News

Frustration and Joy in California GOP’s Platform Drafting Process

Frustration and Joy in California GOP’s Platform Drafting Process

A projected elephant, the logo of the Republican party, is seen in a Dec. 15, 2018 file photo. (L.E. Baskow/AFP via Getty Images)

John Moorlach

John Moorlach

8/2/2023

Updated: 12/21/2023

Commentary
After every gubernatorial election, the California Republican Party (CRP) reviews its platform—a statement of goals and principles supported by the party—to determine if any changes, additions, or deletions are warranted. Such is the joy of a dynamic document.
This job was assigned to 56 individuals elected to the Platform Drafting Committee. We met on Saturday, July 29th, and the result will be vetted by the full Platform Committee, which has over 200 members, at the CRP’s September Convention in Anaheim.
You can read the 14 pages of the current platform (pdf) by going to the website for the Republican Party of Orange County.
Here’s my “reader’s digest” version. It opens with the following preamble, a number of specific topics which are elaborated upon, and a conclusion.
“The California Republican Party envisions a vibrant, prosperous, and safe California defined by a robust world-class economy, strong and healthy families, and reformed and responsive state and local governments that serve all people while protecting individual liberties as enshrined in the US Constitution. As the party of Abraham Lincoln, we believe in dignity and equality for all.”
The preamble then continues with the following six bullet points the party supports:
  • Choice and excellence in education for all Californians
  • The safety and well-being of all California residents, including freedom of choice for health care
  • Economic policies that promote economic growth and innovation, leading to increased affordability
  • A reformed system of taxation that maintains and improves infrastructure and public safety while reducing the burden on working families, homeowners and older Californians
  • Favorable environmental policies that supports California’s farmers and ranchers
  • Election integrity and ethical government
In conclusion, the document reads, “The California Republican Party recognizes the truth: Government is meant to serve the people. As such, government is solemnly charged with the responsibility to craft long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes. We pledge to hold our government responsible for securing the safety of our families, for expanding our world-class economy, and for promoting fairness and justice for every Californian.”
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on March 23, 2023. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)

The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., on March 23, 2023. (Richard Moore/The Epoch Times)

Now this would be a shortened version. But the other 13 pages provide detailed guidance on the topics of affordability, agriculture, condemnation of racism and acts of violence, crime and justice, economy and jobs, education, election integrity, the environment, equal opportunity, ethics by government officials, family, federalism, health care, housing, immigration, the litigation crisis, national defense, historic and ongoing support for the 1 percent property tax cap Proposition 13, private property rights, religious freedom, the right to bear arms, the right to life, senior Californians, taxes and government spending, veterans affairs, and water.
The members of the Platform Drafting Committee reviewed more than two hundred pages of proposed amendments and tried to synthesize them into a new proposed version.  Changes to just about every segment of the current platform, from minor editing suggestions to multi-page expansions of the existing topics, were received. Additional topics for possible inclusion were also submitted, including addressing artificial intelligence, critical race theory, drugs, educational parental rights, energy, homelessness, open borders, sex trafficking, transgenderism, and transportation.
What does your political party believe in? Hence, a platform. The California Democratic Party’s (CDP) platform (pdf) is provided in segments on its website, with the written version consisting of 35 pages of single-space information.  The California Libertarian Party’s platform (pdf) is 30 pages long. The budding California Common Sense Party’s platform was provided in a single website page.
Should a platform be brief? Or should it be expanded to cover every possible question one may have on every issue? On Saturday, three of the members in attendance proffered a one-page proposal. It was amended by the some 40 other members present. When the drafting concluded some five hours later, it would be four to five pages in length.
What remains is a brief preamble and short single paragraphs on public safety and criminal justice, economic development, homelessness, housing, education, healthcare, fiscal responsibility, infrastructure, immigration, environment, water, veterans, right to bear arms, national defense, family, religious freedom, and right to life.
They joke that the second strongest drive is to change someone else’s copy. Those of us cursed with the editing bug will wonder if the diet is too severe. Others may lean toward trimming things down even more. Those who assumed a tinkering of the current document may be disappointed that their recommendations were ignored.  And others would want a larger document covering every subject under the sun.
They also joke that a committee was established to design the horse, but the finished product was a camel. One can only imagine what will happen in September when a Platform Committee of more than 200 members comes to approve the proposed product. After my experience, I can only hope the committee chair can hold the meeting together.  But something is nagging at me that the chair may just call us to gather again for another fun and grueling day of group writing.
Copy
facebooktwitterlinkedintelegram
John Moorlach

John Moorlach

Author

John Moorlach is the director of the California Policy Center's Center for Public Accountability. He has served as a California State Senator and Orange County Supervisor and Treasurer-Tax Collector. In 1994, he predicted the County's bankruptcy and participated in restoring and reforming the sixth most populated county in the nation.

Author's Selected Articles
California Insider
Sign up here for our email newsletter!
©2024 California Insider All Rights Reserved. California Insider is a part of Epoch Media Group.