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So, tell me again, why I am a Republican? 

So, tell me again, why I am a Republican? 

March 9, 2021
by Joe Maynard
Annotated 8/20/2023 

Originally published 03/09/21
I was just reminded at our recent district meeting that in today’s Republican Party, there is certainly a divide which I would describe as the “Party Republicans” and the “Platform Republicans.”  There is no doubt that the hard work of so many Republican party members over decades has been successful.   Just look at our numbers.  Many of these founding members have wisdom and experience that must be embraced and continually harvested through their leadership for our future success.  But many would also agree that there seems to have been a continuation of the mission “to build the numbers” but a loss of the reasons behind it—”to conserve individual freedom.” 

If many of those building the party have forgotten this, the overwhelming number of members have not. The current disconnect between most of the current leadership and the majority in the party is apparent to all. The perceptions are very different, however. Our current leadership is made up of those veterans who have grown the party numbers but have failed to dominate the political product in this state.  Not to say that our leaders have not earned their current positions by the fact that they built what we now have, but rather that they may have lost perspective as to why we exist in the first place.  This is not dissimilar to a person who starts a company but may not be the best at running the ongoing business as it grows.  

Most of our party members are in a position to observe the product of this party as disconnected from its principles.  What I mean by product are the results in legislative and executive actions.  That is the reason we elect Republicans.  We want them to implement legal policies consistent with our principles.  When the people we all work so hard to put in positions of authority continually do not seem to get the result we desire, we must question why we, ourselves, continue doing the same things.  It seems that the party has the principles, the power, and the majorities needed to implement platform-based principles, but not the will.  We continue to promote more, more, more recruits to fulfill the promise of more freedom, less government, and sound moral principle but continually deliver mostly the opposite while trying to explain why we cannot overcome those that oppose it.  Let me tell you, that gets old, fast. 

If it is more important to sustain a party than to implement its stated mission, we are fooling ourselves to believe it is sustainable in the present form.  How many more do we need to add to our current super majority in Arkansas to get results that will continue to energize the voters on our side?  How much more failure will we continue to endure before we lose the numbers gained over decades by those committed few who worked to get us to this point?  Don’t kid ourselves.  The “Reagan Rule” of agreeing with each other 80% of the time applies only to a point.  Like with religion, the 80% rule is totally delegitimized when the 20% are the big-ticket items that matter most to our principles.  And of course, it seems the 80% rule is ignored when the 20% elite want something different than the 80% base Platform Republicans.  Often at that point, those working hard to elect Republicans are then demonized, ostracized, undermined, and opposed by the party elites. 

So, in Arkansas, we have supermajorities and for the most part, they have delivered or perpetuated higher taxes, less freedom, and more government than when we started, regardless of what the leadership claims.  In this current 93rd Arkansas General Session, we have numerous bills (such as reforming special elections, defunding the 1619 Project in public schools, and defunding our AEDC office in communist China), where we are unable to get those bills passed the 85% Republican majority committees.  Until that is explained satisfactorily to the majority in the party, there will continue to be a divide.  

There is much talk about “taking over”, “leaving the party”, or “starting another party.”  These moves would all make it infinitely more difficult to accomplish any of the shared values we talk so much about.  As for myself, I will continue to learn and attempt to refocus the Republican party on the original mission, the platform, and results. 



****8/20/2023 Update
With the recent 94th General assembly closed; it seems we have made some potentially significant advances in the party mission. LEARNS and Special election reform being significant long-awaited issues to address. Overall, it seems with new and improved governorship, the legislature is producing some much-needed results albeit led almost exclusively by the executive branch.  

The recently ended State Committee Meeting showed an increased participation by the Platform segment of the party but not as much as needed for any meaningful impact. We failed to implement change, or should I say adherence to the principles, to align the policy promoted to the principles advertised. Although it seems like DeJa’Vu, there is clearly more enthusiasm to return power to the legislature and to the people now. There is more work to be done at county committees and more participants are needed to accomplish the platform implementation at the legislative levels.  

Two things we must be mindful of. First is to keep moving forward with the platform movement (without “watering it down” or adding more “weasel words”) and not adding to an obvious division in a “divisive” way. The committee has spoken, and we must all honor the result and move forward. How we move forward should be in such a way that we can all get behind what we agree with and work to improve the membership with those who agree with our principles and urgency. We should act in a way that we would have others act if the outcome had been what some of us may have desired but did not happen. 

The observation that the executive injects leverage into the party makeup, leadership and priorities is obvious. Many might consider this wrong or unwarranted interference. Does the legislature bend the knee to the executive too much or too often? Maybe so, but that is something that we might all celebrate if the result was what we felt was in the best interest of our objectives. The solutions available are all steeped in hard work and more like-minded committees at all levels in the state.  

Let’s get to work, get together, support the current team and elect more like-minded committees, legislators, and leaders of our party! 


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