Editorial: California Republican Party Platform: The Trump/Fiorina/Carson Factor

In a few days the California Republican Party will decide if it stands for conservative principles—or just wants to stand for election. Every four years the Party creates a Platform, to explain to voters and candidates where the Party stands—mostly where the grassroots stand on the issues and policies of the day.

The Party is currently divided between those that believe in values and principles and those that want to moderate our beliefs to reach out to Democrats. Instead we should be educating voters that lower taxes means higher wages, laws are to be enforced and obeyed, that we believe in freedom for workers. Republicans stand for something—that is what the Platform should promote.

Watch the outcome of the process. Will the Platform unite Republicans or it create a months long debate on the role of the California Republican Party, it beliefs and whether conservatives have a place at the table. Nationally we are watching Trump, Carson and Fiorina topping the polls because they believe in something, while their opponents seem mostly to be willing to start at the compromise. At this point the GOP “establishment” is losing the debate, big time. The grassroots want action not words, we want to take on the Democrats, Obama and Brown, not hope for them to make a mistake.

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Editorial: California Republican Party Platform: The Trump/Fiorina/Carson Factor

Editorial by Stephen Frank, California Political News and Views, 9/9/15

The Platform of the California Republican Party (CRP) will be voted on September 18-20, in Anaheim. The CRP will have a choice of three headlines on Monday after the convention.

  1. GOP hosts presidential candidates Walker and Huckabee—base excited
  2. California GOP deeply divided over direction, policy and Platform
  3. California Conservatives Join National Conservatives in anger against “Establishment”—Denounce CRP Platform.

If the California Republican Party Platform stands for Republican principles, expect a unified Party next November. If it decides to reach out to Democrat values and opposition to the Rule of Law, you can see expect lots of conversation about the Platform and not a lot of work for GOP candidates..

While the Platform is largely symbolic, it is symbolic. Does the Republican Party stand for anything but elections? Can the Party be counted on to support limited government, lower taxes and the Rule of Law? Do we support benefits and rewards for those that violate our laws—or do we obey and enforce our laws?

More importantly, those running the politics and the policies of the Party have made it easier for Trump, Fiorina and Carson to gain support. Should the California Republican Party stand by its values and principles, November 2016 will give us the opportunity to win. If we go the “Schwarzegger” route, a lot of time will be wasted trying to bring the grassroots back into action for the GOP in California.

GOP Senator Leader Mitch McConnell has announced he will not even try to defund Planned Parenthood. Then on or about September 17th the Senate will vote on the Iranian Nuclear “deal” (really a treaty). Thanks to McConnell, the Corker-Cardin bill was passed that said the “deal” could be heard ONLY if all the documents were presented, even the side deals.

But, the President has refused to provide the documents and neither Boehner nor McConnell has done anything. In fact, they are going forward with the vote though Obama has violated the law.

These are just some of the frustrations conservative have with the Republican Party, both on politics and policy. This explains a great deal about why Trump, Carson and Fiorina are receiving close to 60% of the vote in the latest polls—while Bush has tanked, along with Huckabee, Perry, Santorum, and most of the rest. Only Rubio and Cruz—both elected by the Tea Party, are still making progress.

In early August the Drafting Committee had numerous versions of Platforms and policy statements. Some could have been written by Democrats, others written by Ted Cruz and some by those that think Schwarzenegger was good for Republicans and we need to “moderate”. At the end of the process a fairly conservative document was approved, based on previous Platforms and updated. Most conservatives seem satisfied with the results. Just prior to the meeting, fifteen GOP County chairs sent a letter approving of the basic Platform.

Now we enter the full Platform Committee meeting. Then a debate and vote on the floor of the Convention on Sunday morning, discussing the Platform as presented by the full Platform Committee.

Conservatives have made it clear—pass the Platform as approved by the Drafting Committee. One CRP Board member has circulated an amendment to change the Immigration section to make it something more like Jerry Brown would approve rather than Tom McClintock. Another circulated language effort was on “religious freedom”  going closer to the values of Gavin Newson than Senator Ted Gaines.

Even though no amendments can be presented, this is a rule made by Chairman Jim Brulte—and it could be waived by a vote of the Platform Committee or the full convention. So, the Platform is still open for those that want to divide the GOP.. The goal of the new Sacramento legislative leadership is to pick up seats in the Assembly and Senate in 2016. This happens if the grassroots in California are united.

As part of the anger in California against the “establishment” is the abuse of the Republican Party by some in Sacramento, apparently in leadership positions. They talked regular Republicans out of running in the special election primary for the 7th Senate District earlier this year. Instead of running a real Republican, they put up Michaela Hertle, who after a few days in the race, and filing had closed, dropped out and then endorsed a Democrat, Steve Glazer. See the whole ugly story here, in the Antioch Herald. http://antiochherald.com/2015/03/p15242/

It is into this background of mistrust, non action, lack of leadership, the Schwarzenegger years, the efforts to destroy the California Republican Party as an activist organization (voter registration, public education, outreach, GOTV), we find the Platform fight.

Which headline should we get on September 21st?

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.