Dear Lieutenant Governor Bolling:
I read your Op-Ed piece in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch with great interest. In that article you outlined five points:
- 2013 was a disaster for the RPV. Moreover, it was only the latest disaster for a party that has been in decline for decades.
- The population center of Virginia has shifted and the RPV’s rural-centric philosophy will no longer win elections.
- The demographics of Virginia are changing and the RPV is not.
- Closed conventions suck.
- No single philosophy or ideology can dominate Republican thinking to the exclusion of other Republican ideologies.
It is well written, insightful, cooly logical and …. doomed to fall on deaf ears.
Sir, the Republican Party of Virginia is broken beyond repair. Or, at least, it is broken beyond any hope of repair during what’s left of your political life. The Tea Party exerts sufficient control to keep the closed convention lunacy in place for years to come. That closed convention philosophy, in turn, will guarantee extremist candidates from the Republican Party of Virginia.
There is another way. America in general and Virginia in particular are ready for a viable third party. Previous attempts at third party politics in the Commonwealth have been well intentioned but ill conceived. Here’s the plan:
- Pick our fights. There are House of Delegates and State Senate seats that are ready for a viable third party candidate. We only run in those districts. Robert Sarvis tried to go from “zero to governor.” That will not work. We need to start by focusing on specific House and Senate seats. We can do this
- Conserve our cash. It costs about $200,000 to run a successful House of Delegates campaign. It costs about $1,200,000 to run a successful State Senate campaign. Roughly speaking, we raise enough money to attack 10 House districts and 2 Senate districts. That’s $4.4M. With some funding for the party infrastructure we need about $5M. We can do this.
- Lead with leaders. Nominating unknown people with no political experience will fail. We need to draw from the large body of moderate Republicans disaffected by the Tea Party and the equally large body of moderate Democrats disaffected by the Obama regime. Obviously, you would be a perfect leader for this new party. We can do this.
- No bizarre policies. The Libertarians have made inroads against the tyranny of the two parties. Yet they have failed. In some ways their failure has been due to extreme policies. We will not seek to “end the Fed.” We do not want to legalize heroin. We will build a fiscally conservative, socially moderate platform with reasonable boundaries. We can do this.
This will not be easy. This will not happen quickly. This will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. But it will work. From a foothold in the House and Senate we will work in future election cycles to raise more money and elect more politicians. We will get to a point where no legislation will pass without concurrence of at least two of the three parties in Virginia. We will be the moderating influence on both the left and right. Eventually we will be in a position to campaign credibly for state-wide offices, including offices in the federal government.
Someday in the distant future our descendants will peer into whatever electronic devices they use to learn American history. There will be a chapter devoted to the death of the two party tyranny in America. Let it be your picture that accompanies that lesson.
Very truly yours,
– DJ Rippert