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Discussion: Should Republican candidates uphold the IL GOP platform?




Delegates representing the party's rank and file at the 2016 Illinois Republican Convention resoundingly embraced the Platform Committee's recommended planks. Last year's most controversial plank was the party's view on upholding traditional marriage. Observers counted nearly 85 percent of the delegates supporting one-man, one-woman marriage. A subsequent vote on the whole platform confirmed the delegates support for the platform.

But since that time, there has been a growing discussion about just how important – or unimportant – a political party's platform is. 

The 2016 committee amended the wording in the 2012 IL GOP platform urging Republican candidates to uphold the party's platform.

Under Section XIX: CALL TO ACTION, the 2012 Platform said: 

The views expressed in this Platform, when accepted by the majority of the convention, should be the policy standard for candidates running as Republicans in Illinois. While we welcome Republicans that may not agree with specific planks, anyone elected as a Republican should strive to self-direct their activities and policy positions to uphold these principles as the unifying basis for the Illinois Republican Party.

In the 2016 IL GOP Platform, that section is gone, replaced with these words

IX. CONCLUSION This Platform represents the majority opinion of the members of the Illinois Republican Party’s 2016 Platform Committee. The Committee acknowledges and respects reasonable differences in opinion among Illinois Republicans on the issues contained herein. As Ronald Reagan said, “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor.”

Therefore, we accept that good Republicans do not have to agree on all the issues contained in this Platform and that this Platform shall not be used as an instrument of division or attack on others within the party who hold opposing views. We must unite as a party behind those items on which we agree.

Despite the change in wording, two members of the 2016 IL GOP Platform Committee told Illinois Review Wednesday that what the platform says is very important to the overall direction of the party and public policy.

Most of both of their energies during the committee hearings were focused on preserving the party's socially-conservative planks. It wasn't easy. Powerful Republicans such as former party chairman Pat Brady and Schaumburg Township GOP Committeeman Ryan Higgins pushed hard to the left for same sex marriage and LGBT rights. 

Governor Rauner, the IL GOP's titular head, has consistently attempted to lead the party away from social issues and more towards less sticky topics such as business and tax reforms. 

But the social topics are important to the IL GOP's party grassroots – those that volunteer to knock on doors and gather crucial petition signatures leading up to the March primaries. 

Will County's Raquel Mitchell, who represented the 11th CD on the Platform Committee, said candidates that run as Republicans for the most part do adhere to the party platform.

"I think they do," she said. "Sure, it is the candidate whose name is attached to his campaign, but a whole lot of issues can be avoided if they ask themselves what it is they stand for as a Republican. The answer is in 'Our planks.' When in doubt, that's where they should stand — with the platform of the people." 

Macoupin County's Terri Koyne agreed when asked the same question. "Absolutely," they should adhere to the platform if they run as Republicans, after representing the 13th CD on 2016's platform committee. 

"Not only should the candidates adhere to the platform, but the State Central Committee, the County Chairs, the Precinct Committeemen, and the voters should hold candidates and our elected officials to the standards our Party’s Platform," Koyne said.

"I look at that Platform as the foundation of our Party. When you build a structure on a solid foundation, it will stand strong. If that foundation is built with brick and mortar and you start removing bricks and replacing them with wood blocks, it will weaken it. Do it often enough and the whole structure will eventually come crashing down," Koyne said. 

The bricks in the party’s foundation are the members' principles, core values, and beliefs, she said. "These are what make our party strong – not money, not a lone person, and not power." 

Koyne said having served on the Platform Committee in 2016, she did a lot of research and know that Illinois’ Republican Platform lines up with the National Platform and a vast majority of the other States’ Platforms.

"It is disheartening, knowing all the work that was put into drafting and passing our State’s Platform, to see it ignored or outright looked down on by candidates and some of our elected officials," Koyne said.

Mitchell said feedback from rank and file Republicans assured her that what the platform said was important to the party faithful. 

"They want to measure their legislators to how closely they adhere to the platform," Mitchell said. "In other words, they use it as a measurement to staying true to values and principles."

How important is the IL GOP's party platform? Do you think candidates should hold to the planks if they are elected? 

Or is it merely a suggestion and irrelevant as a whole? 

Please comment either here on Illinois Review's website or on Illinois Review's Facebook page. Your ideas matter.


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  1. Let’s start with the Narional 2016 Republican platform and Sanctuary Cities.
    “….. Because sanctuary cities violate federal law and endanger their own citizens,
    they should not be eligible for federal funding. Using state licenses to reward people in the country illegally is an affront to the role of law and must be halted.”
    NOW THE ENTIRE STATE OF ILLINOIS IS SANCTUARY AND Governor Rauner refused to meet with three Illinoians who lost family members because of sanctuary policies.

  2. Both candidates and those elected should have their “feet-held-to-the-fire” of the principles of the platforms embraced by their affiliated parties as long as those principles remain virtuous and just. In the past, in Illinois, party platforms between D’s and R’s were glaringly different to contrast the principles of those parties. That made it easy to pass out, as I did, a one page comparison of platforms to use to show a prospective voter to consider your favored candidate. But with the progressive influx of Democratic Trojan Horses into the Republican Party (not to mention names at this point), much trust and integrity has eroded and apathy has risen for both the voter and volunteer. So, for example, and there are more examples than just this social issue affecting traditional values: if a Party Principle had stated that it is best for the general welfare for a legal marriage to be “between Adam and Eve” and then the Trojan Horses enter and persuade that Platform to change it’s litmus test to say that it is equally as legitimate for a marriage to be “between Adam and Steve”, that Party has muddied and maybe even poisoned the water, and appears to loose credibility, virtue and maybe even justice. The Big Tent theory was detrimental to a clear focus and order to our dear State of Illinois. …just my opinion.