Thursday, June 20, 2024

OPINION: It’s a small club, and you’re not in it

by MARY SOUZA/Uncanceled and Unfiltered
| June 21, 2023 1:00 AM

Dear Idaho Republican citizens, so sorry to interrupt your summer activities, but you need to pay attention to some scary rules and resolutions designed to take away your rights. It is happening this week, June 23 and 24, in a tiny town tucked away in the very middle of Idaho’s mountains.

The Idaho Republican Party will be quietly holding its summer meeting in Challis on these June dates. Only chosen delegates and their guests are allowed. They will be voting on some controversial rules and resolutions so contentious they were held over from the IDGOP’s winter meeting. These issues are still highly problematic, but now are out of the spotlight as you and I are trying to enjoy our summer, while already distracted by the national furor going on in D.C. and Florida.

Quite surprisingly, there are eerie similarities between the federal government and the IDGOP. While the feds raid, confiscate documents, hold hearings and indict (formally accuse) a current presidential candidate, our Idaho GOP tries, for a second time, to pass a rule mandating obedience reviews to indict (formally accuse), and possibly even remove, Republican officials you elected but whom the party decides are not loyal enough. All of these actions by government, whether in D.C. or in Idaho, are destined to take away the power of your vote.

As a U.S. citizen and registered Idaho Republican voter, you are the one to decide if the accused presidential candidate or any accused Republican official in Idaho is worthy of your vote. Either side can give you information, but if they remove the candidate or official, they invalidate your power. It is an absolute power grab attempt by both the federal government and the IDGOP.

Why would our Idaho Republican Party leadership pursue such an arrogant, aggressive path? For answers, just look at their leadership upheaval recently. Last summer, Dorothy Moon was made chairman of the party at a highly contentious convention in Twin Falls. Dorothy is closely tied to the Idaho Freedom Foundation, and her husband, Darr Moon, is on the National Council for the John Birch Society. Several of our large county delegations to that convention were stacked with know-nothing first-time delegates loyal to IFF. They wanted obedience not someone who thinks. (Side note: As the sitting state senator for District 4, Coeur d’Alene at that time, I was denied a spot as a Kootenai County delegate to that convention.)

As George Carlin said, “It’s a small club, and we’re not in it.”

On that note, here are just three of the many issues they will decide at this June meeting:

The “Enforcement Rule,” 2023-8. It says any elected Republican official, from the U.S. Congress on down to the county level, are subject to review by Idaho Republican Party officials at any time. They may be “censured” for a first violation, and if there’s a second violation, the party may prohibit use of the Republican name or logos for five years. But wait, it gets even weirder: Idaho’s two U.S. senators, Crapo and Risch, or our U.S. representatives, could be summoned by state party officials, at any time, and must respond within 10 days. I wonder if they could summon a sitting Republican president as well?

You should know that Brent Regan is the current chair of the IDGOP Rules Committee. He’s also the chair of Kootenai County Republican Central Committee and he’s Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Chairman of the Board. Why all this power for one person?

President Ronald Reagan famously cautioned, “Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty.”

Resolution 2023-39 worries me greatly. It says that you, the Republican primary election voters, should not choose the Republican candidates to represent you in the general election, as has been the longstanding process. No, they think that decision should be made by your Republican Central Committee. And they want to make it an amendment to our Idaho Constitution so it will be difficult to ever change back. Think this could not happen in the Idaho GOP? I’ve personally heard KCRCC leadership say, out loud, that they should choose the candidates, not the voters.

Watch out for Resolution 2023-38. It’s a tricky move to further take away your voting power. (Do you see a theme? They do not respect Idaho’s Republican voters.) This resolution is so confusing and convoluted that I will summarize with just two quick comments. The Idaho Presidential Primary should be moved to the May election, where voter turnout is much better. We should never even consider the horrible “caucus system” for primary votes because it unfairly takes away access for large groups of registered voters. Our regular precinct voting method is far more efficient and trustworthy.

Lastly, I hope the IDGOP stops bullying and threatening the Republican officials you elected. If these officials don’t act in your best interest, it is you who are responsible to vote them out at the ballot box. That’s the way our representative democracy form of government was designed to work, and we had better wake up and fight to keep it. Not only do the feds want to undermine it, but our current IDGOP wants to take it away as well. The power is ours to lose.

What can you do to stop these crazy rules? Call your County Elections office, give them your address and get the contact info for your Republican Precinct Committeeman. Let them know your concerns. If you are not satisfied, consider running for the position yourself, or get someone you trust to do so. It is the only way this takeover of our Republican Party will ever change.

• • •

Mary Souza, a Coeur d'Alene Republican, represented District 4 in the Idaho Senate for eight years from 2014 to 2022.