Friday, July 10, 2015

YRUnite - A Platform Review

So there are two tickets running for leadership of the national Young Republicans. One is the challenger slate led by Meagan Hanson - YRNation, and the other is the incumbent slate - YRUnite. It's the latter that this report is about.
On the website of YRUnite,, you can review their platform. On a page seemingly designed to be as frustrating as possible. On the sections of the platform, clicking on the section doesn't take you to a separate page or open a collapsible, but instead opens up a hover-over window that disappears if you move your mouse. And some of these sections are almost a page long, if they were in a normal font size. These are shrunk to fit, so small font all around.

So to save you the effort and frustration, I will review the platform planks here.

1) Servant Leadership

No mention how the leadership would serve the state and local chapters, this section's only concrete non-boilerplate idea is a special award that local chapters would be permitted to submit nominations for quarterly. Competing for special recognition is the opposite of servant leadership.

2) Value-Added Benefit

Here we see the first serious indication of the YRUnite mindset - a kind of "investment guru's kids" way of thinking about life, through ROIs and balance sheets.

As a way of "rewarding" members, the YRUnite ticket has put forward the idea of a "Speaker's Bureau", allowing chapters to hire speakers at discounted rates as well as special grants. Both of these top-down answers would encourage local chapters to conform to the interests of YR national leadership to secure the subsidies, instead of conforming to local needs to benefit local candidates and the party.

But it's the last bit that I'd like to focus on in particular - it's a reconfiguration of the YRNF from a political organization to a networking organization. Networking organizations are available for those who are interested in it (few people are). Adding a business-ROI focus to a group as small and in such rough condition as the YRs runs a high risk of overwhelming the original intent of the group.

This is a focus on encouraging membership not by offering an effective political organization that makes a serious impact, but by offering personal profit to individual members. Kinda misses the point.

3) Training And Development

Mostly pablum about being committed to training people to run for office and be leaders. Except not everyone wants to be Command. And the talk about training to "transition out" of the YRs diminishes the importance of the organization.

4) Fundraising And Finance

"We raise money." Yeah, ok. (Kinda silly to talk about this if you don't have a specific initiative in mind.)

5) Membership and Club Development

Here we get in some serious trouble. First, YRUnite promises more ROI-based targeting to get people to join. Second, they promise to remake the image of the Young Republicans into a more "cosmopolitan" image, to attract people who avoid political groups.


They also promise to assign development goals to the state organizations and "lean on" state organizations to meet them. Those groups that come up short will be "held accountable". This is less "Servant Leadership" and more "Pointy-Haired Boss".

6) Access and Availability

The current YR leadership has a reputation for being distant and unreachable, and to fix that they will implement a "Monthly Virtual Townhall." Nothing about actually developing systems to allow leadership to be reached, but instead a very controllable monthly scheduled event so that everyone can fill up the comment box all at once. The phrase "Too busy" comes to mind for some reason.

7) Nuts and Bolts

Skipping for now.

8) Professional Development

9) Communications

I get the impression that some of these planks were added as "things that organizations do" and not "focuses of campaign". This was pablum and the offsite link was basic structure.

10) Open Transparency

Skipping for now.

11) Campaign Committee and Deployments

"The reasons the YRNF was originally created"

I suppose it's important to include the original purpose of the organization somewhere on the list, but outside the first ten?

12) Remaining items

These are clustered together because they're not actually policy planks - they're basic functionality thrown in to increase the list size.

Overall, the platform of YRUnite lacks specific policy or agenda proposals. What it does have is increased centralization and a "reform" of the Young Republicans by dropping as much of the "Republican" part of it as possible. (At one point referring to members as "Young Professionals"). While working to reduce the cost of bringing big-ticket speakers to YR events is good, working to scrub as much of the "Republican" out of the group as possible is not. 

This is a political organization, not a business association. YRUnite seems to have confused the two.

No more slots available at the YR Convention, which is a shame. Wasn't able to get the money together in time, but that's life.

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