Tonight’s PWCRC meeting included a plenty of calls for Republican unity in order to help our candidates win in November, and those calls make a lot of sense. The purpose of the committee is to get Republicans elected, and unity is an important part of accomplishing that goal. With a fractured party, this goal is a lot harder to accomplish, and good candidates to some degree risk suffering some negative impacts if the support structure behind them isn’t effective.
This Thursday the 11th District committee will meet, although Tom Kopko, in his role as the sole member of the 51st District Committee is being as exhaustive as possible in considering the Julie Lucas appeal, and hasn’t rendered a decision on the appeal at this point. I would expect that their agenda will include some discussion on this topic, although I’m not sure whether they will have the authority to take any action while the appeal is still mired at the legislative district level. I hope that their discussions will focus around restoring some degree of confidence in the convention process and addressing the problems observed in this and other recent conventions. In order to achieve unity, it will be critical to restore some degree of confidence in the candidate selection process. Without that, regardless of who the nominee for the 51st District will eventually be, that unity will be difficult if not impossible to earn.
Unity is an earned commodity, after all. It requires that we have confidence that the process is fair and equitable, and our commitment to the process is what builds confidence and earns unity. Until we adequately address the issues that threaten this unity, unless we actually earn unity, calls to be unified aren’t likely to be very effective. Show activists that their contributions will be thwarted by an unfair process, and they’re more likely to walk away than join hands with those they may feel are responsible and work to serve their interests. Earning unity by letting dissenters bleed away, instead of demonstrating that unity is deserved, just isn’t productive in the long term either, although it can appear to provide a relatively quick but costly resolution.
The hardest test of leadership is dealing with issues such as these. These issues are not to be swept under the rug amidst calls for unity, but addressed head-on so that confidence, trust, and unity can be earned. Until that happens, and perhaps it will as the folks involved are hardly stupid and frequently remind us that they are motivated by larger goals, calls like this are more annoying than worthy of serious consideration.
Some of the things I am hoping will result from the 11th District and RPV are more clear and defined procedures to be used for conventions. By defining the process in greater detail and ensuring that that process is auditable, we can restore confidence in the legitimacy of future candidates. I also hope that a thorough investigation of what happened at the 51st District Convention will help to establish where weaknesses are and provide a solid basis for establishing these more thorough and improved process definitions. Lastly, although there is no perfect choice to be made in the appeals process, an honest and thorough description of what happened and a commitment to learn from it will help others to accept whatever decision is rendered and allow some of us to accept that while mistakes were made, we’re moving forward in a responsible manner. We can’t resolve everyone’s concerns here, but we may have an opportunity to resolve those for many.
Unity cannot be achieved without fairness, and to the extent we can establish that in the aftermath of this convention, we have the opportunity to earn unity, rather than just explain how important it is and beg for it. I hope the leadership of the PWCRC uses this opportunity well.
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