The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) is in failed disarray. All statewide officeholders are Democrats, and Republicans have not won a statewide election in a decade. Fairfax County, the largest county in Virginia, has no Republican representation in the General Assembly. Why? Decades of abject, surrendering weakness on display by the RPV, nearly all of our elected Republicans, and the inside Republican power brokers who would rather elect a democrat than a conservative they cannot control. They refuse to go on offense with our political adversaries, who easily trample us when they see Republicans won’t fight to win.
The problem starts at the top of the RPV. The State Central Committee (SCC) is the governing body of the RPV, similar in some ways to a Board of Directors. In the face of the official party’s years of statewide failure, what has SCC done to right this ship and start winning again? The answer is NOTHING. Republican units and the grassroots activists supporting them surely want the RPV to provide support to units and candidates, so why do their SCC representatives refuse to take action?
The truth is that close to half of the SCC voting members in fact do not represent ANYONE; they are unelected and therefore unaccountable to anyone other than the party bosses who appointed them. The RPV “Party Plan”, permits up to 43 unelected voting SCC members, with “unelected” meaning not elected at a local Congressional District Convention or RPV State Convention. This makes them unaccountable to the grassroots and not removable by volunteers in the local Unit committees. This unelected political class is largely populated by campaign managers, campaign consultants, lobbyists, printers, and other professional political operatives who make money from campaigns and the favor of elected officials. Their interests are therefore conflicted: personal financial gain vs. electing candidates chosen by grassroots voters. How many times has the RPV put its thumb on the scale to influence a primary or, worse yet, withheld support from a nominee chosen by the voters but not perceived as friendly to the moneyed interests? The number of SCC votes controlled by the party officials who appointed them is sufficient, when combined with a few elected insiders, to overrule the only SCC members who are actually elected and therefore accountable to voters. We as voters and grassroots volunteers are thereby silenced at the RPV level.
It is time to change our Republican leadership, the way it operates, and the level of accountability to the grassroots effectiveness of the RPV. To do this, the driving force on SCC must be its ELECTED MEMBERS. The current flawed SCC structure can be corrected with an amendment to the RPV Party Plan that will do three things: 1) reduce unelected voting members down to only 6, 2) reduce SCC voting members from up to 90 down to 54, and 3) ensure that the dominant driving influence on SCC will come from elected SCC members accountable to – AND REMOVABLE BY – the voters who elected them.
NOTE: Supporting auxiliary groups including Virginia Federation of Republican Women, Young Republicans and College Republicans would continue to have SCC voting members, elected at their conventions, and would retain their voting influence under this plan. In fact, the voices of these groups would be AMPLIFIED on a smaller SCC with just 54 voting members, nearly all of whom would be accountable to the local Republicans who elected them.
The above changes will enhance organizational agility to promptly respond to new developments, quickly solve problems, improve decision making and – most importantly – move the leadership of the RPV/SCC into the hands of grassroots volunteers and the units that do the real work of electing Republicans. Let’s take back our RPV and Make Virginia Great Again.