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California Republican Renaissance: Let’s Face the Facts

I’m an analyst.  I look at numbers, statistics and trends in markets and model probabilities and outcomes.  They key to being an effective analyst is to maintain an unbiased perspective.  If an analyst has a preferred outcome he will soon start interpreting the data to meet that bias.

As a member of the California Republican Party, I’m interested in an outcome that is effective for the party and the people of California.  The only way to arrive at a path to that outcome is through a ruthlessly unbiased examination of the situation at hand.  I believe the first order of business for the CRP after this convention should be to study the facts and develop an understanding of its situation where that is lacking.  This report is a first step in that direction.

The most commonly referenced data set in this context is the percentage of statewide voter registration.  Here’s our current situation pictured as a pie chart:

ca voter reg pie 2

California Republicans are grappling to understand how statewide GOP voter registration has slipped under 30% as Democrats secured a super majority in the state legislature and imposed a defacto one party electoral system via Prop 14.  All of this has occurred as the Democrats have presided over an easily demonstrable failure of epic proportions.

Democrats have failed business:

Economists usually see business start-ups as the most important long-term source of job growth, and California has long had a reputation for nurturing new companies. Indeed, from 1992 to 2000, California added 777,000 more jobs from start-ups than it lost to closures. But this dynamism vanished in the 2000s. Between 2000 and 2008, California lost 262,000 more jobs from closures than it gained from start-ups.

Between 2000 and 2008, some 80,000 more jobs left California for other states than came here from other states. The leading destination of the job migration was Texas, with Oregon and North Carolina running second and third. California managed to add jobs only through the expansion of existing businesses, and even that was at a considerably lower rate than a decade earlier.

Another dark sign has been that economic growth in California’s major cities stalled after 2000. Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area had been the engines of California’s economic growth for at least a century. But between 2000 and 2008, California’s two big metropolitan areas produced fewer than 70,000 new jobs — a nearly 95% drop from the 1990s and a mere 6% of job creation in the state. This was a collapse of historic proportions.  California: Toxic for Business

Democrats have failed the economy:

ca manuf vs us ca vs us

Democrats have failed the people:

ca income vs us

I’m not going to consider Arnold Schwarzenegger’s governorship as an interlude of Republican governance.  He governed like a Democrat with a Democrat legislature.

California Republicans must ask:  How is it possible for our competition to utterly fail in every measurable performance benchmark yet at the same time completely dominate us politically?  Rationally, this makes no sense.

During the post 2012 election period, many Golden State Republicans blamed the people.  The thesis that the majority are now takers rather than producers–and that therefore they will vote to take from the producers until there is nothing left– has been put forward.  But I have decided to not go down that road.  I decided to look at the facts and see where they lead.  And this report will show you that the facts indicate that California Republicans have no one and nothing to blame but themselves and their state and national leadership.

MESSAGING OR MECHANICS?

As we prepare to meet at the California Republican Party spring convention in Sacramento, there are essentially two views of the political landscape facing the CRP.

The first, widely promulgated in powerpoint presentations, blog entries, YouTube videos and media interviews by the established party leadership, is often referred to as the “San Diego Model”.  This model focuses on functional mechanics: organizational structure, fundraising, voter registration and “Get Out The Vote” (GOTV).  In the San Diego Model, political messaging is strictly the responsibility of candidates.  The party focuses on turning out Republicans at the polls and the candidate focuses on winning over No Party Preference and edge Democrats.

The second point of view is perhaps best described as the “Messaging and Marketing” model.  This model accepts that mechanics are crucial and that currently there are severe deficiencies in that regard that need to be addressed.  However, where this view differs is that it does not attribute the primary cause of the CRP’s decline to mechanics, but rather to politics.  In this view, the “Messaging and Marketing” of the party is ineffective at connecting the real world lives of voters to our party’s core principles, resulting in a declining voter registration share and the inability to turn out Republicans and swing NPP voters at the polls.  Most advocates of this perspective would favor a re-examination of what the party is communicating to the public and how it is communicating it while becoming more consistent in its application of the core principles of limited government, fiscal soundness, personal responsibility, rule of law, free markets and entrepreneurship.

From 2002-2007, the chief advocate of the San Diego Model, Ron Nehring, was the San Diego County Republican Party Chair.  During this time, the county party executed an impressive plan of organizational improvements.  By all accounts the mechanics of the party were successfully overhauled.  Clearly any county committee could gain much by studying the work of the San Diego party during this time period.  But the question at hand is not whether it is desirable or necessary to be operating at maximum organizational efficiency and effectiveness.  No one would question that.  The question at hand is whether doing so solved the county party’s political problems of declining voter registration share and diminishing returns at the polls.  So let’s look at the facts.

If deficiencies in organizational mechanics were the root cause of the CRP’s problems then a concerted effort to fix those issues should result in measurable improvements in performance outcomes over time.   There should be measurable and observable improvements in voter registration trends and electoral results.

With regards to voter registration, there has been an uninterrupted decline in the GOP percentage share since 1990.

SD voter reg

In spite of substantially improved voter registration efforts by our friends in the San Diego party, Democrats are now, for the first time ever, a majority of registrants.  In this traditionally Republican stronghold, Republican Party registrations are now a mere 3% above the No Party Preference + Other category.

If GOTV mechanics were the primary issue facing the party, we should be able to measure improvements in electoral results once those problems have been addressed.  The following charts track electoral results from 1990-2012 for all races (other than county and municipal elections which are listed in electoral results as non-partisan).  The red line represents the percentage of Republican candidates who were the top vote getters in any given year.  The blue line represents GOP candidates elected from San Diego as a percentage of the total possible seats available.

SD GOP Electoral Results2

As we can see clearly, GOP candidates tended to be top vote getters and more than 50% of GOP candidates tended to win their races for office until about 2002.  After 2002, when the “San Diego Model” was being implemented, results took a significant turn for the worse.

In the next chart, the blue line represents the average percentage of the vote received Republican candidates in San Diego county in a given year:

AVG GOP % SD

GOP candidates in tended to poll on average over 50% of the vote until 2002 when results plunged below 50% and have stayed there ever since.  In 2012, the average Republican vote percentage was 46.7%, the percentage of GOP candidates who were the top vote getters on the ballot was just 40% and the percentage of races for elected office resulting in Republican wins was 46.15%.  All of these results were far below the levels generally seen prior to 2002.

The evidence seems to refute the thesis that organizational mechanics is the primary issue facing California Republicans.  In San Diego, tremendous improvements were made to the mechanics of the county party and yet still Republicans were not able to stave off the trend towards increasingly negative results.  Keep in mind that as a county where Republicans have been historically strong the underpinnings for a turnaround in San Diego should be considerably deeper than in other counties, such as Los Angeles for example.

This is not a reflection on the excellent job that San Diego Republicans did organizing their party.  Rather, it is a clear indication that much larger forces are at work that are not accounted for by issues of organizational capacity.  While it’s clear that effective and efficient organizational mechanics is critical to electoral success, it is also clear that the primary problem facing California Republicans lies elsewhere.

VOTER REGISTRATION OR VOTER BEHAVIOR?

It’s important to note that California has not seen a Republican majority in voter registrations since 1932!  And in the post World War II era, Democrats have always had a big edge in statewide voter registrations.  This hasn’t prevented the Republican party from being competitive, however.  GOP candidates for governor, for example, have frequently dominated at the polls by drawing in large numbers of independents and crossover Democrats.

Here’s a chart of California Republican registration percentage going back to 1968, the first year of the Reagan governorship:

ca gop voter reg %

Republican registrations peaked at about 40% as Reagan was elected to his first term and declined during his governorship, even though he was rather popular.  Still, he was re-elected by a wide margin as he was politically successful at inspiring Democrats and Independents to join him.  During the Reagan presidency, GOP registrations recovered nicely, peaking in 1990.  Reagan was politically adept at fostering a large bloc of “Reagan Democrats” who followed his vision of a renewed and revitalized American in the wake of the recessionary Carter years.

While voter registration percentage is an important metric and should not be ignored, historically Republicans have done well in California in spite of an ongoing registration deficit when the party’s political message has been on target with the public.  

The primary issue facing California Republicans is not and never has been one of Republican registrations (though significant improvement in that direction is certainly necessary as part of an overall strategy).

While Republican voters have a high propensity to vote (always a strategic advantage), voter behavior at the polls, not voter registration, determines the outcome of California elections.  There have never been sufficient numbers of Republicans in California to win without swinging large numbers of independents and some Democrats on election day.

Here’s a chart of the average percentage of the vote received by Republican candidates in California for national and statewide races:

Screen Shot 2013-02-28 at 9.06.03 PM

The primary issue facing California Republicans today is:

WHO ARE THE CONTEMPORARY REAGAN DEMOCRATS  AND HOW DO WE EFFECTIVELY MESSAGE TO THEM?

A study of the facts at hand leads the analyst in the direction of this answer:

THE CONTEMPORARY REAGAN DEMOCRATS ARE THE RISING TIDE OF “NO PARTY PREFERENCE” VOTERS.

Voters have been leaving the Republican rolls in droves while Democrat registrations remain steady.  New voters are not registering with either established party.

The following is from the Secretary of State’s latest voter registration report:

Since the last 15-Day Report of Registration in a presidential general election year (October 20, 2008):

  • The total voter registration in the state increased from 17,304,091 to 18,245,970.
  • The percentage of the total number of registered voters compared to the number of people who are eligible to register to vote increased from 74.6% to 76.7%.
  • The percentage of voters who have no party preference increased from 19.9% to 20.9%.
  • The percentage of people registered with a qualified political party decreased from 79.4% to 77.2%.
  • The percentage of voters registered with the Democratic Party decreased from 44.4% to 43.7%.
  • The percentage of voters registered with the Republican Party decreased from 31.4% to 29.4%

Clearly, the rising tide of NPP voters is the most outstanding trend in California politics today.

Our party does not understand why NPP is the fastest growing segment of the electorate, it does not know who they are and it does not know how to message to them.  Our top priority is to study the NPP segment, learn all that we can about it and then message and market to it.

While it will be necessary to register some part of the NPP segment as Republicans, the primary task at hand is to make our core Republican principles relevant to them through effective messaging, marketing and branding coupled with the development of Republican policies, legislation and initiatives that speak to and engage the NPP voter.  Absent this, other efforts are certainly akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Analyst Carson Bruno has arrived at similar conclusions through his own statistical analysis of the California electoral landscape.  I’d recommend spending some time with his work (see the bibliography below) on The Pragmatic Conservative Blog.  Here are some excerpts:

…the Republican’s problem isn’t necessarily turnout, but rather it doesn’t have the raw numbers to compete in new areas. The party is being marginalized into a small number of staunchly Republican districts with no hope of competing elsewhere…As such, this circumstance further proves that Republicans need to focus on its message, regaining the trust of voters, and building a diverse and respected bench.  Doing so will help to increase its numbers allowing it to compete in more places than just a handful of districts.  If not, it runs the risk of being further marginalized into fewer and fewer areas.

…Instead of proposing vague policy platforms, laying out the broad differences between the conservative and liberal ideologies, and criticizing Democrats’ actions, the Republican Party must visibly and predominately focus on proposing conservative alternatives to Sacramento’s Democratic agenda, thereby signifying that the California Republican Party presents a viable substitute, not just a roadblock. People want to follow and believe in an optimistic agenda.

…Currently just 57% of likely Republican voters say they have a strong affiliation with the party.  If a voter is not connected with the party, they do not tell their friends about the Republican Party, they do not volunteer to help get Republican candidates elected, and they do not go to the polls (or postmark their mail ballot). Messaging and communication needs to be active, but not overbearing, and should focus on the issues that voters really care about—their jobs, their children’s education, and an optimistic future. A clear message of prosperity highlighting a return to the “golden days” will go a long way, as seen in national politics today…the message must appeal to the Americanrooted characteristics of entrepreneurship, selfpreservation, responsibility, and success.

…Whether justified, the California Republican Party has received a bad reputation, which is one of the reasons voters increasingly prefer to register as an Independent instead as a Republican. Messaging and communication is important to make sure that the party broadens its support. The message must be inclusive seeking to engage new voters…

While I might have a vigorous discussion on some of the specifics of Mr. Bruno’s comments, he clearly shows that a balanced analysis of the available data leads to the conclusion that message is the primary problem facing the CRP, not mechanics.

Organizational mechanics is a delivery system in much the same way that a gun is a delivery system for a bullet.  If you field a well organized, well trained, disciplined army armed with the latest rifles yet provide no bullets or duds or dummies, that army will not have a fighting chance.  In the context of a political army, the message is the ammunition fired by the mechanism of the rifle by the troops.  All of these components are necessary to victory, but without the bullets, it’s hopeless to fight on.

RECOMMENDATIONS

In my opinion the CRP needs to commission a thorough research study on the No Party Preference Voter segment as soon as possible.  It should not be conservative about spending money on this, either.  Some components of a plan to tackle this would be:

  • commission a full marketing research report
  • deploy AD Committees to speak with and survey NPP voters
  • host local Town Hall Meetings targeted at NPP voters
  • review and collate the experience of GOP candidates with NPP voters
  • robo dialing to NPP voters

As a result of this process, we would then need to formulate messaging, marketing, branding, policies, legislation and initiatives that effectively bring our Republican principles to these voters.

I would also urge CRP delegates to vote for a candidate for CRP Chair who gets all of the above:  David Miller.

For more stimulating, thought provoking and out of the box thinking, attend this upcoming event on Sunday morning:  “A Conversation on the Future of the California Republican Party“.

And when all is said and done, let’s get behind our new CRP board and make the best of it.

Comments and questions are welcome!

Here’s a similar piece of analysis I put together for the Republican Party of Los Angeles County (RPLAC):

Republican Renaissance: Analysis of Defeat, Plan for the Future

 

Sources and further reading:

California Election Spread Analysis – Bottom Line: Republican Seats are More Competitive

The Not-So-Grand Circumstances Of California’s Grand Old Party

The Revitalization of the California Republican Party

California Congressional and Assembly Voter Registration and 2012 Turnout Analysis

The End Of The Karl Rove Death Grip Signals A Reagan Renaissance

San Diego: a model for the future Republican Party?

Remaking the Republican Party

California Legislature Partisan Composition

California Voter Registration Statistics

California Statewide Election Results

HISTORICAL VOTER REGISTRATION AND PARTICIPATION IN STATEWIDE GENERAL ELECTIONS 1910-2012

San Diego County Registrar of Voters

California’s Political Geography

Carl DeMaio: Building ‘new’ Republican Party in California

THE UNTOLD STORY: YEARS OF CHALLENGING, UNGLAMOROUS WORK LED TO BIG REPUBLICAN ELECTION NIGHT IN SAN DIEGO ON JUNE 5

Jim Brulte’s Three Objectives as California Republican Party Chairman: Start a Party Fundraising Program, Encourage Local Grassroots Activism, Recruit Candidates Who Reflect the People of California

Proposed Changes for the California Republican Party in 2013-2014: A Compilation of Advice from Party Leaders

Statewide “Republican Renaissance Seen if San Diego GOP Is Used as Model

A Proposed Strategic Plan for the California Republican Party in 2013-2014

California’s Republicans Fading into irrelevance

 

ABOUT STEVEN VINCENT

Steven Vincent is a member of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County Central Committee in Assembly District 46 and is the Chair of his Congressional District Committee and the Resolutions Committee.  He is a self-employed Technical Market Analyst with his own thriving web site, BullBear Trading (www.TheBullBear.com). Soon he will be launching a new business, Zergonomics, which will be producing and distributing the world’s first integrated zero gravity computer workstation.  He is also well known as a yoga teacher in the San Fernando Valley.

In December of 2007 Steven launched the first round of Tea Parties and then in 2008 went on to found the national movement to audit the Federal Reserve Bank and repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 known as “End the Fed”.  He also led the Great American Walk for Freedom which visited 21 towns across Wisconsin and Minnesota holding Town Hall Meetings on the Constitution and distributing 10,000 copies of America’s founding documents en route to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. He is a former Secretary of the local chapter of Republican Liberty Caucus and a current active RLC member.

Republican Renaissance: Analysis of Defeat, Plan for the Future

cropped-american_flag_header1

In the wake of the losses suffered in the 2012 general election, Republicans are reassessing every facet of the party’s position in American politics. Here in Los Angeles, the local party saw its share of voter registration fall sharply between February 2011 and the most recent October 22nd statistical report from the Secretary of State.

Los Angeles County Voter Registration Statistics, 1999-2012, S0urce: CA Secretary of State

Date Unreg. Dem. Rep. DTS/NPP AIP Green Libertarian Other
Feb-99 27.17% 54.07% 28.69% 12.63% 1.67% 0.40% 0.47% 2.07%
Feb-00 28.87% 53.10% 28.12% 13.80% 1.76% 0.55% 0.50% 2.19%
Oct-00 24.07% 53.20% 27.79% 14.20% 1.76% 0.59% 0.51% 1.95%
1-Feb 23.20% 53.16% 27.67% 14.38% 1.76% 0.61% 0.51% 1.91%
1-Oct 24.99% 52.93% 27.55% 14.63% 1.77% 0.64% 0.52% 1.98%
2-Feb 26.01% 52.72% 27.42% 14.83% 1.78% 0.65% 0.53% 2.09%
2-Sep 28.35% 52.38% 27.68% 15.03% 1.72% 0.67% 0.52% 2.00%
3-Feb 29.71% 52.11% 27.66% 15.30% 1.69% 0.69% 0.51% 2.04%
3-Aug 29.62% 51.75% 27.51% 15.77% 1.70% 0.72% 0.51% 2.03%
4-Feb 34.56% 51.05% 27.80% 16.48% 1.64% 0.74% 0.50% 1.80%
4-Oct 29.67% 50.75% 26.97% 17.77% 1.69% 0.70% 0.48% 1.64%
5-Feb 28.75% 50.71% 26.74% 18.08% 1.71% 0.69% 0.47% 1.61%
5-Oct 32.78% 50.41% 27.01% 18.33% 1.65% 0.66% 0.47% 1.47%
6-May 32.54% 50.27% 26.66% 18.82% 1.67% 0.66% 0.47% 1.46%
6-Oct 31.43% 49.74% 27.02% 19.04% 1.66% 0.65% 0.47% 1.42%
7-Feb 31.02% 49.73% 26.76% 19.29% 1.68% 0.65% 0.47% 1.42%
7-Sep 31.87% 49.75% 26.50% 19.53% 1.71% 0.64% 0.47% 1.40%
8-Jan 30.79% 49.98% 25.96% 19.83% 1.74% 0.63% 0.47% 1.39%
8-May 28.99% 50.96% 25.05% 19.86% 1.78% 0.57% 0.44% 1.34%
8-Oct 25.58% 51.80% 24.06% 19.99% 1.85% 0.52% 0.43% 1.35%
9-Feb 25.04% 51.98% 23.76% 20.06% 1.88% 0.51% 0.43% 1.40%
10-Jan 25.12% 51.97% 23.41% 20.35% 1.94% 0.51% 0.44% 1.39%
10-Oct 23.59% 51.40% 23.58% 20.59% 2.06% 0.52% 0.46% 1.38%
11-Feb 23.20% 51.34% 23.44% 20.74% 2.09% 0.52% 0.47% 1.41%
12-Jan 26.27% 51.01% 22.88% 21.52% 2.16% 0.51% 0.47% 1.46%
12-Oct 20.38% 51.08% 21.79% 18.47% 2.22% 0.50% 0.52% 5.11%

The drop of 1.65% was the largest year-over-year decline for the available data going back to 1999. Here’s a graph of the above data, which gives us a visual picture of trends in LA County voter registration over the last 13 years (click on the chart to see a larger image):

LA VOTER REG LINE CHART

In addition to the consistently falling Republican share (green) the other significant features in this data is the steady rise in Decline to State/No Party Preference (blue) registrations as well as the sharp drop in the percentage of Unregistered voters (yellow). While the percentage of voters who are registering is very high, new voters are accruing to DTS/NPP and not to the major political parties. Democrats have also seen a modest decline in their share of registrants since 1999. This bar chart compares 1999 to the current tallies:

LA Voter Reg 1999-2012 bars

It’s worth noting that other minor political parties have also seen gains in the same period. What conclusions can we draw from this data?

It would seem that there is a clear trend among new voters to either select Decline to State/No Party Preference or a minor party. The major parties have not benefitted from the intense voter registration pushes in the last decade. In particular, the Republican Party has not been selected by new voters. These numbers are a clear notice to the leadership of the Republican Party in Los Angeles that new voters do not consider it to be relevant to their lives and concerns.

Does this mean that there is a problem with the fundamental principles of the Republican Party?  I do not believe that is the case. The party’s foundational principles of limited government, free markets, personal liberty, Constitutional rule of law and sound fiscal and monetary policy are the solid basis for a free, prosperous and happy nation.

The purpose of a political party is to offer the people a vehicle through which their interests are served in government. The Republican Party must ask itself: What are the interests of the people it would like to represent in government? The time has come for a frank reassessment of that basic question. Clearly, our current answers are falling far short of the mark.

Too often I hear fellow Republicans blaming the people by essentially saying that they are too stupid to understand our message, or claiming that the non-producers have become a majority and they are voting to rob from the producers. This sort of talk is alienating, self-destructive and misdirects blame away from where it belongs: the Republican Party, its leadership and its activists. In order to solve a problem, an organization must first acknowledge responsibility for its situation, then delineate the issues at hand and then formulate a plan of action.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

In my opinion we are failing as a party to serve the interests of the people in the following ways:

  1. We Republicans have failed to make our principles relevant to the lives of the electorate. We do not offer a clear, distinct vision of good government that addresses the real concerns of voters. We are long on philosophy, but short on the application of that philosophy to the problem of good government.
  2. We are not in touch with and sufficiently aware of the real world concerns and issues facing the people, and so we are unable to formulate a program and a message which speaks to them in a living way. To be relevant politically, we must be intimate with the hearts and minds of the people.
  3. Absent a program of clear, vibrant and accessible messaging, we have allowed the opposition to brand us as the party of old, rich, white people.
  4. Republicans have had no strategic answer to the successful Democratic strategy of racial, ethnic, class and gender polarization. Rather, we have allowed ourselves to be trapped into playing the polarization game by centering our politics around “us vs. them” social groupings.
  5. We have recently tended to focus on negative messaging. In the recent election, our rhetoric often warned that terrible things will happen if the other guys are elected, rather than presenting a vision of all the good things that will happen if Republicans are elected.
  6. We have a tended in recent years to rely upon social/moral conservatism as a leading edge of our image and messaging. We have been suckered into the Democrat game of competing to use the power of government to legislate morality. The traditional (and I believe correct) Republican view is that the power of the state exists to preserve the rights of all citizens and is not to be used to impose religious or moral belief systems. We need to stand on that core principle and use it against the Democrats.
  7. Our leadership has tended to concede our core principles so that we are more often than not a “lite” version of the big government, market regulating, anti-liberty, anti-rule of law, Keynesian fiscal spending and money printing debt monster that is the Democratic Party.
  8. We Republicans make our presence felt only around election time. We need to be campaigning for our principles through real world initiatives and legislation and community engagement on an ongoing basis.
  9. Our thinking is “trapped inside the box” and we are caught in an echo chamber of entrenched views and limited possibilities.

I’ll revisit this list later in this post and posit some possible actionable strategies that address each of these points.

TRAPPED IN A BOX

trapped_inside_the_box

The existing political paradigm is not working for us. It is an artificial box and we are at least partially complicit in its construction and maintenance. It’s boundaries are composed of an entrenched, accepted description of “Left” and “Right” political views as well as top and bottom panels comprised of socioeconomic political alignments and “forward-backward” concepts of progress.

To the extent that we are comfortable inside this Establishment box, we shouldn’t be. It is clearly not working to our advantage. We need to begin the process of thinking outside established boundaries and then we need to willfully remake the box to our advantage and place our adversaries inside.

In the course of any human endeavor, there is a point at which the established paradigm becomes destabilized and a new reality emerges. This is a natural process, but human intelligence and effort can expedite, mold and develop a paradigm shift. It happens in military and sporting engagements, commercial competition, intellectual theory and in political systems. We should seek to shift and disrupt the existing political paradigm and destabilize existing political alignments and then reforge a new paradigm that favors our goals.

The time is ripe. Millions of people are dissatisfied and the Democrats now have in their hands the very rope with which they can hang themselves. The disaster they are bound to create in the next 2-4 years (and in fact have already created) is a tremendous opportunity for Republicans. But we must first be in a mental position to see the opportunity as it presents itself and be ready with the organization and strategy to seize upon it and execute a winning plan. If we remain trapped in the box, we don’t stand a chance.

Sun Tzu said: “Know the enemy and know yourself…When you are ignorant of the enemy, but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril.”

TURNING THE CORNER

“Thus those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle …. They conquer by strategy.”

“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

If the Republican Party of Los Angeles County were a corporation that had fallen this deeply into a non-competitive market position, the Executive Board would be replaced and there would be a thorough re-assessment of the product line and the marketing strategy. A “turnaround team” would be brought in to think “outside the box” and reinvent the company from the ground up. The new team would consolidate and refresh valuable legacy assets, assess the company’s market position, and strategize to stabilize, relaunch and then expand market share.

In spite of having a superior core product, we have been strategically outmaneuvered by our competition.

In order to begin to rectify this situation, we need to start by asking some basic questions?

–What do we want? (What is lacking?)
–What do we need? (What is required?)
–What are our goals? (What is desired?)
–How do we get what we want, satisfy our needs and attain our goals?

We lack the power to implement our vision of good government. We need position in government to accomplish that. And in my view, our goal is limited, Constitutional government.

How do we get what we want?

–Organization (Structure)
–Planning (Strategy)
–Execution (Tactics)
–Assessment (Evaluation)

We must become highly organized, develop a thorough plan and then execute it. When each OPE cycle is completed, we would assess the results and then feed our evaluation back into the next cycle. This must become the functional template for the new RPLAC Central Committee. If we apply these principles to a strategic vision we can arrest the decay and turn the corner very rapidly.

FIXING IT

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”–famous sales aphorism

But if it’s broke–fix it! And it is quite evidently broken and desperately in need of repair. We can’t sugar coat that fact or pretend that things aren’t really that bad. The survival of the Republican Party–locally, statewide and nationally–is at stake.

We must start by being pragmatic. What will be EFFECTIVE for the Republican Party going forward? It’s not enough to be morally and philosophically correct. We must strategize and take concerted action that yields results.

I propose the following practical solutions and strategies to the issues and problems raised above.

1) STRATEGIC VISION

The new Central Committee and its Executive Board needs to rapidly adopt a Strategic Vision which informs and guides all of its work. That should be drafted and ratified by the Central Committee at the first or second meeting of Q1 2013.

Possible elements of the Strategic Vision include:

    1. Develop messaging which effectively reaches the people with our core principles
    2. Develop policies, legislation and initiatives that apply our principles to the real problems of the County and the State
    3. Create new Republicans from the rising tide of “No Party Preference” voters
    4. Develop effective means of communicating and interacting with the people and the party base
    5. Offer an image to the public and the media that signifies renewal and relevance
    6. Develop and disseminate an effective critical view of the Democratic Party as having failed the interests of the people
    7. Position RPLAC as the voice of the people against a failed, corrupt Establishment behemoth.
    8. Make our presence felt in the public life of the County at meetings, events, discussions, hearings, street fairs, schools and everywhere citizens gather
    9. Release statements and press releases on the issues of the day regularly and hold press conferences with an official spokesperson

2) STRATEGIC PLAN

By the end of Q1 2013 the new RPLAC Central Committee should ratify and adopt a Strategic Plan. This would provide a blueprint for organization and action throughout the term in office. Assembly District Committees and all other Committees of RPLAC would take responsibility for executing the plan and would act in concert with the goals of the plan.

Some possible elements of the Strategic Plan include:

  1. ORGANIZATIONALLY FUNCTIONAL.  All organs of RPLAC to be fully operational and functional, including Executive Board, Executive Committee, District Committees and working Committees
  2. APPOINTMENT OF AN OFFICIAL SPOKESPERSON.  This officer would hold regular press conferences to release resolutions and statements from RPLAC concerning the issues of the day.
  3. TOWN HALL MEETINGS.  Each AD committee would be responsible for inviting the community to public meetings. The first round of meetings would be “Speak Outs” which would serve as an opportunity for us to learn about the mind of the public. Later meetings could include discussions on particular topics and guest speakers. Precinct walking, voter registration and building our contact list would be other functions of AD Town Hall Meetings.
  4. LOCAL BALLOT INITIATIVES.  We can write and sponsor County initiatives. Ballot initiatives are a good strategy for generating public interest and contact, developing a list, and promoting a political viewpoint. EXAMPLE: A proposition to prohibit the assessment of parking meter fines after 6 PM and on Sundays in a commercial zone. The city is taxing local businesses by shifting the burden of providing parking from the city to businesses through excessive enforcement, damaging commerce by the same and hurting working people by taxing and fining them for parking during peak after work shopping hours.
  5. DRAFT LEGISLATION.  We should actively draft legislation and resolutions and have them submited to City Council, the CA State Legislature and Congress by fellow Republicans legislators.
  6. SOCIAL MEDIA.  Develop and implement a state of the art, stylish social media platform and strategy.
  7. VIRAL VIDEO. Record and edit informative, interesting and fun web videos that educate while entertaining on a regular basis.
  8. MICRO FUNDRAISING.  While big money donors are always great, we also need to cultivate a mass base of ongoing small denomination donations. 5000 Republicans donating $5.00 every month is $25,000.
  9. STUDY “THE ART OF WAR”.   Each District Committee should be responsible for studying Sun Tzu’s masterwork on tactics and strategy which is taught at every military academy and business school.
  10. CANDIDATE DEVELOPMENT.  Regular programming to develop and cultivate candidates for office.

There’s much more that could be added with regards to strategic vision and planning, but I think the above contains some key elements of a forward looking, revitalized Republican Party in Los Angeles County. I believe that rather than forecasting the demise of the party, if we can reorient our vision and break out of the proverbial box, we can instead look forward to winning over the DTS/NPP block, siphoning off voters from the minor parties and eventually see mass defection from the Democratic Party.

I think we would do well to elect someone like our current RPLAC Assistant Treasurer, Arturo Alas, as Chair of RPLAC or else as official Spokesperson. He is a young, energetic, well spoken, bilingual Hispanic man with a likable personality and an entrepreneurial background. I think he would present a positive, exciting image of the party to the people and the media.

I have been told by many that I should run for one of the Executive Board offices. If you like what I have written here and think that it is on point, please let me know. If I get enough encouragement I might like to run for Secretary of RPLAC. You can leave a comment here or email me at StevenVincentLA@me.com.


ABOUT STEVEN VINCENT

Steven is a member elect of the Republican Party of Los Angeles County Central Committee in Assembly District 46. He is well known as a yoga teacher in the San Fernando Valley. He is a self-employed Technical Market Analyst with his own thriving web site, BullBear Trading (www.TheBullBear.com). Soon he will be launching a new business, Zergonomics, which will be producing and distributing the world’s first integrated zero gravity computer workstation.

In December of 2007 Steven launched the first round of Tea Parties and then in 2008 went on to found the national movement to audit the Federal Reserve Bank and repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 known as “End the Fed”. He also led the Great American Walk for Freedom which visited 21 towns across Wisconsin and Minnesota holding Town Hall Meetings on the Constitution and distributing 10,000 copies of America’s founding documents en route to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. He is a former Secretary of the local chapter of Republican Liberty Caucus and a current active RLC member.
Statue_of_Liberty_-_header

CALIFORNIA LIBERTY REPUBLICANS SUPPORT MITT ROMNEY

*****PRESS RELEASE*****
 
November 1, 2012
 
CALIFORNIA LIBERTY REPUBLICANS SUPPORT MITT ROMNEY
 
A prominent group of California “Liberty Republicans” has issued a statement supporting Mitt Romney for President of the United States.
 
The group represents a significant body of the support in California for Texas Congressman Ron Paul’s campaigns for the Presidency in 2008 and 2012.  Most are also members or former or current officers in the Republican Liberty Caucus and Campaign for Liberty, organizations which seeks to restore the Republican Party to its foundational principles of limited government, personal liberty, sound fiscal and monetary policy, Constitutional rule of law and a sensible, non-interventionist foreign policy.  Many are also former or current Republican Party officers or central committee members at the county level.  The statement follows:
 

“We, the undersigned individuals, encourage all voters who value Liberty to vote for, donate to and volunteer time in support of Mitt Romney for President.  While Governor Romney’s views diverge from the conservative positions of our preferred candidate, we think it is important for all Republicans to come together at this time.  The party’s candidate represents a distinct alternative to President Obama, who stands in clear opposition to our core beliefs and the basic principles of our Constitutional Republic.”

 
 
NOTE:  Affiliations of the signatories are for IDENTIFICATION PURPOSES ONLY and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of any organization listed.
 
 
Robert W. Vaughn
California Co-Chair, Ron Paul 2012 Campaign
Former Chair, Republican Liberty Caucus of Los Angeles County
Member, Central Committee, Republican Party of Los Angeles County 
 
Allan Bartlett
Central Committee Member, Republican Party of Orange County
Republican Liberty Caucus of Orange County
Named by OC Weekly as “OC Republican of the Year”
 
Rick Williams
2012 Republican Candidate for US Senate
 
Rick Jacobs
2nd Vice Chairman, San Bernardino County Republican Party
 
Sarah Jacobs
1st District Chair, San Bernardino County Republican Party
 
Susan Kennedy
Asst. Secretary, Republican Party of Los Angeles County
Member, Republican Liberty Caucus of Los Angeles County
 
Dan Hughes
Former Republican U.S. Senate Candidate (Tea Party  Endorsed)
California Small Business Owner
 
Connie Ruffley
Member, Central Committee, Republican Party of Los Angeles County
 
Steven Vincent
Los Angeles County Coordinator, Ron Paul 2012 Campaign
Member Elect, Central Committee, Republican Party of Los Angeles County
Former Secretary, Republican Liberty Caucus of Los Angeles County
Founder, End the Fed
 
Chris Kolski
Candidate for California State Assembly (AD 46)
Member, Republican Liberty Caucus
Chair, AD 40 Republican Party Central Committee
 
Frank Alonzo
Candidate for Orange County Water District
Chair, Campaign for Liberty, Orange County
Republican Liberty Caucus of Orange County
 
Kristine Alonzo
Treasurer, California Republican Assembly of Orange County
Former Member, Central Committee, Republican Party of Orange County
 
Pat Dixon
Member, Central Committee, Republican Party of Los Angeles County
 
Steve Redlich
Server Administrator, Republican Liberty Caucus (National)
 
Albert Gersh
Member Elect, Central Committee, Republican Party of Los Angeles County
Member, Republican Liberty Caucus of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles Director, California Youth for Reagan, 1984
 
Eric “Nick” Pierson
Alternate, Central Committee, Republican Party of Los Angeles County
Member, Republican Liberty Caucus of Los Angeles County
 
 
MEDIA CONTACTS:
 
Robert W. Vaughn, 909-263-2470, RobertWVaughn@aol.com
 
Steven Vincent, 323-804-7206, StevenVincentLA@me.com
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