AUSTIN, Texas–Following the contentious debates at the Texas State Republican Convention earlier this month over the content of the official Republican Party of Texas Platform, key leaders in the state’s Young Republican and College Republican organizations have spent the past couple of weeks discussing their frustration with the platform and ideas for how it should be improved.
The revised platform led to a flurry of media reports highlighting controversial elements of some of this year’s changes (see prior Breitbart Texas reports here, here, and here). Today, the Texas Young Republican Federation and Texas Federation of College Republicans issued a joint statement regarding the platform, provided exclusively to Breitbart Texas:
As auxiliaries of the Republican Party of Texas, the Texas Young Republican Federation and the Texas Federation of College Republicans are proud advocates of family values, limited government, individual freedom, and personal responsibility. While the 2014 Republican Party of Texas Platform has many strengths, we feel that some of the planks could be improved.
As young Republicans, we are not just the future of the party; we are the present. We encourage our members to play a more active role in all aspects of party politics, including the convention process so that our views can be more fully represented.
We remain steadfast and unwavering in our support of the core principles of the Republican Party and are fully committed to electing all members of our Republican ticket this fall.
Breitbart Texas previously reported interviews with current and past Young Republican leaders who were unhappy with the platform, and wished to replace it with a simpler platform focused on a core statement of principles, rather than the thirty pages and over 250 individual items listed in the current version. With today’s official statement, the TYRF and TFCR organizations confirmed their commitment to the state party, and hope that they would be able to positively influence the platform process leading up to the 2016 state party convention.
Leaders of the two organizations have told Breitbart Texas that they do not feel that the current Texas GOP platform truly represents the beliefs of the majority of the party members, citing the length, complexity, and restricted debate process as some of the reasons for the problems with the platform.
Nearly three hundred new planks were proposed, but a small group of delegates burned through the majority of the time, arguing over a single digit list of issues, repeating previously asked questions, and failing to follow required procedures. The other delegates soon become frustrated, and voted to end the debate early, even though only a few amendments had been heard, and dozens of Republican elected officials and delegates had been waiting in line for hours for their turn to speak. The final platform was voted on and approved with many of the changes getting not even a minute of debate time.
“We have a responsibility as delegates to carefully consider every plank before voting it into the final platform,” said TYRF President Richard Morgan. “We know there are some who will try to use any plank in the platform against us, and it is our responsibility, not theirs, to ensure that we avoid giving our opponents any unnecessary ammunition. At a certain point, we need to recognize that if we do not have time to adequately debate all 296 proposed planks and 200 proposed amendments, then perhaps it is time for a shorter platform.”
TFCR Vice Chair Kari Lane thought a simpler platform would make it easier to be a “big tent” party. “The platform should be a mechanism that welcomes everyone into the party,” said Lane. “We feel that many people at the convention could not make their voices heard. We want to keep with the big tent mentality. We encourage active party participation and will continue to push it even stronger.”
Similarly, TYRF Policy Director Brian Bodine was frustrated to see a few issues championed by a small minority of delegates overshadowing the core fundamental philosophies of the party. “[These issues] do not paint the narrative of Republicans in Texas,” said Bodine. “Independent voters ought to recognize that and look closely at the critical issues that impact them the most. Winning elections requires coalition-building, and [we are] ultimately united on the principles and objectives of limited government, personal accountability, constitutional governance, maximizing personal liberty, and maintaining superior military forces.”
Morgan expressed similar thoughts, stating, “With 6,000 delegates and alternates from a wide variety of backgrounds, we will never agree on every single issue. Rather than letting a handful of differences divide us, we should celebrate that our core principles attract such a diverse coalition of Republicans and focus on the values that unite us.”
Sarah Rumpf is a political and communications consultant living in Austin. You can follow her on Twitter at @rumpfshaker.