A conservative Latino’s view on politics…
The Grand Old Party Nationwide Latino Association (GOPNLA) is an American political organization that’s honored to play a part in the California Republican Party (CAGOP) race for chairperson. We are a proud organization led by William Del Pilar, our national chair with Piper Dominguez managing day-to-day operations as executive director. Del Pilar’s background as a Latino and Piper’s roots from Tijuana, Mexico makes the GOPNLA the definitive Latino organization in the Grand Old Party!
It’s a privilege for GOPNLA to announce to CAGOP delegates their support and endorsement of…
I know you’re thinking, what the hell’s GOPNLA? I would be, because there is no GOPNLA but what’s true – I’m a Latino of Panamanian and Puerto Rican heritage. Now Piper? Well technically she’s from Mexico but she’s our adopted rescue dog. I’m sure you’re wondering what’s the purpose of my satire?
It’s to highlight the outrageousness of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly in endorsing Jessica Patterson for CAGOP chair. I would ask if they have no shame in doing this, but they did, so they don’t. I’m going to tell you why you should ignore this endorsement and what it’s trying to do.
History 101: The Republican National Hispanic Assembly
Listen up kids, in the late 1960s, some proud Hispanics took it on themselves to start their own organization and in 1967, they formed the Republican National Hispanic Assembly (RNHA). They were political entrepreneurs looking to make a difference by getting more Hispanics politically involved and they made a huge impact. Creating chapters in various states in a short time, they raised $400,000 which finally caught the notice of the Republican Party. Imagine that, Republican’s take notice when there’s money involved. Money talks and it’s why the donor class has a stranglehold on CAGOP leadership!
The RNHA went on to make a difference for Richard M. Nixon, helping him take 35 percent of the Hispanic vote. Later, George H. Bush gave them prominent roles and their power grew to the point presidents were delivering keynote speeches to them, but something went awry. Did they become stagnant? Did they lose focus of their vision and mission? Internal political battles too much to overcome?
Whatever reason, they failed to grow and increase membership. Their numbers began to drop, and financial difficulties followed. The reality is, since the turn of the century, they’re an organization whose reputation gives them greater credence than accomplishments. They haven’t had a presence or impact in California in years. They’re a shell of what made them great.
In their defense, they’re trying to regroup and had their first kick off meeting January 29 this year. They posted a video of it on YouTube, stating, “The Republican National Hispanic Assembly had it’s West Regional Launch Party in Southern California and it was the inaugural meeting for the State of California.”
It’s a simple question but if they’re just starting to get active in California, what in the world are they doing endorsing Patterson for CAGOP chair? Sadly, my friends, we know why.
Perception Versus Reality: 40 Members?
My first thought when I saw the endorsement? Well, as an ex-sailor, I can’t put that to print, but I wasn’t happy. The RNHA is trying to create a false picture in making delegates believe a large body of California Hispanics – the demographic we must reach – are supporting Patterson. Implying, only she can get it done, despite her history showing no such ability or want to make it happen.
The truth? There’s probably about 40 RNHA members in California right now. These members aren’t going to the barrios. They’re not registering Hispanics. They’re not teaching what Republican conservatism is and how it relates and helps Latinos. Before you go and endorse someone, first get your house in order and prove yourself.
It’s just not myself. I reached out to well-respected Latinos who’ve had to deal with the politics of our movement within the Republican Party. Some expressed the same irritation when they saw the endorsement. Delegates can and should rightfully view the RNHA as an outside group telling CAGOP delegates who they should elect as our leader. Right now, they carry no weight nor should have any bearing in our election to lead our party.
Some will say, “William, Grow Elect endorsed Jessica Patterson.” For those that don’t know, Grow Elect is a political action committee (PAC) that helps Latino Republican candidates. Full disclosure: Grow Elect’s founder Ruben Barrales has been incredibly professional, friendly and kind to me and when I ran for my small office, he offered their services. I turned him down but unlike the RNHA, Grow Elect is an active organization with success behind them. They have a legitimate right to be part of the race for CAGOP chair and endorse their favored candidate. Realize, they’re job is slightly different as they focus on candidates who’ve committed to run.
Despite my admiration, I expected Grow Elect to endorse Patterson. You see, the CAGOP’s former top donor, center-left Charles Munger Jr.’s given to Grow Elect. At their luncheon this past January, they profusely thanked Munger Jr. and his help toward Grow Elect’s growth. When you think “help,” think donation. Grow Elect also praised Patterson, formally endorsing her a week or two later.
As I’ve noted in my previous article, Patterson and Munger Jr. have history that goes back to her early days in the party, supporting center-left candidates and ballot measures. Like Mario Puzo’s “Godfather,” Munger Jr. has a history of calling in markers and Patterson represents his legacy to turn the party center-left. The endorsement isn’t surprising – I strongly disagree with it – and as one prominent Latino told me, it’s “politics as usual.”
The Other Candidate
This election’s primary role is to rebuild the party. Reach out to various demographics and find new blood. Reconnect and bring back those who’ve left. To find new and ask current donors to contribute. That’s just a few of the responsibilities of the CAGOP chair.
We know candidate Travis Allen will struggle with remaining leadership and donors based on comments made during his primary run for governor. Those donors and leaders are wrong to box someone out but it’s also a reality of human nature. He’ll also struggle reaching out to the demographics we need. Communication’s everything. Being bold with hard truths is fine but the moment those you’re trying to reach, misinterpret your words; you’ve not only set yourself back, you’ve set the movement back.
As a Latino, I can tell you many of my brethren have wrongly decided what Allen is because of how he delivers his message. Allen has a role in CAGOP politics but not as chair where nuances of diplomacy is tantamount to success . I still hold out hope for the former assemblyman, as his energy channeled properly can help grow the movement. He must understand the full extent of his words, his delivery and their impact on my brethren. Individuals we need to help us bring prosperity back to California.
The Grassroots and Jessica Patterson
One of outgoing chair, Jim Brulte’s greatest tragedies that no one talks about was his failure to nurture and grow the grassroots, including the Latino demographic. Like Brulte, Patterson won’t encourage donors to work with the grassroots much less give them a voice. She’ll talk about the need of grassroots but like Brulte, she’ll minimize them. Her past associations show us this belief. What is it with center-left Republicans come election time when all of a sudden they find “conservatism?”
Patterson claims to be this all-encompassing conservative, yet she worked for center-left donor Munger Jr. and one of his goals was to delegitimize grassroots, specifically conservative grassroots. Her political circle and history show nothing conservative about her.
Don’t forget her support of center-left Republicans like Chad Mayes, Kristen Olsen, and back in the day, Meg Whitman and others. Patterson’s not the answer either unless you enjoyed the bloodbath we’ve experienced since 2010. She represents Munger Jr.’s legacy.
However, there’s someone who’s respected and can bring both parties to the table.
Common Sense and Big Tent Growth: Steve Frank
Steve Frank’s willing to speak to any Republican, delegate, associate delegate, activist, Latino and any other demographic. I’ve seen that firsthand. I was at a conservative grassroots seminar that had Latinos, blacks, Asians and gasp, white attendees among others. Men, women and even transgenders.
He listens and understands California politics and its changing demographics and is realistic. It’s why he’s chosen to run. Frank in his back to basics plan focuses on voter registration, volunteer groups, recruiting millennials, education, healthcare and working with churches among other issues. He’s talked about this for decades and it’s finally the right time to execute what’s needed to make the CAGOP relevant.
Let me tell you this. Any Latino will tell you the issues he raises are of importance to us. We’re not monolithic! Some may care more about health care while others look toward education and so on. Yet, his opponents sneer and ridicule Frank’s plan that includes this.
Let me tell you who’s really laughing! Democrats are laughing last as they continue beatdown after beatdown of center-left Republicans hoping we carry on with the same leadership. They’re rooting for Patterson and if they could endorse her, they would.
As a Latino, I want success for the RNHA, but they’re not part of California politics right now and thus have no say in telling delegates Patterson’s the individual that can make it happen. It’s a shame but their endorsement is also “politics as usual.”
Frank’s the only candidate who grassroots, donors and leadership respect and can get them talking. Patterson won’t do that and Allen can’t do that. Frank understands the demographic makeup of the state but more importantly, understands the issues that affect Latinos and all Californians regardless of heritage. To delegates, it’s a tough battle that’ll take multiple cycles just to become competitive but it’s an easy decision on who can begin to right the ship.
I ask, not just Latino delegates and those carrying proxies but all delegates to please vote for Steve Frank for CAGOP chair.
William Del Pilar is politically active, currently sitting on the Valley Center Community Planning Group (VCCPG). As an entrepreneur, Del Pilar drove his fantasy sports company to set the standard for analysis and news distribution, helping to commercialize the industry from 1997-2008.