Let’s Not Get Railroaded: Postpone the Election

Let’s preface the following with Ockham’s Law: “The Simplest Solution is Invariably the Correct Solution.”

Most of you know​ by ​now that ​ Saturday’s Republican Party State Central Committee gathering has been canceled by Chairman Bill Currier. (Or maybe you don’t know. Some Delegates have​ ​not been notified yet.)

But instead of postponing the meeting altogether, Chair Currier has decided to extract the most important part of it – the National Committeeman and National Committeewoman elections – and to conduct them “electronically,” this coming Saturday, the 21st.

Currier’s decision was unilateral. He didn’t formally consult the Executive Committee, or the County Chairs, or the Delegates…or the candidates.

Oh, I suppose maybe the ORP Bylaws allow him to get away with that. But his dictate sure annoyed a lot of people, to the point where in the last 24 hours, more than once, I’ve heard the words “recall Currier for this!”

If this election were to have proceeded as originally planned, our informal vote tally shows that Solomon Yue would NOT have been reelected National Committeeman. So, knowing that – and the history of the EC’s manipulations –  some leadership-level grassroots Republicans have been wondering exactly what the inevitable last-minute maneuvering would be. Now we know. (And I can’t help but think of Democrat Rahm Emanuel’s famous words, “never-Let-a-Crisis-Go-to-Waste.”)

Within C​u​rrier’s newly devised “safe-distance” meeting format, candidates are limited to an antiseptic six-minute phone and/or online “candidate speech” to Delegates. What this means is, essentially, opposing candidates like me will be silenced. Rather than simply postponing the entire meeting – like every other organization out there faced with the same COVID-19 challenges – top EC leadership has seized this opportunity to try to ram through this last-minute extreme “electronic” voting format change.

No small thing, and as you can see, Currier’s move significantly favors the reelection of the Executive Committee’s driving force, Solomon Yue – satisfying his almost bizarre obsession with holding onto power – for another four years. Isn’t fifteen years of failure enough?

(And it’s time to finally ask this, here: does anyone really think the imposing of this radical election format is Bill Currier’s personal decision? Don’t you think Solomon Yue is calling the shots, as he has from behind-the-curtain, for the past decade and a half?)

Of course, with the current COVID-19 hysteria, none of us are surprised the gathering was cancelled. But probably like you, and as I said, we expected the meeting to be postponed altogether and not have the most important part of it rammed through via some untested, complex electronic voting scheme. Here are the specific reasons why the Chair Currier/National Committeeman Solomon Yue decision to conduct electronic voting is a seriously bad idea:

  1. Nowhere in the real world is electronic voting standard protocol:  Federal, state or local. Why not? Because it’s fraught with opportunities for fraud, for loss and/or corruption of data, and for all the other inherent vagaries of hardware/software (e.g. the Iowa Caucuses last month). For an organization of our size, hard-copy voting is as close to fail-safe as one can get.
  2. Our candidate presentations would be​ delivered​ through ​a​ combination of online and/or telephone conference calling. ​S​ome candidates have prepared slides to illustrate their most important points. But most of our Delegates will be “attending” via phone, not computer. For them, the presenter’s main points will be indecipherable.
  3. More than a few of our Delegates WILL have technical complications. Getting 150 attendees up-and-running on their computers and/or phones at precisely the same time – via this brand-new ORP experiment – will, no question, lead to the exclusion of some number of frustrated Delegates from the proceedings and from the voting. I’ve owned a nationally-recognized tele-communications business for thirty-six years. Don’t argue with me about this.
  4. Speaking for myself and the other candidates, we deserve to be able to meet-and-greet delegates in-person: to talk, to answer questions, to present ourselves as leaders. That is impossible in a six-minute monologue over the phone or on a computer. Currier/Yue are single-handedly denying us that very standard election protocol.

We’ve always had “live” SCC voting. It’s always worked. Let’s not change that now because of little more than Ruling Class political expediency/panic.

No question, these National Committeeman and National Committeewoman elections should be postponed, most logically until the June SCC gathering. Postponement of the election is the simple solution. There is no rush! Who would object to this postponement except a tiny Executive Committee top leadership cabal that is, for whatever reason, desperately fixated on holding onto power…despite the political nightmare in Salem that they themselves presided over, if not outright cultivated.

Some would say that ORP’s Executive Committee’s colossal failures over the years have been the result of bad decision-making stemming from incompetent, part-time leadership. But is there a deeper, more sinister-factor? You decide: here’s a quote from a long-term former Executive Committee member, speaking anonymously about current ORP top-leadership:

“They stack the deck, count the votes, maintain every possible edge, and use any means to get rid of anybody who is perceived as a threat to their positions within the party, while still saving face.  Everything is about maintaining party control.”

What can YOU do to stop this faux-election? Contact Bill Currier or Solomon Yue directly, and/or your county GOP officers, and tell them the Executive Committee top leadership’s man-handling of this election – because of their own contrived political expediency – is not OK.

Without an ORP Executive Committee leadership shift, nothing is going to change in the ORP and therefore nothing is going to change in Salem. You know it’s true, and you know we can’t let that happen.

And remember this: redistricting will happen in 2021 and with our current supermajority legislature, Oregon will stay blue for no less than another generation.

Obviously, I’m not afraid to be bold about this. How about you?

Bill Currier and Solomon Yue should simply cancel plans for an “electronic” election this coming Saturday. Please immediately contact them, assertively encouraging them, and the Executive Committee, to make that decision.

-sam carpenter