RNC

College Republicans plan to spend $2 million on outreach at universities, but that’s not enough to win over the youth vote

college students

Liberty-minded activists have been saying for what seems forever that the GOP needs to pay attention to winning the youth vote, or die. The fact that the party establishment has been essentially ignoring this voting bloc has been a source of consternation for pundits and political strategists alike. Now, it seems that this message is finally getting through, but it still isn’t being addressed anywhere near as well as it could be yet.

The College Republican National Committee is tossing some money — $2 million to be exact — at building a campus-based program to court young voters. It’s a nice gesture, but honestly isn’t much more than that. As of 2011, there were 2,870 four-year colleges in the U.S. — the schools that it is safe to assume that the GOP will focus on in this endeavor.

While it’s not realistic to think that they will attempt to launch some sort of outreach program on each and every one of those campuses right away, the honest truth is that if they are taking this seriously, the long-term plan needs to include them. So, that means that officially, the Republicans are prepared to commit approximately $700 per campus for this initiative.

Yes, there are nebulous promises of more money down the road, but we’ve seen this in other outreach programs before. The only concrete numbers available indicate that this is probably going to be a limited experiment by the party, or that this is lip service to grassroots organizers that have been calling for this sort of investment for years.

How establishment Republicans are doubling down on stupidity — they want Eric Cantor to lead RNC

Eric Cantor

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Eric Cantor has been defeated in the primaries by a “Tea Party” candidate. While everyone goes through mental gymnastics to figure out exactly why that happened, one thing should definitely be understood - Cantor’s constituents no longer want him to represent them.

That is an important point that is being lost, particularly by Michael Steele. He floated the idea that Cantor might make a good RNC Chair.

Someone needs a reality check, if they think that an incumbent that has just lost a primary is a good candidate to lead an entire political party.

It’s true that alternative media people have been saying that establishment Republicans are tone deaf to the desires of the rank and file voters in the party. Until now, it’s just been a lot of commentaries, that haven’t been backed by anything really measurable.

We finally have something to show that the establishment is not really representing the voters anymore. If Cantor ends up as the RNC chair, rank and file voters need to seriously consider whether or not they want to remain in the party. Talk about a third party gaining relevancy in the U.S. will have meaning if the RNC continues to try to make itself irrelevant.

Why Republicans should follow Rand Paul’s lead

The Republican Party seems poised for a successful mid-term election. There has even been talk of a building “Republican wave,” should voter dissatisfaction intensify and solidify, though its far too early to say for sure what will happen.

But if a “Republican wave” does indeed happen this fall and the party takes control of the Senate, a goal that has proved to be out of reach in the past two cycles, GOP leaders and talking heads should be cautious in overstating what it means.

Yes, President Barack Obama is plagued by low approval ratings and rejection of Obamacare, his signature domestic achievement. Voters aren’t too thrilled about the state of the economy or his handling of foreign policy.

But Republicans must realize that electoral success this doesn’t mean that voters have embraced the party, as polls almost universally show. In a two-party system at a time of malaise, the party not in control is the beneficiary of voter anger. This was true in 2006 when Democrats won control of Congress. It was true in 2010 when Republicans gained 63 seats on their way to winning the House of Representatives.

There is no denying that the Republican Party has a very real messaging problem, and party leaders realize it. That’s why the Republican National Committee released a report, The Growth and Opportunity Project, to try to figure out what went wrong in the 2012 election as well as try to find solutions to expand its reach.

Though that “autopsy,” so to speak, raised some excellent points, it alienated many of the grassroots activists that compromise part of the Republican base.

The New Republican Party: Libertarian Fusionism in Virginia

The rise of the so-called “liberty movement,” which sprang out of the early days of Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, and of the tea party movement, which was a reaction to the one-party Democrat rule in Washington after the 2008 elections (with Obama’s victory being the likely spark) has forced the Republican Party to wrestle with warring factions in an attempt to establish a winning coalition.

Those in the media love to paint the GOP’s internal struggle as evidence of a party in the throes of extinction; as a party out-of-touch with mainstream America. But I think the “growing pains” the GOP are experiencing could potentially strengthen the Republican Party.

I am of the opinion that we have two political parties in our first-past-the-post electoral system. Few candidates have won major office in recent history under the banner of any party other than the Republican or Democrat parties. There are exceptions, but they’re rare, and those candidates usually win because of their personality, rather than a set of ideals on which a party platform could be constructed. Think Maine’s Angus King or Connecticut’s Joe Lieberman.

It is with that understanding that many within the “liberty movement” in Virginia have begun working within the Republican Party to move it in a more (small-L) libertarian direction. Our reasoning is that political parties do not hold a certain philosophy; they are vessels through which their members advance a set of ideas and beliefs. As the GOP looks for a path forward, it should look to the way the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) has embraced liberty activists.

The GOP’s Worst Enemy

Reince Priebus

After RNC Chairman Reince Priebus unveiled the Republican Party’s Growth and Opportunity Project last month, conservatives were hopeful this marked a fundamental change in the direction of the party. The 100-page document’s emphasis on engaging the grassroots and broadening party appeal seemed to indicate GOP leaders were looking to make amends with their base. Less than a month later however, the RNC renounced these claims and once again revealed the greatest hindrance to the GOP’s success: the party itself.

Many Republicans were aghast to witness the blatant political theater that took place last year during the Republican National Convention. Not only were controversial rules changes ushered in by Romney supporters and the establishment but video was released shortly thereafter revealing that the votes were rigged.

As an attempt to quell the growing animosity among grassroots conservatives, the RNC launched the Growth and Opportunity Project and offered to further discuss the rules changes at the RNC’s Spring Meeting.

Initially, it was believed the RNC was sincere in their efforts to overturn the recent powergrabs that rendered delegates nothing more than pawns being used in a chess match that had long been decided without them. As FreedomWorks New Media Director Kristina Ribali noted however, this was hardly the case:

Grassroots Activists Turned Away at the RNC

Grassroots activists walk to the RNC

Just days after the Republican National Committee (RNC) rejected most proposed rules changes that would undo the power grab from last year’s convention, a number of grassroots activists stopped by to express their disappointment with party leaders and let them know that they would not give up the fight.

Shortly after 10am, around 50 activists (pictured above) showed up at RNC headquarters in Washington, DC to present a representative from the party with a open letter to Chairman Reince Priebus that hit at the heart of grassroots’ frustration with the party.

“As grassroots fiscally conservative activists from states across the country, we are stopping by the RNC Headquarters in Washington today to express our disappointment in the Party’s continuing marginalization of the individuals who are driving the only credible ground game to combat the progressive liberal political machine,” read the activist-signed letter to Priebus. “After reading the 100-page Growth and Opportunity Project, we had a glimmer of hope that the Republican Party was going to make a sincere effort to make the Party process more bottom-up and transparent in structure.”

“The opportunity to repeal the ‘Tampa Power Grab’ last week was your first big shot at beginning to mend the relationship between the Party and the principled, small-government grassroots activists that you’ve disenfranchised,” the letter continued. “And you blew it.”

RNC Rules Fight is a Defining Moment for the GOP

Republican Party

This week, the Republican National Committee (RNC) will hold its spring meeting in Los Angeles in what could be a defining moment for the party. Many committee members are looking to overturn rules that were adopted at last year’s Republican National Convention which disenfranchised many grassroots delegates.

Back in August, Dean Clancy of FreedomWorks explained the rule changes at length, noting the profound affect they have on the process by “shift[ing] power from the state parties and the grassroots to the RNC and the GOP presidential nominee.”

There were two specific changes — Rule 12 and Rule 16 — pushed by Ben Ginsberg at the behest of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

Rule 12 allowed the RNC to change its rules at any time or any place in between party conventions. Clancy called this move “unprecedented,” and explained that the change gives the RNC the ability to completely ignore the convention on a whim, if it so chooses.

Rule 16 is also problematic because it targets delegates who vote their conscience in convention. For example, if somone ran as a delegate and pledged to vote for Mitt Romney, but then finds out something unsavory about him and they switched to another candidate; they would have been stripped of their delegate status.

While there may be states that require delegates to vote a certain way, they’re typically not bound to a particular presidential candidate. This rule change was clearly aimed at Ron Paul supporters and conservative activists skeptical of Romney’s record — forcing them to choose party over principle — and it help gives GOP insiders more leverage at picking the nominee.

A few more thoughts on the Reince Priebus and GOP Liberty situation

Yesterday, United Liberty Editor Jason Pye did a write-up on Reince Priebus and his recent attempts to reach out to the Ron Paul Republicans/Liberty wing of the GOP. This action has naturally been met with much skepticism from the Freedom forces of the GOP. As a member of that group, I just wanted to expound on a few things:

First off, with all due respect, for those thinking that Priebus did this solely because he was concerned about keeping his position, that just isn’t the case. No one, and I really mean no one (including potential challenger Mark Willis), had any real hope that Priebus would be unseated. Of the 168 members of the RNC, there might have been upwards of two dozen or so that could be counted on to vote against Priebus. However, Mark Willis, the Liberty GOPer from Maine, wasn’t able to get the majority vote of the 3 different state RNC memberships to even be placed on the ballot.

Secondly, Priebus has been reaching out to the Ron Paul/Liberty people before, during, and after this most recent RNC meeting. The writing is on the wall - the Liberty forces have the momentum. And even though they’ve been the ones most involved in the degradation of the GOP for the last decade, the establishment GOP is now exhibiting what might be the strongest and most intense of human instincts - self-preservation.  It’s also just common sense, as evidenced by this recent quote from long-serving, social conservative RNC Iowa Committeeman, Steve Scheffler:

“If you don’t start including new people, you’re going to die on the vine…the old guard needs to be inclusive.”

“A Revolution to Overthrow Capitalism”

OWS goons

A few weeks ago we brought you a video from an Occupy meeting where the stated goal was to overthrow capitalism. A few commenters took issue with this, claiming it was an isolated statement and that Occupy is a loose-knit group.

I had the opportunity to be with the Occupy protesters at the RNC and the DNC over the past few weeks and I can assuredly tell you that it is not an isolated statement.  True, there are many groups represented at the demonstrations, and maybe not all of them will outright say that they want to overthrow capitalism. But when you promote a socialist economy, by definition you are advocating the overthrow of capitalism.

I covered the “March on the RNC” in Tampa and was able to have a conversation with a socialist marcher about the economy:

A few of his comments deserve special attention.

“We need to tax the wealthiest people in the country, who aren’t paying their fair share - it’s not shared sacrifice for them.”

This is a common refrain among not only the Occupy movement but among liberals in general.  Consider that the top 20 percent of earners - going way beyond the famed 1 percent - makes a little more than half the money yet pays two-thirds of the federal taxes.  And once you hit $200,000 in adjusted gross income, your tax rate nearly doubles - going from an average of 11.9 percent to 19.6 percent.

Thoughts on the Republican National Convention

RNC

Last week, I went to Tampa for the Republican National Convention in Tampa. This was sort of an odd experience for me, being a libertarian and all. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. I’ve been to conventions and conferences before. The oddest experience was BlogCon in Denver last November, when the local Occupiers showed up to protest us. But the RNC was a much, much larger scale event.

Tropical Storm Isaac: While I understand why Republicans saw fit to scale back events for Monday, the storm really didn’t do much to the Tampa area. It rained some, but it wasn’t near what everyone was expecting. Truth is Republicans could have gotten away with more than gaveling the convention to order. By the time the storm actually hit, everyone was more concerned with what could happen to New Orleans and the rest of Gulf Coast than Tampa.

Grassroots v. the Establishment: Over at FreedomWorks, Dean Clancy has put together a great synopsis of the fight over the new rules implemented, which won’t start until the 2016 process. We went over some of this earlier last week, but at this point many grassroots activists are disenfranchised. Many Ron Paul supporters who attended the RNC as delegates may now be looking for an alternative come November because of the rules changes.

Rule 12 would allow the Republican National Committee to change the rules if 3/4 approve. As Clancy explains, “The new Rule 16 requires that a delegate who attempts to violate his binding pledge to a candidate under state law or state party rules shall be deemed to have resigned and the Secretary of the Convention must record the improper vote as it should have been cast based on state law or party rule.”


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