There is a concept in parliamentary procedure called quorum. Quorum designates a fractional part of the body that is required at a minimum to be functional in order to do business. Imagine tripling the universe of people required to make quorum to start a meeting. This is part of what Steve Frank is proposing.
It feels really good to make every Central Committee Member an automatic delegate, right? It is a way to dilute the influence of those party bosses over the party, right? Let’s unpack this idea…
Steve Frank, 71 has been involved in the operations of the California Republican Party since 1960. You would think a man with this kind of experience and heritage within the GOP would understand the consequences of poorly thought out rules changes.
Problem #1: All of us remember when Luis Buhler ran a statewide effort (funded by Charles T Munger Jr.) – spending an estimated $2.2 Million trying to pick the membership of EVERY Central Committee in California. Dozens of Central Committees became overrun with Political Consultants and Legislative Staff as a result. Should another group of people or a different rich dude attempt this in 2020, with Steve Frank’s By-Law Amendment in place this would literally leave the composition of the State GOP at the mercy of whomever had a ton of money to campaign with.
Since grassroots activists rarely have a ton of money, most were hunted down in 2016 and many long-time party stalwarts were run off of their local party committees. (More on this in a future post)
Problem #2: The CAGOP’s By Laws are clear – it takes 50%+1 of the delegates / proxies in order to achieve quorum at a convention. That number is usually about 500 in order to do business. Imagine tripling that number?
If the Convention fails to make quorum, then the Executive Committee takes care of the business – meaning 100 members of a small, exclusive club are empowered to control everything.
Problem #3 – did you know that the LAGOP has something like 150 members at any given time? (In theory, they could have 161 elected members + 21 nominees in the Assembly Districts for a total of 182)
Most counties are elected by supervisor district and have 21 members. This means that the LAGOP would engulf 9 counties in influence!)
San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange and San Diego all have somewhere between 50 and 80 members each.
It gets better – the Sacramento GOP with 2 times the number of Republicans that the Placer GOP has, has 32 elected slots on its’ Roster. The Placer GOP went to 7 per district 10 years ago and thus, has 35 Elected Members. Under Steve Frank’s rule, a county with 95,000 Registered Republicans would have more representation than a county with 200,000 registered Republicans!!!
We need more than solutions borne out of campaign posturing.
Problem #4: If we were to abolish proxies and combine that with tripling the number of delegates in a slipshod manner, there would be a number of unintended consequences. The immediate consequence would be to create imbalances in representation due to variances in composition of county committees, empowering small sub-committees of people within the CAGOP to make major decisions and logistical nightmares.
I am actually quite disappointed that Steve Frank, with all of his experience did not think this through. This feel good idea would be a disaster and either he is not aware of the issues his proposal would create, or he is and is using it as a feel-good campaign prop. In either event, he is disqualifying himself from serious consideration with his own verbose plans and emails that fail scrutiny when tested against reality.
To be continued…
P.S. Please note that I am in favor of abolishing Proxy Voting altogether, and will accept reducing proxies per delegate to 1 as a good first step. Secondly, I support opening up more opportunities to become CAGOP delegates, but that will be a discussion for a different time.