First and foremost we, the Texas Young Republicans would like to thank you for your hard work and dedication to the Republican cause. Even when we disagree and are divided, we can still commend our fellow Republicans for their efforts. As President Reagan once said, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally – not a 20 percent traitor.”
Unfortunately, Saturday’s vote rejecting the ‘open booth’ policy was one of those disagreeable times for a lot of our YR members who adamantly opposed the outcome of the vote, and who believe it is the common ground of Republican principles of limited government that brings and holds us together.
We strongly believe that upholding our Platform’s principles should not be mutually exclusive from allowing the participation of Republican organizations, whose adherents hold certain single-issue views and positions that do not align with the majority of the Party. We recognize and appreciate that the Party has spoken on core principles and policy priorities pertaining to traditional values and protecting and strengthening families. Marriage, properly defined through thousands of years of human history as the sacred bond between one man and one woman, is something our state Party undoubtedly supports and wants to protect.
Republicans can and should aggressively advocate on these issues. However, excluding those Republicans that do not prioritize these issues – or that hold a contrary position – is hard to justify when considering that they are likely in agreement with most other core principles and policy priorities held by other Republicans in Texas. As Republicans, there is too much that unites us and too little that divides us for our Party to be perceived as excluding fellow Republicans.
Indeed, there certainly were valid arguments made by some of you who spoke in opposition to the open booth policy. Among these were concerns that an ‘open booth’ policy would allow advertising for viewpoints contrary to principles outlined in the platform. Another is that, as your Senate District’s representative, you were voting consistent with the interests of your constituents. These are important considerations; however, they must be balanced against the critical and pressing need for us to grow the Party and not alienate certain voters.
We are leaders in youth politics. We can tell you on the authority of our years of experience and our proven understanding of the sentiments of millennial Republicans, that divisive internal Party policies will not help us win elections in the future. The denial of a booth rental to certain Republican groups, admittedly outside the mainstream of Republican politics, is and will continue to be perceived as discriminatory and insulting by the emerging generations.
We cannot emphasize more to you how real the backlash is and how worse it’s going to be in another five years. As a result of this kind of backlash, our numbers will drop in the future and our candidates may lose winnable elections. The media will not do us any favors and will relentlessly attack our Party on so many fronts. Millennials are getting older, and they will only vote in greater numbers in the years ahead.
What’s done is done, but going forward, we urge you to not make this error and other unforced errors in the future. As Party leaders and influencers, it is our duty to do everything we can to help and not hurt our Party’s electoral objectives.
Chairman, The Texas Young Republican Federation
Policy Director, The Texas Young Republican Federation