Having served as a CRP officer for six years and a Lincoln Club Chairman for eleven, I’ve got a keen interest in our State, and the state of affairs for the California GOP. I’ve read many of the blog posts and commentaries written over the past few days from candidates for CRP office as well as others. I think most are missing some important points, perhaps important questions.
First of all, the CRP is fortunate to have former legislator Jim Brulte running for the chair position. Jim brings experience, perspective, calm and credibility at a time when the State GOP needs all of those attributes to chart its way forward. He’ll have the credibility to pursue out of the box strategies, and he will have to.
But I am going to ask Mr. Brulte and others to consider some questions before they pour lots of resources into rebuilding, because I really don’t believe we’ve made a thorough enough assessment of the problems we face, and until we understand the problems, solutions without all necessary information are doomed to fail or just become expensive experiments.
I submit that we need to have lots and lots of data about our brand, and need to be open to the idea that it cannot be rescusitated. Is it possible that California voters are simply not persuadable any longer? That any idea no matter now good or relevent is DOA simply because it has an R behind it? We might be in this position. We need to find out. If we are, its pointless to go about traditional rebuilding programs. An extensive survey is needed of a representative cross sampling of voters about how the Republican Party is viewed and why it is viewed the way it is. We have to know.
We have two choices once we understand voter attitudes. We can embark upon a journey to rebuild the GOP brand in the State. Then we need to ask how much that will cost. It might be hundreds of millions of dollars, and I don’t believe that is an exaggeration. If that is the case, we won’t be able to successfully accomplish the strengthening of our brand in the short term. The second choice involves a more difficult set of questions. Do we care what the party id is of a candidate if they will be pro economic growth, stand against excesseive taxation and commit to make California government less intrusive? Should we simply support “decline to state”, “no party preference” or “independent” candidates in swing districts instead of Republicans? You know, we’ve spent over $500 million in this state in the last eight years trying win elections and we have nothing to show for it. Why would donors come back the GOP if we use the same strategy again? We need data, and lots of it, to have any idea what our path should be.
I would say this to conclude. I believe it is more important to save our state and grow our economy than to have a thriving Republican Party. We may be at a point where voters are not persuadable if ideas are tied to the GOP. It may be time to take a look at a different model. In the end, its not about winning for the GOP, its about protecting California from the inanities of leftist political policy, and we’re not even in the conversation about that right now.
Some food for thought as the State Convention approaches….