On March 20, 2010 the Brazos County Republican Party had its county convention. The two main goals of this convention are to develop a platform to send to the Republican Party of Texas and to nominate delegates and alternate delegates to represent the county at the State Convention. The general mood of the convention was good. The hostility that many felt in 2008 had dissipated, as had the number of people in attendance. The convention was as quick as it could be and orderly.
My first concern was the attendance. All the county and SD conventions were held on the same day, so I will assume this was dictated at the state level. Perhaps, the state should realize that Spring Break occurs in March. Of course, there are still plenty in state and county leadership that are scared to death of those young people (ie anyone under 40). I hope that the choice of a Spring Break weekend was not an intentional ploy to exclude young people. If it was, it backfired. Yes, college students travel on Spring Break. So do parents and grandparents. Attendance was pitiful in our county. Spring Break certainly contributed to the low turnout. What I wonder is where are all these people who claim to be the grassroots? They get offended when they are called Astroturf, but they don’t bother to show up for the grassroots process of developing the platform for the Republican Party of Texas. The convention process isn’t entertaining or glamorous, but it is a necessary evil. Even if you’re against the two-party system, we still have it. If we ever do move out of the two-party system, it won’t be anytime soon. Those who are working within the party system best put some effort into fixing the system. It will never be perfect, but it could be better. To all these people complaining about Obama, the Democrats, or even the Republican Party: Show up or Shut up.
The resolutions that formed our county platform were very good for the most part. The Resolutions Committee seemed open to adding resolutions at the convention as well as making corrections. Many of our resolutions aimed at steering the Party back to its true conservative roots. The truth is the Republican Party was far more libertarian than it is today. The sad thing is that most Republicans today think libertarian means liberal. They don’t understand that libertarians simply want the government out of their lives, something most Republicans long for. As author and blogger Jason Mattera said in his speech to the CPAC convention, “Hey jackass, get your government off my freedom!” That sentiment is held by both Libertarians and Republicans. Many of our resolutions sought to remove the government from our daily lives, and I applaud that. The main complaint was that the precinct resolutions were not carefully read. The Committee steered the resolutions in the direction of their choosing instead of forming the platform based solely on the resolutions from the Precinct Conventions. I was not on the Resolutions Committee, so I cannot confirm this claim. If you don’t like the way the resolutions were selected or the resulting platform, now is the time to ask to be on the Resolutions Committee in 2012.
The Nominations Committee was the worst creature by far. The tradition of giving candidates, elected officials, and judges delegate spots as an honor defeats the purpose of the grassroots process. They already make decisions in their elected positions. Why let them co-opt the grassroots process as well? Many of our top delegates and alternates did not bother to show up to their Precinct Conventions or the County Convention. They will likely not attend the State Convention either. The convention process should be reserved for the grassroots to make their voices heard. Hardworking grassroots activists were pushed out due to these honorary positions. Brazos County has less of a voice in the RPT now because these “honored” people will likely not show up. If a candidate or elected official participates in the process and works hard for the Party, then give him the slot. But if they only show up when it’s time to campaign, they do not deserve the honor of being a delegate or alternate. The same goes for their spouses. A percentage of slots should be reserved for those new to the Party. There will always be people joining in who are eager to get to work. We need to plug them in immediately. Don’t tell them to go to luncheons and work their way up. If they’re ready to work now, put them to work. We need the energy, and we need the workers! The application process to be a delegate to the State Convention needs to change as well. Many people never received an application, and most received their applications after the slate of delegates and alternates were chosen. This lack of organization contributes to the belief that our Party is just another Good Ol’ Boy network. Nothing will change until the existing Party dies out (which will happen sooner than later considering how few young people are allowed to participate). Candidates should encourage their campaign teams to participate in their Precinct Conventions and hold election watch parties after the Conventions. Poll workers should be assigned to their own Precincts if possible, to allow their participation in the Precinct Conventions. Our Precinct Convention did not begin until all the poll workers were finished. Efforts must be made to allow these faithful volunteers to have a voice in the grassroots process. If we truly want change in our Party and our nation, we must work diligently to ensure maximum participation.