Saturday, August 12, 2023


 by Rod Williams, August 12, 2023 - Look what I got in my email today.

There is so much wrong with this. 

First of all, this is factually not accurate. Membership in the party is not determined at the national level. Since we do not have national Republican membership, it cannot be suspended.  Being a Republican or a Democrat is primarily a matter of self-identification. In many states when you register to vote, you must register as a Democrat or a Republican or as an independent. Some states have other choices besides Republican, Democrat, or independent. In states where you must register by party or as an independent, one my truthfully say, "I am a registered Republican," but not in Tennessee. Some states issue membership cards and one may say, "I'm a card-carrying Republican;" not in Tennessee.

While Republican county parties and the state party have rules to determine who may serve the party in an official capacity and who may run for office as a Republican, neither the county nor the state party can tell me I am not a Republican. They cannot stop me from voting Republican, saying I am a Republican, or thinking I am a Republican. 

In Tennessee we have "open primaries," which means if I want to vote in the Republican primary one time and vote in the Democrat primary the next time, I can do so. There are fifteen states with open primaries. Some like Tennessee are open primaries without party registration and some are open primaries with party registration. In a state with registration and open primaries, even if I was a registered Republican, I could still vote in a Democrat primary. 

Secondly, this solicitation is deceptive and preys on people's ignorance. Some people who do identify as a Republicans really will believe their membership has been suspended and will "renew" their membership.  This is a pretty slimy way to get contributions. 

Also, this appeal is not from the RNC but from the National Republican Congressional Committee. This is the organization working to elect Republican House members. Even if membership in the Party was national, it would be the NRC that would control that membership, not a subsidiary devoted to electing Republican House members. 

I have sent NRCC money in the past. I sent money to lots of Republican and conservative organizations. Not a lot of money as I am not a rich man, but I send some. I have supported the RNC, the NRCC which is the source of this appeal, the organization raising money to elect Republican Senators, the Republican Governors Assocation, the State party, and the local party. In addition, I support a bunch of causes and individual candidates.  

I was born a Republican and have never wavered. Not that I have not been less enthused or more enthused at times, but I always thought that contemporary liberalism and the Democrat Party would take our country down the wrong path. I always thought the Republican Party was right on the issues that matter most. 

The modern conservative movement, the Republican Party being the primary vehicle for the movement, is said to be a coalition represented by a three-legged stool of economic conservatives, social conservatives and defense hawks.  Or, it may be expressed as a three-legged stool of libertarians, traditionalist, and anti-communist.  In any event, I am, for the most part, comfortable in all three of the overlapping camps. 

Born at the outset of the cold war and living my life under the specter of Communist world domination, I have been an advocate of a strong national defense and America's leadership role in the world. I have never been an isolationist. We were right to lead the world in defeating imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, and we were right to oppose Communism around the world. When Ronald Regan said our goal was not to coexist with Communism but to defeat it, I thought that was a great moment of clarity and purpose. I cheered at "tear down this wall!"

The threat to national sovereignties, democracy, and the threat of tyrants with a desire to build empires did not end with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, Ukraine is in a fight for its survival. On the recent vote on the national defense appropriations bill, the vast majority of Congress from both parties voted to support Ukraine and oppose Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's aggression.  However, 30% of House Republicans voted against aid to Ukraine. All Democrats supported Ukraine and all of the votes for cutting aid to Ukraine came from Republicans. It is hard for me to see how anyone would vote to help Putin achieve his objective of destroying Ukraine. For that reason, I am not going to send money to the NRCC. While support for America's interest in the world and American leadership in making the world safe for Democracy is not the only issue that concerns me, it is an important issue. Why should I support the NRCC when my money may be used to elect more isolationist to the U. S. Congress? The NRCC can keep their membership card.

In Tennessee, Congressman Andy Ogles and two other of our eight Republican Representatives voted to surrender to Russian aggression. I cannot automatically assume that electing Republicans represents my values. For that reason, I have suspended my support for the Tennessee Republican Party. I have not contributed to the Party this year. If Ogles and the other two Republicans are primaried, I will contribute to their challengers. 

In addition to the issue stated above, I am becoming more and more dissatisfied with the Republican Party in general. The Republican Party has too many conspiracy theorist and nut-jobs for me to feel comfortable. We have too many Majorie Taylor Greens in the party for me to feel at home. 

Unless something changes drastically, it appears Donald Trump will be the party's nominee. It will be a cold day in hell before I will ever vote for Donald Trump. One of my bedrock principles is support for the peaceful transfer of power. If the Party no longer subscribes to this principal, then I can no longer consider myself a Republican.

Thankfully, we do not have to register by party to vote in America or in Tennessee. If we did, I think I would follow conservative luminaries like George Will and David Brooks and change my registration to independent. If we had party membership, the party would not have to suspend my membership, I would surrender it. 

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