Potential “Censure Resolution” will Define Texas’ GOP
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas — Historically, state political conventions come and go with little consequence — other than a few embarrassing headlines about poorly written Platform Planks. But as the Texas Republican Convention meets later this week in San Antonio, there will be more than just a few significant items on deck — one of which, ironically, is sure to be loved by Texas Democrats, the Rule 44 “Censure Resolution”.
This year’s Texas GOP Convention, to be sure, has the potential to dramatically alter how the state’s dominant political party views itself, how it officially treats existing office holders, and how it deals with Republican candidates in the future.
The Chairman’s Race
Being Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT) is probably the one of toughest volunteer positions anyone could ask for. The party chairman must raise about $150,000 per month just to keep up with expenses, must find donors to fund a State Convention, as well as finance the party’s massive Get Out The Vote effort — all while balancing the desires of the grassroots, party officers, donors and elected officials.
And it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the state party has a statutory obligation to run a fair and honest primary election while electing delegates to the National Republican Convention.
- James Dickey is the current Chairman, having been elected by the State Republican Executive Committee (SREC) to fill the vacancy of former Chairman Tom Mechler who left for family reasons mid-term.
- Cindy Crocker Ashe, a businesswoman and President of a Republican Women’s Club in North Texas, is challenging Dickey for the chairmanship.
For Dickey, the balancing act of being party chair has been made easier this year as he surrounded himself with people who, critics say, often don’t care what the individual candidates or elected officials think. Their allegiance should be, almost without question, to the Party’s “Platform”.
Candidates and Elected Officials who view “The Platform” as an iron-clad litmus test for membership, rather than a guiding document, get their support, which comes in various and oftentimes substantial forms. Those who stray from “The Platform” to represent the needs or wants of the constituents being represented in their district — as recently happened with the censure of former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus — aren’t welcome.
- Asche has publicly stated the most important job of the party is to elect Republicans.
- Dickey has stated the most important job is to enforce “The Platform.”
Adopting a Platform
- The first 10 Planks are statements of broad principles: the inalienable right of all people to defend themselves & their property, as well as statements supporting the Pro-Life, Pro-Gun, Pro-Family and Anti-taxes issues, and more.
- The remaining 250 Planks are more specific, falling under the themes of the previous 10.
Some members of this year’s Platform Committee want to make the document more concise, including only general statements that define what it means to be a Republican, as opposed to the current laundry list of growing and narrowly focused special interst grievances.
But what’s more likely to happen, with Chairman Dickey’s help since he had a hand in appointing the committee, is that the platform will grow to call for the repeal, or passage of, laws that are most important to the self- described Pro-Life Libertarians.
The under-lying theme to make the platform longer, and more detailed, indicates an effort to make it easier for the party to be able to “Censure” elected officials for having violated the party’s Platform. (See below).
Adopting Party “Rules”
A Party’s “Rules” are the directives that govern the state party and its convention processes. And, there may be a push to strengthen “The Censure Resolution”, otherwise known as Rule 44.
Currently, this process begins with a local Republican Party’s Executive Committee citing “3 Platform Violations” made by a sitting elected official, which then requires a 2/3rds vote to officially “censure” the accused elected official.
Some members of the Texas Republican Party’s Rules Committee — again partly appointed by Chairman Dickey — are moving to make the Rule 44 “Censure” easier to invoke, with even harsher penalties.
If ratified by either 2/3rds of the State Republican Executive Committee, or by a majority of the State Convention, the state party will no longer be required to remain neutral in the censured elected official’s primary election, and will be required to withhold party resources from that candidate during the fall General Election against the Democratic Party’s candidate.
Yes… the Republican Party would withhold support from a Republican candidate over a Democrat Party candidate in the 2018 General Election.
Democrats, ironically, are sure to love the Republican’s nonsensical “Censure” process, which Republican critics attribute to a recent influx of Libertarian influences on the party’s processes.
If passed, Republicans will be left in a position where damaging in-fighting leads to significantly fewer resources put into candidates’ backing, and its GOTV Get Out the Vote effort, making it easier for Democrats to pick off vulnerable Republicans in the General Election.
Defining the Future of the Texas GOP
When the convention concludes Saturday, Texas Republicans will know whether the party’s faithful actually appreciate the string of “The Most Conservative Legislative Sessions Ever” — as Governor Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (and many others,) noted at the conclusion of the 2017 Legislative Session — or whether the recent “platform as litmus test for membership” and “censure” crowd will be moving President Donald Trump’s growing Republican Party into the future.
Source: Texas Politics