The Republican Party of Texas Convention begins today (at least the real work of the convention as committees start meeting). I wanted to address some discussions on the platform that have been going on.
There is movement to make sure that everyone gets a real say in the platform and I appreciate Tom Mechler and Amy Clark leading on finding a way to handle it. What usually happens is one group gets their major issue in the platform and calls the question which shuts down the rest of the discussion. Many people don’t really care either way and as its the last thing we do they just want to vote for it and go home. This year the goal is to allow everyone to vote on each plank of the platform. I really like this idea.
Personally, I think since this is meant to represent Republicans as a whole then at least 2/3 should be required rather than 50% +1. If 49% of Republicans don’t believe it then it shouldn’t be said this is what Republicans believe. This is especially true when we are talking about Republicans across a state as big as Texas. It would also keep our platform from having drastic changes on issues like immigration.
Along with this conversation is the idea that some, like myself, would love to see a shorter platform. Sadly, what that was taken to mean was we wanted to take out social issues. That isn’t true at all. Many of our planks are in the business section that could be cut down.
Attacks have been leveled that wanting a shorter platform supports people ignoring issues within the platform. This has made what should be a substantive debate an emotional yelling match. The truth is there are pros and cons of a long and short platform and people should consider them rather than reading hyped up articles.
Here are a few pros and cons of each as I see them:
Allows for a full “list of grievances” from sectors of the party.
Allows a large group of people to feel their issue was tackled in the platform.
Shows a long list of possible bills for legislators to consider.
Length can prevent reading and review.
Lack of prioritization of planks.
Legislators can say “Well sure we didn’t do those planks , but we did this one of the 300.”
Can get into the weeds and be more specific than some believe a platform should be.
Shorter Platform (with legislative priorities attached):
Easier to read and review.
Prioritizes legislation the grassroots cares about much like the legislative priorities the Governor and Lt. Governor release.
Holds legislators accountable for not fulling the priorities.
Can be more unifying as it focuses on the principles we agree on and what we want to get done in the next two years.
Limits bills to be picked up by legislators.
Some groups will feel like their issue isn’t covered in the prioritization.
Does not fully list changes the voters want to see.
I’m sure there are many more on each side. As I consider them I decided I prefer the shorter version because I believe their is power and authority in brevity.
You may decide differently, but this isn’t an “us vs them” debate. There are solid hard working Republicans on both sides. Think about the issue without the rhetoric from either side when you consider what you’d rather see.
If you’re going to be attending the convention this week I hope you fight hard for your beliefs and your candidates, but remember that just because someone disagrees they aren’t the enemy and we have a lot of down ballot races across the state to fight to hold on this November.