The two major parties have tens of millions of voters and tens of thousands of elected officials around the nation, so they are both by necessity “big tent” parties. There are a lot of folks in both parties who disagree with each other on various political issues. The local Republican Party, specifically, has made a point of being a “big tent” party, by necessity.
Andrew Guenther (the only Republican who ran for city office in 2019) decided to openly appeal to “woke” Democrats to sabotage fellow Republican Joseph Bortka’s appointment to the city’s parking commission. Because as we all know, posting “dank memes” on Facebook is evidence someone is disqualified from understanding and shaping parking policy in a mid-sized Indiana city.
It is one thing to disagree with someone’s opinions. It is another thing to openly advocate that local government punish a member of your own party. This shows a real intolerance for free speech, from someone who allegedly supports “tolerance.” But we have known for a long time that for those who appeal to the “woke” Left, tolerance only goes one way, and free speech applies only to one side.
Guenther could also learn a few lessons about gratitude and loyalty. After Jim Allen volunteered many hours for Guenther’s 2019 campaign, Guenther announced he would openly oppose Allen in his campaign for Monroe County Council in 2020. The reason? Allen had posted some things on Facebook that Guenther did not like – things that had nothing to do with financial issues in county government. Even if Guenther could not support Allen, would it have hurt to not openly oppose him out of gratitude for Allen’s help in 2019? This lack of gratitude is not just a political misjudgment: It is a character flaw.
That is not all. Guenther personally attacked Bob Hall of Grassroots Conservatives (who has helped a number of Republicans get elected) and questioned Hall’s mental health because of a disagreement over pandemic mitigation policy. It is one thing to disagree with someone. I personally did not agree with much of what Hall was saying about quarantine orders and mask mandates. It is another thing entirely to attack a Republican elected official’s mental health over policy differences.
Guenther may think he is helping the party with his actions against fellow Republicans. But here is what liberal Republicans in Bloomington and Monroe County do not get: They are right that you cannot win with only Republican votes. You must win not only independents, but Democrats as well. But you also cannot win without Republican votes, because even if you pull enough Democrats to win an election, Republicans will still be the majority of your voters. Disdaining the base is a path to guaranteed defeat.
Guenther is a newcomer to the Republican Party, having been a Democrat for quite a while. If he wants to be a judge of who is acceptable as a Republican and who is not, he might want to remember he finished dead last in the countywide at-large state convention delegate race in the 2020 Republican primary election, despite being the most visible Republican in the county in 2019 as the sole Republican running for city council. If Guenther wants Republican support, he needs to show he can be a team player and is grateful to those who have supported him. As it stands now, I cannot vote for him the next time he runs for office.