With the California Republican Party’s 2019 organizing convention and election of a new Chairwoman in the rear-view mirror, much has been written regarding the potential impact on the direction of the party’s flagging influence.
There’s no doubt that newly-elected CA GOP Chairwoman Jessica Patterson deserves the congratulations of all California Republicans in the wake of a well-fought campaign – especially in light of the tasks that lay ahead of her in the coming election cycles.
Prior to voting for new party officers, delegates were asked to approve “reports” of two convention committees rich with irony.
Contained in the Resolutions Committee report was Resolution #5, which was passed by an overwhelming voice vote. The measure was submitted by a delegate from Santa Clara County and states in part, “…the California Republican Party calls on the Legislature to repeal AB 1921, or in the alternative, place a measure on the 2020 ballot that gives the voters the option to repeal AB 1921.” (Emphasis added.)
AB 1921, the bill signed into law in 2016 by Governor Brown, allows the practice of “Ballot Harvesting” which is the process of political operatives collecting unlimited numbers of absentee ballots for delivery to elections officials. You’ve likely heard about the process after the 2018 elections, as it was credited for the loss of multiple Republican congressional seats across California.
The absolute absurdity came next when delegates were asked to consider approval of the Rules Committee report.
National Committeewoman of the Republican National Committee for California, Harmeet Dhillon offered a party bylaw amendment intended to limit the use of a “proxy” for voting (at a convention) to only once during a delegate’s two-year term and limited a delegate or associate delegate from holding more than one proxy. She said that if you want to be a party delegate you need to show up and vote.
Dhillon’s proposal, intended to restrict “Proxy Harvesting” exercises by party operatives proposal was voted down by delegates… including proxy holders.
A party that feigns outrage over a process while condoning it in its own operations is nothing short of contemptible. Additionally, adopting marketing tactics of your opponent doesn’t make you more desirable, but could result in continued shrinkage and decline of the Republican Party in California.
The convention moved to electing its next chair and in the wake of the first vote by delegates, Ms. Patterson won the position outright. Her acceptance speech, as well as remarks made to the media by her faithful were clearly intended to portray hope to supporters and gain the confidence of her opponents. What many could be left with however is an even greater feeling of uncertainty or even abandonment.
Chairwoman Patterson said “Let’s serve notice to the Democrats in California that we are back, and we are ready to deliver on the Republican comeback.” I’ve always believed that my party is based on principles, ideals, and fundamental values. As my grandfather used to say, “Looks can change, but the soul is constant.”
It’s noteworthy that campaigns of the three candidates for the position of Chair were reflective of the “division” often cited by moderate pundits within the party nationally, as well as state level. Two candidates were identified as conservatives, Trump Supporters, or Anti-Establishment, while the third focused her efforts on promoting messages of inclusiveness and rebuilding the CRP.
The media has focused on ancillary characteristics of the new chairwoman: female, millennial, Latina, and presumed conservative. However, the process of the new chairwoman’s election, and the somewhat troubling nature of a couple statements she made in the wake of her election, are worth noting.
In an interview with a Mother Jones reporter following the vote, one delegate is reported to have stated, “We’ve been a party that’s essentially got a face that is primarily white and male and old… It’s time we turn the party over to another generation and to some folks that look more like the rest of California.”
Here again, it’s difficult to reconcile the perspective that the fortunes of the California Republican Party will be improved by adopting the practices Republicans claim to renounce in Democrats… identity politics.
Within the same Mother Jones article, the reporter referenced comments made to him by the ill-fated former Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes. According to the reporter, Mr. Mayes told him that there were three Assembly Republican legislators prepared to follow quisling Brian Maienschein’s example and defect to the Democrat Party if Travis Allen had won the vote for chair of the CRP.
Changing the “look” of California Republican Party members won’t solve the problems of Mr. Mayes’s three fellow legislators, since they are reportedly willing to betray their hometown voters and he should name them. They’ve apparently lied to voters in their districts or are so facile as to be unworthy of the offices they hold.