Jamie Miller: Who is going to unify the GOP?

fasano, mike - fp

The GOP is in need of a unifier in a bad way!

There seem to be Republicans who believe they have proprietary rights about who is allowed to call themselves a Republican.

Let’s get one thing straight — one wing of the party cannot determine who and who is not a Republican any more than the other.

There are three major factions of the Republican Party: the establishment, the religious right, and the Tea Party.

There may be many stepchildren to each of these — conservatives, economic conservatives, libertarians, moderates, etc.  For the most part, the vast majority of voters in the GOP can fit into these three groups.  For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume these subsets live somewhere beneath these three in an organizational chart.

Like many young, Southern rural voters, I originally registered as a Democrat because that was the only way to have a say in local elections.

In 1994, there was a major push in my rural county, Sumter County, to put forth qualified Republican candidates.  I switched parties to help the five people who were running as Republicans locally.  Four of them won, and two of them still serve today.

I consider myself one of the original Tea Party activists.  I became involved in the GOP as a volunteer to defeat HillaryCare, was elected County Party Chairman and then hired by the party to help in Jeb Bush’s race in 1998.

I was director of field operations for the Republican Party of Florida in 2000, and I know that without the help of my team and thousands of volunteers, George W. Bush would not have been elected President.  That’s my “one person can make a difference” tangent.

In 2010, the Tea Party emerged as a major force within the GOP.  I welcomed them with open arms.  I welcome anyone who wants to assure that government is held accountable.

What has bothered me recently, however, is that several people who identify themselves with the Tea Party admonish me for writing views or being quoted in publications with ideas with which they disagree.

I will not apologize for saying we need to unify the GOP and that all Republicans must learn to compromise. Nor will I apologize for spending the last 20 years volunteering, sacrificing and working on behalf of our Constitutional rights.

We all need the strength of the other groups.  The Tea Party and religious right cannot win without the funds, infrastructure, and experience of the establishment.  The establishment and religious right cannot win without the enthusiasm and willingness to volunteer of the Tea Party.

The Tea Party and establishment cannot win without motivating religious right voters.  The religious right cannot win a national election without the other two groups joining their cause.  The GOP can win the presidency if a candidate comes forth and unifies the party.

So, who can unify the GOP and win the presidential race in 2016?  Look toward the Republican governors who are running for re-election in 2014 like Rick Scott, John Kasich in Ohio, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania.  I think you can add Jeb Bush to that group as well.

One thing is for sure, Republicans must stop eating their own if they want to be victorious in any race.

Guest Author


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704