The Following Articles are intended to address functional opportunities facing the Republican Party in the Commonwealth, as well as to enumerate potential solutions. There is no solution more effective than the conscious decision to allow the party, as an institution, the dignity of priority. The Republican Party is a big tent and the inescapable reality facing us is that no amount of surreptitious unity-baiting will deliver us from the necessity of intrapartisan competition. Our future success as a national party depends upon how we engage in this competition.
We must choose whether or not the vehicle of a major political party is worth accommodating the vast array of political philosophies and positions. Let’s face it – at present, we have our share of serious problems.
The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) doesn’t appear to stand for anything and Republicans in Virginia do not appear to stand together. We cannot decide whether we like open or closed primaries or conventions. We have miniature factions within the party which are constantly at war with one another. Personal grudges often serve as the glue of factional alliances. We judge RPV and its’ Chairman by incoherent standards and purists appear to drive all of our debates. Despite being the most popular party in America, we are certainly the least content.
The Republican Party constantly deals with a civil war between conservatives and moderates. Conservatives want conservative candidates, even in moderate districts, while moderates want moderate candidates in conservative districts. We say there are principles we believe in, but neither our leaders nor our elected are ever held accountable to them. Republicans in Virginia do not trust each other, do not like each other, and will not cooperate, work with, or compromise with one another.
Is this not an accurate summery of what the Republican Party in Virginia has become?
As you read this, I can feel the wheels of judgment turning in your mind as your mental fingers begin to point and blame begins to be assigned. Truly, we are all to blame. There is no one innocent here, myself least of all.
There are three reasons why the Republican Party of Virginia has become so remarkably aimless and chaotic. The first reason is that we no longer share a common set of principles. The second reason is that we’ve become so utterly Balkanized that cooperation is no longer possible. The third reason is that we have no strategy – we only think one move ahead, with our own individual agendas serving as our sole priority.
Whatever it is that we are doing as a party isn’t working. There has got to be a shared collection of perspectives which would allow the Republican Party to function more effectively and without so much antipathy.
In order to keep the Republican Base invested in the party, it is necessary that the Republican Party remain a party of conservative principles. However, as our government has exceeded its constitutional mandate, we are faced with the reality that our system, as currently constituted, is simply no longer conducive to conservative principles of limited government.
It will take 100 years of incremental change to return America to its rightful position as a Constitutional Republic. Republicans and Democrats, the majority of Americans have accepted democratic principles as preferable to the principles of limited government, federalism, and strict constitutionalism. We cannot ignore, as conservatives, that we are a minority. Expecting our representatives to perfectly represent our views in the face of overwhelming opposition is irrational, as such an action would inevitably lead to electoral defeat.
Cooperation and compromise are necessities, not capitulations. Wrong as they are, the American People have accepted the status quo. If we are not able to focus on a few achievable objectives at a time, we will never move the needle forward. While this may seem objectionable to the purists and orthodox republicans among us, there is simply no other option. If we cannot work together, the Democrat Party will continue setting the political and social agenda in this country, despite being a minority party and a countercultural revolution.
This series will be broken up into 9 chapters: 1. What Does the Republican Party Stand For? 2. How Does the Republican Party Work? 3. Open and Closed Primaries vs. Conventions. 4. Party Unity & Defeating Democrats. 5. The Inevitability & Lunacy of Factions. 6. Baby Steps: Saving the Republic One Step at a Time. 7. Millennials, Immigration, and Civil Rights. 8. Grassroots Activism: Winning the Argument. 9. Social Media and Etiquette.
These essays are intended to spark thoughtful debate and I am sincerely looking forward to your contribution to what ought to be a statewide discussion.