July 10, 2020
There have been several articles recently published in the press and on social media raising questions regarding the leadership of the Wyoming Republican Party. It appears to be a concerted and coordinated effort by a few to sow discord among our ranks. These articles have painted an inaccurate picture of how the WY GOP operates, both implying and outright claiming that our policy decisions are being made by one person or a small group of unnamed people. They are pushing a narrative that there are some “dark and shrouded” figures who control the party. Anyone familiar with our Party, however, knows that is not how this works. The purpose of this article is to set the record straight.
Question: Who runs the Wyoming Republican Party and how are decisions made?
Everyone who has been directly involved with the Party’s proceedings, and possessing even a minimal amount of intellectual honesty, knows that transparency in our meetings is paramount. Basically, it is the voting membership that guides our Party traditions, our Bylaws, and our policies.
Party policy is set at the State Convention held every two years. The Delegates who attend that Convention are first elected at their respective County Conventions. They are elected to represent their County Republicans, and to serve as the decision-makers for the State Party. The State Delegates participate in formulating, presenting, debating, amending, and adopting updates to the Party’s Platform, Bylaws, and Resolutions documents.
The Bylaws clearly describe the organizational and decision-making structure of the Party. According to Article I(2), “The Delegates at the State Convention of the Wyoming Republican Party SHALL be the governing body of the Party. At all other times the State Central Committee SHALL be the governing body.” What we read here is to WHOM power is granted to - two groups of people depending upon whether the convention is in session or not. The members of both of those groups, however, are ultimately answerable to their respective Counties -- to the people that they represent. The Laramie County Delegates and the Laramie County members of the Central Committee represent Laramie County. The same is true for the Washakie County Delegates and members, and for every other County in the State. No County, in other words, has been stripped of their voice. They are all equally represented at State Convention and at the Central Committee meetings.
As this shows, there is no nefarious, secret authority that has been vested in any one individual. Both a Representative Republic and the WY GOP operate by placing power in an elected group of people. All of our meetings are open to the public (with the exception of the rare Executive Session), and the items on the agenda are defined by the rules. Yes that’s correct, one can attend by phone or in person and see for yourself. This is just further proof that transparency is a priority of the Party and any allegation to the contrary is untrue.
What powers does this leave to individuals holding leadership positions? Very little. Of course, in political organizations such as the WY GOP there exist varying levels of persuasion depending on each person’s credibility, history, knowledge, reputation, and a host of other attributes. The point is that there is opportunity for open discussion and debate. Some of our members are more persuasive than others. It is for our members to decide in terms of our Platforms, Bylaws and Resolutions.
That brings up what seems to be another “sticking point” with some party members and the press. What has been and remain the foundation for the Party’s guiding principles--our timeless truths as we see them?
The answer is quite obviously our Platform, which can be found at this link: https://www.wyoming.gop/wyoming_republican_party_platform. As explained above, this document is discussed, argued, massaged, debated and, as appropriate, amended first at the County level during the County Conventions (and perhaps at other times as issues arise). All such County-approved submissions are then presented to and considered again during two days of committee work at the State Convention. All of the Committee members who show up and choose to participate have the right to discuss the Platform and proposed amendments. Those proposals that are passed out of the committee are then presented to all the voting Delegates at the Convention to be voted on and either approved or rejected. It is the Delegates who decide the Party Platform.
Having now explained the open and transparent process that has been followed since time immemorial for establishing the principles of the Party, we can now turn to the role of the Chairmen and others who are involved with the Party. Stated another way, we need to address head-on the question/accusation that has been so freely thrown around, “How, then does the Chairman and the other ‘nefarious’ individuals exercise their ill-gotten power”?
A short answer is perhaps the best: It doesn’t happen. The voting Delegates and Committee members decide what happens in the Party. It is the Convention Delegates and Convention Committee members -- the representatives of their respective Counties -- that run the State Party. Any accusation to the contrary reflects more on the people making such claims than it does on the Party. The fact is that there is a small but vocal group in the Republican Party who seek to drag us further and further to the left. The remaining Delegates and Committee members do not agree with them and tend to vote down their proposals. That is the way that a Republic works. That is democracy in action. There is nothing “nefarious” about it.
We seem to be living in a time that for a certain segment of our society, if they cannot get what they want then it must be the system that is broken, rather than their inability to persuade. Maybe they should come up with better policies and ideas. They can then properly present them to their County parties. If passed, the Delegates and Committee members can present them at the State Convention. If they are properly passed then they become part of our Platform, Bylaws, or Resolutions. If they fail, perhaps they should rethink what it is that they are proposing. It isn’t the system, it is probably the fact that the other Counties and their Delegates disagree with them.
The Wyoming Republican Party is run like many other organizations. There is an Executive Committee, a Central Committee, County parties, Delegates to the State Convention and its Committees. The business and policy is set by the members. There is nothing “nefarious” or “broken” with the Wyoming Republican Party. It remains strong and ready to fight for our Constitution, our traditional values, our families and our way of life. Perhaps that is why the press has been salivating at the idea of infighting -- they would rather see us weak, divided and ineffective than strong, united and determined.