The Republican Liberty Caucus has a specific mission, which is to restore liberty and Constitutional values in American politics through electing members of the Republican Party who have those values and ideals. For twenty years this mission has been gaining momentum, and can be seen picking up serious steam in the 2010 elections around the country.
Achieving the mission occurs through a very simple strategy that involves two core concepts:
1. Work within the Republican Party.
2. Make sure that the best candidate gets the party nomination in the primary.
The first step seems to be hard for some people to swallow, as it means narrowing your focus somewhat. To be most effective, RLC activists are encouraged to join their county’s Republican executive committee (REC). The REC is where Republican strategy is made and the agenda is set. It determines who the party will support, what ideas it will back, and generally how the local party is run. Obviously, this has tremendous strategic value for a caucus that tasks itself with reforming the party from the inside out.
Being a member of your REC isn’t enough by itself, however. You also have to be willing to work with the local party members and have at the very least a working relationship with them. To that end, all conflict and strife should be avoided if necessary, as it creates barriers and can lead to negative publicity. If a situation arises, it’s best for the RLC member(s) to back away from it and make it known that they aren’t interesting in any kind of trouble.
It’s also useful to help with campaigns of candidates (preferably ones you find enjoyable), or to do some other work to help the party on the local level (i.e. making phone calls, knocking on doors, helping organize a voter registration drive, etc.). There are a number of things you can do to actively help the party without sacrificing your principles.
One of the issues that faces some members is how much they can support candidates outside of the Republican Party. This becomes a particularly sticky situation when you have a party loyalty oath like that used by the Republican Party of Florida. Typically, RLC members openly supporting non-Republican candidates against Republicans can cause friction with their relations within the party. The RPOF loyalty oath actually states that those who sign it are forbidden from openly supporting any candidate running against a Republican in a partisan election, except in a primary. It’s worth noting that in order to join any of Florida’s RECs, you must sign the loyalty oath. This is no small matter; signing your name to a document is regarded by most as putting your honor on the line, and to go against an oath you signed your name to can create some serious issues. If you’re not comfortable with such a restriction, you should probably see about working from outside of your local REC if they have one in place.
In order to prevent RLC members from feeling the urge to vote against the Republican candidate, the RLC needs to win primary elections, getting the liberty candidate into the general election. Once they are pressed through, the party is typically forced to support them. Mike Yost is a solid example where a good primary push got a great liberty candidate into the general election, where he has earned the support of many of the Republican Party’s biggest names in his bid to win the Congressional District 3 race in Florida. Unfortunately, if the primary run fails, the opposing candidate will get the party’s support, and any further actions against them will incur some hard feelings within the party.
It is not the general election where the RLC needs to focus most of its efforts, but rather these primary elections. In the 10-18 months leading up to a primary election, RLC members need to identify good liberty minded candidates quickly within the Republican Party, and then support them as much as possible, putting all time, effort, and even money into that candidate to get them through the primary. In many regions this push will give a large boost that could see the candidate win and make it through to the general election. Once they’re in the general election, the Republican Party will take over, donating far more resources than the RLC could muster for the race.
The RLC has a good strategy, a winning strategy. Work within the party, and push liberty candidates in the primary elections. If RLC members can do these things – avoiding strife, breaking oaths, or being sucked into the concept they can “wait” to support a candidate until after the primary – then liberty candidates will win more races in the Republican Party across the nation, bringing the Republican Liberty Caucus’s strategy one step closer to success.
And with that success will come a new age of liberty and Constitutional values in America.