It appears that the Affiliated Groups that already have a presence on the State Central Committee (SCC) have proposed several amendments to the Virginia Republican Party Plan that would increase the size of their membership on the SCC. The groups involved include the Virginia Federation of Republican Women (VFRW), Young Republicans (YR), and College Republicans (CR).
Their amendment would increase the size of their contingent on SCC to four representatives for each group (total of 12 in all) Also, they throw out a fig leaf to Unit Chairs setting up a contingent of representatives from some non-existent association of Unit Chairs that also send 4 more people into the ranks of SCC. This would in effect grow Affiliated Groups from the current 9 to 16 representatives. The title of their proposal is “Grow Our Party” Amendment.
Let’s examine what is behind this amendment and possibly identify some unintended consequences if this proposal is approved. To review the Bull Elephant article explaining some but not all problems facing RPV/SCC, the Party Plan Amendment (PPA), and the need to reduce the bureaucracy go here.
History of Success
The current membership roster of 78 people is a prime example of too many cooks spoiling the soup. I’m not sure how adding even more cooks, makes the soup better. SCC’s size has grown over time, so if growing SCC’s size was conducive to improving the electorate’s size, which should be our objective or the effectiveness of RPV, we would not be in the sorry condition that the Republican Party is in today.
The main mistake of the Affiliate’s proposal is the false assumption that growing SCC has a direct effect on the growth of the party’s electorate in Virginia. Such is not the case. The problem addressed by the PPA Amendment is to improve the ability of RPV to make quick and effective decisions by objectively and fairly reducing the size of RCC’s bureaucracy.
Virginia’s dynamic political environment requires a nimble and focused SCC. The Party Plan can only be changed by SCC. Seventy-eight (78) Republicans can’t agree on what’s for lunch, much less, how to change the Party Plan. Couple that with the ludicrous requirement of a 75% majority rule, all of which guarantees a bureaucracy that retards the change process.
This article’s section is the simple reality that growing SCC is not the same as growing RPV’s electorate. Trying to make this direct link between the two entities ludicrous. The simple act of appointing or electing new SCC members is very easy. True precinct organizing with the local staff of 10 to 20 volunteers in each precinct in Virginia is difficult to recruit, manage, motivate, and execute. This type of precinct organization is one of the many critical changes necessary for RPV to begin winning elections.
Born Out of Due Season
The current RPV Establishment is known most recently for its shenanigans and manipulation of the Party Plan to maintain their power or to get their way. This default activity of resorting to dirty tricks is a root cause of the grassroots not trusting RPV resulting in withholding donations to an organization that takes advantage of an unnecessarily complicated Party Plan.
The Party Plan is easily manipulated by the lawyers that dominate and control the party. It is always the same suspects involved. Jack Wilson, the current Chair, an attorney; Mike Thomas, Vice-Chair for 25 years, and the assigned, in-house representative for the McGuire-Woods law firm; Chris Marston, the highly conflicted RPV Corporate Counsel that has connections to SUV-GOP PAC, Stratpoli, and many campaigns around the state; John Whitbeck, former RPV Chair and an attorney, and now a principal in Stratpoli. Is there any doubt that RPV is a private power base for political elites in Virginia.
This brings me to the title of this section, born out of due season. The last SCC Zoom meeting was highly scripted to diminish any participation of opposing ideas and opinions. The artificial date of Aug 15 for an unassembled convention was just enough time for the affiliated groups to prepare and distribute their amendment proposals just in time to meet the 45-day warning requirement in the Party Plan. They ignored the original call that the PPA Amendment adhered to. This is just another example where the Power Base used manipulation and interpretation, backstopped by Corporate Counsel, to get their way.
These proposals are nothing more than a protection strategy by the elites to either keep the status quo and defeat the SCC Reduction Amendment or punish the Conservatives that decided that continuing down this road to oblivion must stop. The punishment applied to Conservatives was to increase the size of the roadblock to progress in SCC by expanding those affiliated groups that add to the 75% majority making it even more difficult to respond to our changing political environment.
Blatant Power Grab
Let’s explore the possibility of what happens if one or both of these Amendments pass on August 15 at Virginia’s unassembled convention.
Only the “Grow Our Party” Amendment passes – It should be obvious to everyone that keeping SCC at 78 members but adding 7 more members to SCC (1 each to VFRW, YR, CR, and 4 to the newly created Unit Chair group) is nothing more than a power grab since the voting power of each affiliated group would increase from 11% to 18%.
Both Amendments Pass – Playing out this scenario would mean that SCC would be reduced to the 54 members as specified in the SCC Reduction Amendment. The Grow Our Party amendment would require that 10 affiliated members (2 each for VFRW, YR, and CR plus 4 for the Unit chair group) increase the affiliated group voting strength. That would mean that out of the total of 64 members 16 would come from the affiliated groups. A blatant power grab increase from 11% to 25%.
Both Amendments fail – Obviously if both amendments fail nothing happens. Nothing is changed and nothing is improved, the same problems, inherent in an overly large group (I believe “bloated” is a good adjective) are still with us. The systemic problems of a losing RPV will still be prevalent to the detriment of RPV and Virginia.
Reductio ad Absurdum
If adding more representatives to SCC is such a great idea, why wasn’t it done in the past? The Democrats have educated us in the virtues of identity politics. This is easily observed by the various positions in SCC of designated men and women categories; such as the East and/or West man or woman titles. Identity politics is the reason behind the affiliated groups of VFRW, YR’s, and CR’s existence in the first place.
So if we think this “Grow Our Party” amendment to add people is a good idea, why not a VFRM (for Men), ORs (Old Republicans), FRs (Future Republicans of 18 and younger). We can delve into Religious Affiliations, a rich area that needs more representation on SCC, especially those fringe beliefs such as Wiccans and Agnostics. After all, we are growing the party, the more we add to SCC the merrier. LGBTQ is another rich area for additions, especially if we include the 50 some odd gender identifiers. Gee this is fun and no doubt by growing SCC the Republicans will undoubtedly gain back all of their lost elected offices, nothing can stop us.
Also, ethnic and cultural segments are yet another fertile field for identity politics (we could even include cultural appropriators such as those that eat Indian food but are not Indian, Mexican food, but not Mexican, WOW! what an opportunity). I know, let’s cut through all of this thought of reducing the size of SCC and just include everyone that votes Republican or has a related Republican thought can now be added as an SCC member. We can even become more inclusive by bringing Democrats into SCC, no wait, we already do that by having open primaries.
The question becomes, where does it stop? We have a representative form of governance, not a democracy. State Central Committee members are elected to represent every one’s interest to the Party. A prime example is all Unit Chairs are automatically included as members of each District Committee. A separate Unit Chair affiliated group is unneeded since they have direct access to the four SCC members on each District Committee. Adding more people just increases the number of interactions exponentially making communication and progress even more difficult.
The Republican Change Committee was very careful to not only keep the Affiliated Groups in SCC but wanted to ensure that their voting strength was maintained. For that, several members of those group’s leadership have vilified members of RCC, when all we were doing was highlighting a known compelling issue that the bloated SCC needs to address.
The false narrative of “Grow Our Party” is that they will add more voters to our party by adding more people to SCC. Whereas, the proposed SCC Reduction Amendment of the Republican Change Committee (RCC) somehow reduces the Republican Party electorate statewide by shrinking the State Central Committee (SCC) to a more responsive and effective size.
“Grow Our Party”‘s deception is to assert that adding seats to our State Central Committee, which is already weak, inefficient, and disconnected from the local level grassroots, somehow translates into a larger RPV. What they also don’t tell you is that they and the other SCC-appointed voting members include campaign consultants, campaign managers, campaign field directors, selected staff members of elected GOP public officials, and even printers who see the RPV as a profit center, not a political party.
Our continued losing under this system is why those unaccountable to congressional district voters must be removed – or else no real change will occur. The proposed amendment by “Grow The Party” is just another attempt to keep grassroots activists out while expanding the control of the professional political class who have taken the RPV to the edge of the abyss. Don’t let them push us over it.
As identified in my previous Bull Elephant article, RPV has many systemic problems. (If you missed it go here to read it.) Everyone should be concerned with the unwieldy size of SCC and the supermajority requirement of 75% to effect Party Plan changes. If RPV cannot take this first step, nothing will change except the future of the Republican Party in Virginia, and not for the better.
I find it interesting that the only solutions I have heard lately to the myriad of problems confronting RPV are that we need to reach out to immigrants, independent, and suburban voters, as-well-as, improve our messaging. That is all well and good, although those types of activities are not measurable and next to impossible to know if success has been achieved.
The ONLY amendment that will reduce the size of the unelected political class, return control of the RPV to the grassroots, and NOT reduce the current voting strength of the (3) affiliated groups is the Amendment of Article III by “The Republican Change Committee”.
Vote YES to the Article III Amendment to shrink the bloated bureaucracy on August 15.