It seems like it took forever, but the acrimonious 2016 Primary season is finally over. We have our nominees now, and it's time to unite behind them. Not all are perfect, but on balance they are better than the alternatives.
2016 is a challenging election cycle with the two probable nominees for President - Trump and Clinton - possessing historically high negatives, which probably means by extension one of the most negative campaigns in modern history. Negative campaigns tend to reduce turnout, which makes this election especially challenging for our county-wide ticket.
The Harris County Republican Party,
Its Challenges and Opportunities For The Future
Now that the battle for HCRP Chair has concluded, it's time to focus on the challenges and opportunities ahead.
In Harris County, we face enormous challenges - including a party divided following the battle for the Chairmanship that included attacks by the moderate wing against leading social conservative individuals, organizations and publications in which their integrity was questioned. Then there is the issue of finances; the county party has enjoyed successful fundraising but questionable spending habits jeopardize the party's financial health and effectiveness. Finally, the party's own credibility is at stake in light of a propensity for only telling half the facts when addressing concerns about the party, its true status, and the changing demographics in Harris County, and the very disturbing new Kinder Survey finding that Harris County adults identify 53% Democrat to 30% Republican!
But the future does not have to be bleak; despite the challenges, there are opportunities for success and positives on which we can build, including the fact that Republicans control most county-wide offices. So what do we need to do to inspire future success?
- Reunite the party and invite social conservative leaders to the table who have been targets of the current HCRP leadership's sniping, including the current Chairman who had the opportunity to be classy in victory, but instead chose to be petty on Election Night.
- Take a look at every major activity of the party to determine the effectiveness of each to elect candidates or helping to grow the party, and to determine whether it's the best bang for the buck. The HCRP could be well-served to implement a version of zero based budgeting that conservatives often advocate for government.
- Take advantage of the anti-HERO minority coalition members by a vigorous campaign to sell them that the GOP is the pro-family party of opportunity. Bring into the party leadership some of the key players from the Hispanic and Afro-American communities who were with us in opposing HERO.
- Understand that the next generation of Republicans has different wants and needs in order to get them involved in politics. There is a group of young professionals who were in leadership from our area in the various presidential campaigns who we need involved in the future of the party, and we need programs and events that these new leaders would want to be involved.
- A vigorous communication effort to all targeted communities essential to the future of a new GOP.
In essence, what is needed, like so many decades-old organizations, is a reboot to make our party and its strategies relevant to the 21st Century.
By seeking to be a true leader, Harris County Chair Simpson can demonstrate that the job is not held by him to keep non-allied conservatives out of the party, but to bring everyone into the tent to work together on a shared common-sense, conservative vision for the future. He is not off to a good start with his post-victory statement by name calling conservatives who didn't support him. At some point, hopefully soon, he will learn this is not about him. The party is much bigger than personalities.
Divided, we will be the victims of future demographic trends and face the very real possibility of the Democrats waking up from their slumber and relegating us to long-term minority status for our party.
The National Men In Women's Bathrooms Battle, What To Do?
What started in Houston is now nationwide with the illegal guidance "order" by the Obama administration in essence ordering to let boys who "claim" to be girls use girls' bathrooms!
Conservatives are fighting back - here are some of their ideas:
- Denounce Obama's illegal order;
- Stand with schools and families that are resisting the order;
- Hold public hearings forcing administration and school officials to explain this policy in Austin and D.C.;
- Draft legislation clarifying that neither Washington bureaucrats nor Texas school bureaucrats have any authority to dictate local bathroom policies; and
- Encourage federal and state representatives to vote on this legislation stopping this illegal power grab so that the American people know where their representatives stand.
For those in the GOP leadership, speaking out now is a good idea, especially given the anti-HERO outreach opportunities with pro-family voters who traditionally have not supported Republicans.
TCR on the Air
Red, White & Blue featuring TCR Editor Gary Polland and liberal commentator David Jones on Fridays at 7:30 pm on PBS Houston Channel 8, replaying Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on Channel 8, Mondays at 11:30 pm on Channel 8.2 and on the web at www.houstonpublicmedia.org.
About Your Editor
Special guest Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner in the HOT SEAT!
Gary Polland is a long-time conservative and Republican spokesman, fund-raiser, and leader who completed three terms as the Harris County Republican Chairman. During his three terms, Gary was described as the most successful county Chairman in America by Human Events - The National Conservative Weekly. He is in his sixteenth year of editing a newsletter dealing with key conservative and Republican issues. The last fourteen years he has edited Texas Conservative Review. As a public service for the last 13 years, Gary has published election guides for the GOP primary, general elections and city elections, all with the purpose of assisting conservative candidates. Gary is also in his 14th year of co-hosting Red, White and Blue on PBS Houston, longest running political talk show in Texas history. Gary is a practicing attorney and strategic consultant. He can be reached at (713) 621-6335.