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The Liberty Blog

PART 2 of Liberty blog

Posted: 1/17/21

How the Republican Party Convention System is structured and how to advance

In the political arena, the RLC offers training to interested people in how to be effective activists, and how to navigate the Republican Party convention system. Conventions are held every other year - in election years. National presidential election years get bigger participation than non-presidential years.

The Republican Party is structured to be a ground up organization, something many people forget once they achieve standing in the - let’s call it management - level. Because of its structure, the Republican Party is a grassroots organization in both its Convention process and its management structure.

In the Convention process - Resolutions which can turn into Platform items which are a guide to candidates and can lead to Bills being written, begin at the Precinct Convention level. 

After the primary voting places close, the Precinct Chairman (or whoever lives in the precinct that shows up) retrieves the Precinct Packet from the election judge at that precinct. Inside it are the script and items anyone needs to run a precinct convention.

First a sign-in sheet is made so it can be confirmed that anyone included in the precinct convention has voted in the Republican primary - or signed an oath of affiliation to the Republican Party. It is from this list, and from names previously collected from a precinct chair, that delegates and alternates are chosen to attend the next level of the convention process. The number of delegates and alternates each precinct is allowed is based on the number of Republicans who vote in that precinct.

Also at the Precinct level - Republicans bring forth Resolutions for vote. These resolutions reflect what the Republicans are concerned about. For example, at the last precinct convention where we had six people show up, I put forth a resolution calling for Texas Republican lawmakers to enact a state Constitutional Carry Bill.

Many resolutions are actually written by political organizations, so frequently at the next level the first step is tallying how many times the Resolution Committee has seen the same Resolution. That gives them a strong indication that it is actually something of concern to the Grassroots Republicans.

In most of Texas, the next level of Convention is the County Convention. In the bigger cities, or cities split between different State Senate Districts, the next convention is the Senatorial District (SD) Convention. 

One of the first committees (which begin meeting in advance of the actual convention) is a Credentials Committee. Credentials verify that the delegates are actually Republicans who voted and were elected at the Precinct level to represent their precinct. 

Committee chairmen are generally chosen by the management part of the Republican County and State representatives. Other committees include Organization, when & where meeting, setting up, etc, Rules Committee, what rules will the Convention use, & Resolutions. (Do not count any of the committees as unimportant - for example, who is allowed to speak to the conventioneers is determined by the organizational committee. How many delegates can speak on topics and for how long is determined by the rules committee, etc.)

At the (SD or County) convention, the delegates chosen at the precinct conventions will choose delegates to the Texas Republican Convention (largest political convention held in the United States). Delegates and Alternates attend the SD or County Convention….if a delegate does not show up, the Alternate is made into a Delegate and has voting privileges.

All committees and people chosen to run them are considered temporary. 

When the body of delegates meet “permanent” people are selected. Additionally, anything the temporary committees agree upon can be changed when the actual convention begins. What will go forward to the Texas State Convention is what is adopted by the majority vote of the delegates. Who goes forward is people who ask to be delegates to the state convention and are voted on by the body. Again, the number of people sent to state from each of the smaller conventions depends upon the voting strength. 

The Texas State Convention has all the same types of committees, and each committee has occasions for delegates, to be able to provide testimony, The resolutions that make it this far and are voted on by the body become the Texas Republican Party Platform.

At the Texas State Convention, delegates are elected to represent Texas at the National Repunlican Convention. These slots, and alternate slots, are highly coveted by activists - and a lot of campaigning takes place at Conventions. (Activists are always working on their political resumes. Are you a precinct Chair? What clubs/groups do you belong to? What leadership roles have you taken? Which campaigns did you assist with? What government positions have you held?) 

State Convention is also where the Texas Republican Party chair and Vice chair are chosen by the delegates, as well as representatives to the state executive committee (one man and one woman from each of the state senatorial districts), and the National Committeeman and Committeewoman.

Why does the Liberty Caucus teach this process? 

If you do not know what you are doing in the convention process, you cannot make changes to the party platform. Being involved in the process gives the RLC the chance to get Liberty-minded SREC members elected and resolutions into the platform.