The Republican Party – Grass Roots vs Establishment? It’s more complicated than that.
Crossposted on Republican Michigander. This applies mostly to Michigan, but could apply to your state as well.
You don’t have to look far to know that there’s a rift in the Republican Party right now. A lot, although not all, of the grass roots do not like Mitt Romney. A lot, although not all, of the establishment in the party support Romney. There’s still hard feelings, and if SCOTUS and Eric Holder weren’t going to be big issues, I’d be voting Libertarian for President this year. I’ll probably hold my nose and take one for the team, but I’m going to be concentrating my actual campaign efforts on downticket and non partisan races this year. Our Senate nominee, 8th District stuff, judges, and county.
With the Romney campaign and their allies on Fox News getting their way, a lot of people are railing against “the establishment.” There’s actually multiple establishments. I’ll admit that I sometimes use the term the establishment, but there is always one thing we need to keep in mind when it comes to actual GOP establishments. If there is a bad GOP establishment, in most cases who is to blame? Republican VOTERS. The establishment is there because voters allow it to be there. Most GOP establishment with the exception of caucus is either directly or indirectly elected.
There’s nothing we can do about the decisions made by caucus except to give our reps an earful. Caucus is NRSC, NRCC, and their state equivalents. The only thing we can do there is not donate. I’ve long said that NRSC especially shouldn’t receive a dime, especially after the same clowns who run it were reappointed. I generally limit my donations to individual candidates or to accounts which I have control or at least veto power either officially, or unofficially.
Anyone who is complaining about the establishment needs to step up to the plate or they need to shut up. Marco Rubio said it best in 2010 when the establishment pushed RINO Charlie Crist. “If you are unhappy with the Republican establishment, then let’s get a new establishment.” Some think because the Tea Party was a big deal in 2010 that they automatically get what they want. It doesn’t work that way. The Republican Party has a 160 year history. 3 years is a footnote in that history. 2 years is one election cycle. I’ve seen a lot of leaders come and go, and I’ve been involved in party politics as long as I’ve been a republican. 11 years active. State Party has had five chairs in that short amount of time. Livingston County GOP has had six chairs in that time. 8th District has had at least four that I know of.
This is how things work.
May – Filing deadline. Precinct Delegate candidates file to run for their position.
August – Primary elections. Precinct Delegate candidates run in the primary election. They are often, but not always unopposed.
What do precinct delegates do? A lot of people will say different things about a precinct delegate’s responsibilities, but in reality there are two jobs for precinct delegates.
1. Pick the delegates to state conventions at your county conventions.
2. After November, select your county executive committee, which picks its officers.
That’s it. There’s a lot of other things precinct delegates SHOULD be doing, but those are the main responsibilities.
Different things happen at different state conventions. The next one elects RNC Committeeman/Committewoman (full convention) for and delegates (by district) for the National Convention that formally nominates Romney. I was not a Romney supporter in the primary, and he won the 8th district, so there’s no chance I’d win even if I was running for that.
A future convention after August and before November nominates candidates for Supreme Court and the university trustees.
After the November election, we have county conventions for party leadership, as then a state convention for state party and district leadership.
The bottom is that here in Michigan, if we like, or dislike (or in some cases both) what state party, district party, or county party is doing, something can be done about it. If you don’t like what I’m doing on 8th district and you’re a district resident, you can and try and toss me off the committee. If you like what I’m doing, you can keep me on there. I’m biased, but I’m supporting incumbents for the 8th District if they choose to run again. I think we’ve come a long ways from what we started before the current leadership. We still have a ways to go to get to my standards, but it’s moving in the right direction.
It takes organization, campaign ability, patience, and effort to get positions on committees and to do a good job on those committees. Those that don’t have that and like to just sit around and bitch shouldn’t be in charge or on committees anyway.
Folks that I support for delegates or committee positions are those who do the work, first and foremost. I don’t vote based on your consultant ties, or even your presidential decision. While ideology is an issue to some degree, competence is a bigger one with me. Those who show up at meetings and more importantly do things are those who get my support. I actively vote against Johnny come lately types who because they have a title of some sort, think we should bow down to them because they think they are important.
The bottom line though is that most of the “establishment” is picked, indirectly, by Michigan Republican Primary voters. If you want to make changes to the party, it starts in May with filings, and August with elections. It’s put up or shut up time for critics.