What does it mean to be a Republican? Why does our party exist? These don't seem like questions that anyone would have to ask, but Republicans throughout the nation and, specifically, in the state of Washington, are asking them. Whether it's the Republican National Committee engaging in power grabbing tactics at the National Convention, or, here in Washington, the Washington State Republican Party's (WSRP) full support and endorsement of a man who has gone so far to the left that he opposes the potential repeal of any portion of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, Republicans are getting frustrated. The heart of the party, the grass roots activists, are asking "What is the role of the Republican Party?"
I submit to you this thought: The mission of the Republican Party is not simply to win elections for anyone with an "R" after their name, although there are some party leaders who would disagree with that, no doubt. Rather, the mission of the party should be to stand for the values, principles and ideas that party members and activists corporately agree are important. These values, principles and ideas are embodied in the Party Platform. Whether the platform is at the county, state or national level, Republicans have taken the time away from family and work to gather at conventions to adopt these platforms of shared values. These platforms are a direct reflection of the base of the party and thus should be a direct reflection of our candidates. Is it nice to win elections? Sure, but what is the use to the party of winning elections if the values and principles of the party, as outlined in the platform, are not reflected in the winning candidate?
The party, by ignoring the platform and waging a war against the grassroots, does nothing more that diminish the party's standing among both the activists and the electorate as a whole. The average Republican stands for the sanctity of human life, sound monetary policy, religious liberty and a smaller and less intrusive government that is kept in check by the United States Constitution. That short list is not the entirety of Republican values, nor is this to suggest that there is not some disagreement amongst Republicans on some issues. That partial list, however, is something that most Republicans agree on. This agreement is evidenced by their inclusion in the platform at the National level and in the platform of the WSRP.
Win or lose, these should be the guiding principles that the Republican Party and the candidates for that party should stand on. When a Republican wins an election they should celebrate not just the fact that an election has been won, but the fact that the Republican values and principles have won, as well. When a Republican loses an election, that candidate and those who voted for him or her should find comfort and take pride in the knowledge that they stood for something, that they didn't compromise their principles for the sake of political expediency, as so many candidates do today.
Being a Republican means so much more than simply not being a Democrat. It means that you love this country as founded. It means that you're willing to stand, even in the face of ridicule, for the principles and values that have made the United States of America the greatest beacon of hope and liberty to the entire world for centuries.