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Kurt: Bardella: Flake and Corker are casualties in Bannon's war to remake GOP and redefine meaning of "conservative"

He says the silence of Republican majority has eroded the party's moral fabric. Hate is now conservatives' rallying cry

Editor’s Note: Kurt Bardella (@KurtBardella) is a political commentator. He is also the former spokesman for Breitbart News, the Daily Caller, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California; Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine; and Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-California. The views expressed in this commentary are solely his.

(CNN) —  

I can hear it now.

The gloating emanating from the Breitbart News evening “editorial call.”

Steve Bannon proudly declaring he’s claimed yet another “scalp” in his crusade against the Republican establishment.

His minions egging him on – foaming at the mouth as they seemingly inch closer to a potential sweep of Republican primary challenges in 2018.

First, Roy Moore crushes establishment pick Luther Strange in Alabama.

Then, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, forgoes what would have been an incredibly challenging re-election campaign, favoring retirement over war.

Now, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, shocks his colleagues by announcing his retirement rather than pursuing a re-election campaign he may have lost in the primary.

Kurt Bardella
Kurt Bardella

Never mind the fact that Flake enjoys a 93% lifetime rating with the American Conservative Union, or ACU, and a 96% lifetime score with the Club for Growth. Corker’s is above 80% with both the ACU and Club for Growth. For perspective, the ACU is the conservative organization that hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, and the Club for Growth is the pre-eminent conservative organization that focuses exclusively on fiscal economic issues and tax policy.

Instead, they are political casualties in Bannon’s war to remake the Republican Party and redefine what it is to be a “conservative.”

Quite frankly, the Republican Party gave Bannon this opening when it abandoned its core principles and morality last June and clapped like trained seals as Donald Trump accepted the Republican nomination for president of the United States.

That night in Cleveland, anger became the choice policy of the GOP.

Hate became the rallying cry of far too many conservatives.

Cowardice and fear swept through everyone else who quietly shook their heads but kept their mouths shut.

And now the Republican Party as we knew it is gone. It is a thing of the past. There is no going back. The silence of the majority has eroded the moral fabric of the Republican Party.

Why is it that the only elected representatives of the Republican Party in Washington who are willing to speak out against the dangers posed daily by Trump are either suffering from brain cancer or retiring from office?

In the absence of a genuine leadership, people are left to congregate around whoever is left that is willing to step up to the mic.

The Republican Party’s failure to stand up to Trump, Bannon and certain elements of the Republican base has only helped fuel their rise.

Ironically, those Republican members of Congress who had hoped their silence would buy them electoral stability are in for a rude awakening as Bannon launches a broad and expansive assault to defeat them in 2018.

He likely won’t win all those races, but he doesn’t really expect to. Ideally, Bannon’s “league of extraordinary candidates” will win just enough seats to completely disrupt Congress and hold every member hostage until their demands are met.

This is the new reality for the Republican Party.

Sure, Flake, Corker and Sen. John McCain will do their best to band together and reclaim some semblance of a moral center for the Republican Party.

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But what happens when they leave Congress?

Who will carry on their efforts to speak truth to power?

Does anybody really expect Republicans to magically find their courage and conscience after the midterm elections when it’s very likely they’ve lost several of their colleagues to Bannon’s crusade?

Of course not.

They will hide, pander and do all they can to hold onto their precious seats in Congress.

Maybe the best thing that can happen to the Republican Party next year is to lose the House and Senate majorities to the Democrats.