The renewed talk of convention versus a primary here in Virginia for the 2016 Republican Presidential contest seems to be the hot topic at the moment, taking up space on a variety of Virginia blogs. Therefore, I thought it would be prudent to offer my thoughts.
As the title of this piece indicates, why not hold a primary next year? After all, as others have already pointed out, the Republican Party of Virginia doesn’t have the sufficient funds to pay for a convention right now. Rather than taking the fiscally responsible path of having a political party pay for its own nomination contest, isn’t it far better to soak the Virginia taxpayers, many if not most of whom have absolutely no interest in determining who the Republican Party nominates?
Now, now, I know what some of you will say, “the Republican Party is the party of limited government and keeping taxes and spending low”. However, given that the Republican leadership in the General Assembly supported the two largest tax increases in Virginia history (Governor Mark Warner’s tax hike followed by Governor Bob McDonnell’s transportation tax plan), will anyone really notice if the GOP sticks the citizens with the bill once again?
Here in the Shenandoah Valley, elected Republican officials often shun conventions and instead select primaries. Representative Bob Goodlatte chose a primary in 2012 because there was a worry that he might lose in a convention if the party faithful could hold him accountable. In 2015 and 2007, Virginia Senator Emmett Hanger did the exact same thing. Friends, if the GOP picks a convention, there is a good chance that those already in office won’t win and, as the people exist to serve their legislators, it would be utterly disastrous for us to lose our 20+ year incumbents. Can you imagine the hassle of having to remember the names and political positions of our new leaders every two or four years? Why, most of us don’t pay near enough attention to politics to handle that kind of responsibility! It is far better to stay the course. When we elect a candidate once, assuming he or she gets the stamp of approval from the leadership in Richmond and/or Washington, we should elect him or her for life!
Now, that’s not to say that primaries always produce the best outcome. After all, last year Dave Brat defeated former Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Republican candidates actually running on the Republican creed! Who could fathom such a thing? Why didn’t voters choose the name and face they knew rather than someone (shudder) that actually promotes conservative values? Nevertheless, just because of this one unfortunate situation, one shouldn’t discount primaries entirely. After all, they usually produce candidates that don’t give two cents about the values of the grassroots and are more interested in working with the Republican power bosses. Who could forget such inspiring leaders selected by primaries? We need more leaders like John McCain and Mitt Romney! Nevertheless, it is hard to understand why voters in the general election reject the sort of establishment, moderate Republicans that primaries produce.
Friends, the arguments are simple. It is ridiculous to think that Republicans should have to pay for their own nominating contests. In addition, primaries usually allow well-funded incumbents to stay in office, forget about their principles, and continue to ignore the wishes of the men and women who helped to get them elected in the first place. Aren’t they the type of leaders we need? With those thoughts in mind, why should the Republican Party of Virginia consider any other nomination method?
Virginia Republicans need a primary in 2016!