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Opinion: A House Divided Cannot Stand

State Representative Adam Schwadron authored an article recently for The Missouri Times addressing Party unity, or lack thereof, specifically the chaos that ensued at the MOGOP state convention in Springfield:

“At the 2024 Republican state convention, certain individuals staged a coup and overthrew the Donald Trump endorsed slate of candidates. As a result of the fallout from this takeover from a small but organized group, many left in anger at the way the whole process was handled. The actions of that small group at the state convention has sped up the damage to the Missouri Republican Party. It is my hope that this damage is not permanent.”

The previous week, I delivered a keynote speech on unity at a local Republican Township Club dinner. Here’s an excerpt from my speech:

“Arguably the greatest Republican president, Ronald Wilson Reagan, once stated, ‘My 80% friend is not my 20% enemy. Voting in alignment with your district, your state, or your conscience does not brand you a RINO if the vast majority of your votes adhere to Reagan’s 80/20 principle.” defines populism as “a political approach that strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.”

Citizens organizing to voice discontent with their government is fundamental to our constitutional liberties. Throughout history, populist movements have ousted tyrannical governments, entrenched incumbents, and favored candidates.

Populist movements can sometimes resemble a flamethrower; when controlled, flamethrowers serve constructive purposes like managing wildfires or clearing land. However, a productive situation can swiftly turn destructive if the wind unexpectedly shifts or picks up speed.

I believe two principles from “The 48 Laws of Power” should be implemented in any political movement

Law 45: Preach the Need for Change, but Never Reform Too Much at Once

“While change is universally acknowledged as necessary, people tend to resist it in their daily routines. Excessive innovation can trigger backlash. If in a position of power or striving to establish one, show deference to traditional practices. Introduce change gradually, presenting it as an enhancement of the past.”

Law 47: Know When to Stop After Achieving Victory

“The moment of triumph often harbors the greatest danger. Over confidence can lead to exceeding your initial objectives, engendering more adversaries than victories. Guard against hubris. Prudence and strategic planning are indispensable. Set a goal and halt upon its attainment.”

Despite its moniker, populist movements frequently exhibit a propensity for exclusivity by erecting purity tests as barriers to entry.

Look, someone espousing racial supremacist ideologies, someone with a criminal history, or other obviously disqualifying factors should not be allowed to register and seek office as a Republican in Missouri.

However, I oppose imposing arbitrary written purity tests for Republican candidates. The primary election should serve as the litmus test for identifying genuine conservative Republicans. If a RINO (Republican in name only) is inadvertently elected because they misrepresented their views during the campaign and voted against their constituents’ wishes, then they should have hell to pay for deceiving them. But if they are re-elected, they may be actually representing their constituents’ views.

Early in my political career, I heard a maxim that has stayed with me throughout my 25 year political career: “Politics is about addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division.” Regrettably, our party is divided right now, but I hope we can come together for the sake of our country and state and heed Jesus’ wise words: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”