Precinct power defines parties

Do political parties reflect your political positions? You can change them now.  The 2014 election cycle begins this week with Republicans and with the Democrats in March as precinct meetings are held throughout Tulsa County.  These are the neighborhood gatherings that stage upwards to the county, state and national events.

Do you like the party platform?  Are local leaders growing membership, presenting good candidates, and effectively messaging the party to the general public?

In the precinct meetings, you may propose any resolution to change anything that your precinct in majority may agree needs change.

Tulsa County Republican precinct caucuses will be held Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Locations and contact information is available from the party web site  Then click on the files link in the upper left on the page for “Files” or click here for that page.

During the caucus, the rules allow, “resolutions to add/revise/delete planks in the County Platform” or “any other resolutions.”  If those attending the caucus do not bring written resolutions they are asked to complete a separate form for each resolution.

Some caucuses will be held at central locations with the capacity to host several meetings at once.  Over a third of Tulsa County’s 262 precincts have no party officers at all. Precincts without officers are listed on the Tulsa GOP website along with the caucus locations and, if you are registered as a Republican, you can be elected even if you are the only one that attends the meeting.  It is recommended that you read the “Pre-County Convention Information” file before the precinct meeting.  These are small gatherings, you can make a difference.

As Tulsa Today’s regular readers know, there is considerable disagreement within the Tulsa County Republican Party.  In short, leadership has taken extremist positions, broken party rules, failed in several significant operational areas and even taken upon itself the right to censure elected officials.  J. B. Alexander, Chairman of the Tulsa County Republican Party, is often involved in these disputes. (Click here for the most recent story.)

If Republicans registered within Tulsa County are not perfectly happy with the operation of their local, state or national party, the precinct meeting is the place to begin to make a difference.  First with resolutions approved in the precinct, then following those resolutions by volunteering to serve on committees that will consider them and then attending the County Convention to vote.  To attend the County Convention, you must attend your precinct meeting.

Like the old line, if you don’t vote – don’t complain.  In party positions and operations, if you don’t attend your precinct meeting – well, you get the point.  It is like a sporting event; date set, people prepare, contest held, and the winner is decided.

This writer has served on various County Republican Committees for many years and it is never an easy task.  Many of the most zealous attend to push particular agendas and if they are not voted down, those political points win the day.  I frequently urge better communications and messaging and have recommended an abbreviated rather than detail driven platform.  Others believe it is their mission from God to put every particular public policy point of concern in the platform.  I have no general disagreement with those particular points, but advocate that Republicans should promote basic agreements more attractive and less contentious.

In years past, I advocated a one page platform to replace the encyclopedia of complaint.  Finding little support from those voting on the Platform Committee, last year I proposed and the Committee adopted a one-page summary as a preamble for the platform.  Contrary to their votes in committee, many of those same people then disputed and rejected the preamble at the County Convention for reasons contrary to fact, but strong in emotion.

Yes, there are all kinds of people involved in politics.  Most are good hearted, kind, polite and responsible citizens of these United States.  Some are low on information while others drown in detail.  Some are twisted to some degree, but no more so than the general population. These are your neighbors and they care enough to show up and participate. Do you?

The issues are decided by those on the field.