in the slightest what Mr. Ciarrocchi has written here. They are not “undermining” the government or the country, but instead are trying help America to live up to its highest ideals so that this great nation works better for EVERYONE, not just for the powerful and the wealthy. They truly seek justice, freedom and opportunity for ALL.
    As for undermining the government, the Jan. 6 seditious conspirators and other insurrectionists have been proved in court to be anything but progressives!
    I consider this op-ed yet another example of right-wing projection, in which the accusation is the confession. For years, the right wing has been doing exactly what the writer falsely says progressives do. Reactionary populists unfortunately have been fairly successful in trying to divide and conquer the American people, mainly via phony “culture wars,” while enabling the gross, measurable harm being done to the majority of people by the much-too-powerful corporations and ultra-rich, whom I and others call the oligarchy. The oligarchs and their servants are the real domestic threat to this nation.

  6. I agree with you Guy. We need to expand the the Conservative tent and support our brethren.

    Let’s start by reaching out to the most conservative, demographic besides the Amish in Pennsylvania. Hispanics. Guy, when are you going to go back to Kennett and thank those brethren for your wealth; wealth that was built on the backs of Puerto Rican and Mexican migrant labor? Man, that would be a show of Republican leadership and inclusiveness, real demonstrable inclusiveness, not the exclusiveness disguised as inclusiveness that the Left plays. It wouldn’t hurt your dismal vote count either. Get you some press for sure. Culturally, the Hispanic is loyal to his patrón and your family’s mushroom business has been one of the largest patrónes in Southern Chester County.

    Guy, you play one hand. You play the hand that fits the old Republican rubric of low taxes, privatization, and business. Milk-toast. What’s your message? What about the culture war? What about the growing rift between red and blue states? What about the discontent in soft-White underbelly of Carville’s fly-over areas? Limits on abortion? Limits on guns? What about bias in the media? Big pharma? Tranz? CRT? Woke? Identity Politics? The achievement gap? The wealth gap? The weaponization and politicization of law enforcement and the judicial system? To quote Joe Biden, “Come on, man.” Was Dr. Eck too Conservative for you? I don’t think you belong in the Republican Party. I think you belong in the Say-Nothing Party.

  7. Point well made Guy. Perfect is the enemy of good. My “perfect Republican” is different than yours, it’s America, we are allowed freedom of speech and thought (sorry to those woke thought police). Political parties are made up of individuals with differing perspectives on everything. We come together as Republicans to find candidates for office, the only person who thinks exactly like me is me – so it stands to logic, lets find someone who not only has positions on issues of the day, but more importantly can think, reason and figure out where his or her country or district or state is generally on an issue and take action, cast votes along those lines. Who elected Donald Trump as the judge of a good Republican, he certainly isn’t one. Let’s focus on fiscal conservatives who are more right and understand the threat to our nation from the left. Competitive primaries are fine, but let’s field the best team, with the best character, best ideas and best judgement to represent us as Republicans. Will we all agree with everything they do, likely not, but we they align with us most of the time and use their best judgement in doing their jobs, that is what we are looking for.

  8. From Guy: I am not related to the Ciarrocchi family from Kennett Square. I was raised in South Philly and my wife and I moved to Paoli in 1995. My father died in 1989 from lung cancer; my brother from brain cancer in 2003. My wife and I work hard, very hard, to provide for our family and extended family, including my mom who has lived with us since the covid lockdowns. I did not make even one penny “on the backs” of anyone. (Nor, am I aware of anyone in the Ciarrocchi mushroom clan being anything but good business leaders.)

    My deepest apologies to Guy Ciarrocchi.

    Yes, I agree. The Ciarrocchi Mushroom Farm Model was ahead of its time before it had to be.

  9. Actually, it’s redneck Republicans who have destroyed K-12 education because they don’t want to fund it. Schools in Philadelphia are falling apart, yet state Repubs refuse to pay to fix them. Republicans hate public schools. And the party of Lincoln & Reagan has become the cult of Trump.

  10. Don’t blame us, blame the PA republican party. They did not vet candidates for Governor and Senate, they restricted funds, and we got our asses kicked. I sent an email saying that they should all resign. Am I one of the great unwashed that dares to call them out? Leadership is what we need from the state Repubs. Real question coming up is will we get our asses kicked again because they did not adapt to the new world of mail in balloting and”creative” counting”. If they did this before we would not have a senator that can’t represent himself let alone the state.

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